Respect for Stephen King on Writing

July 28, 2018

Reading Stephen King on Writing was as captivating as it was inspiring, as fascinating as it was practical, and for me as a writer downright scary. That knee-jerk reaction of fight or flight had me opting for flight, throwing in the towel and silently screaming ‘What’s the point?’


After several deep breaths and a glass or two of wine I took myself in hand.



Yes Stephen King is one of the best selling writers of all time, ever, but as his memoirs reveal this status wasn’t handed to him on a plate. He worked multiple hard-slog, low-paid jobs and trained to be a teacher; anything to pay the bills and support his family, fitting in his writing in the evening or at lunch times. Sounds tough, I know.


He said he was having fun; that writing was a brief escape from the daily grind of work. I get that. Writing, just like reading a good story, takes you off to another world. I use to do that, snatch an hour here and there, these days I seem to be more productive in bigger chunks of time. Like my week in Andalusia a few months back when I wrote around 20,000 words. The only problem with that is the long dry spells in between; my novel writing becomes sporadic leaving my characters in limbo until I bring them to life again.


Stephen King says that a first draft should be written in 3-4 months; is it any wonder I was ready to abandon ship when I’m already 8 months in with a third of the novel still to be written! You can see now why my initial reaction was to flee this long uphill struggle with my conscience; “I should be writing – I don’t have time” etc.


Perhaps you think it would be easy for me to bury my notebooks in a drawer, forget about writing fiction; after all I have enough going on with two jobs, life is too short to put another pressure on myself. Trouble is characters and scenarios keep popping into my head and I can’t ignore them.


So I’m staying to fight; I’m writing for me and to give my characters a shot at life outside my head.


Of course the dream is to be on the top sellers’ shelf, but the reality is that its hard work and a big chunk of luck that gets you there. I stuck with Stephen King on Writing, soaking up the advice of the master of the craft. Now I am applying it to my writing skills in the hope that I can give you a novel you’ll talk about to all and sundry!



Here are just a few snippets from Stephen King on Writing that I thought worth sharing...


“I don’t believe writers can be made, either by circumstance or self-will... talent can be strengthened and sharpened”


“Good story ideas come from nowhere. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognise them when they show up”


“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story”


Whether you’re a writer or a reader, this is definitely a book to put on your ‘to read’ list.

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