Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Some More Thoughts from Stephen King

I finished reading On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. As I mentioned previously, I had been told that this book was a classic, and in surveying the myriad comments on Amazon, I have no reason to disagree. As with all classics however, not every reader loves them, and in this case, I fall into that category.

I think that I just wasn't King's target audience. First, I've only read one of his works in my life, so I certainly couldn't be called a fan, yet I greatly respect what he has achieved as a writer. I did find his autobiography very interesting, but I found his crass language something of a turn-off.

Second, his section on writing was very informative and I did pick up some good tips, but I think, being a man, he writes more for male writers. He suggests spending at least four hours a day reading/writing. I would love to, but there aren't many moms out there that have that luxury. I'm more in the "write whenever life offers you a free moment" category. It doesn't mean that I am not serious about my craft.

While this book did not speak to me as much as I would have liked and I will donate it at my local library in the hopes that it finds a more welcoming home, I will nevertheless leave you with some words of wisdom I culled from its pages:

Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don't have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.

If you don't want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well - settle back into competency and be grateful you have even that much to fall back on. There is a muse, but he's not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. . . It's right that you should do all the work and burn all the midnight oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There's stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.

Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening (or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy.

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