I recently discovered a pot of writer’s gold from Stephen King’s book On Writing-Memoir of the Craft. An entertaining college course from the writer himself. I tripped across this book listed as a favorite on several writers’ sites. I hesitated to read King’s work his genre is not like my own. As a writer, I appreciate his storytelling abilities. He weaves brilliant story lines that always leave the readers wanting more. He translates these books into unforgettable movies. I could not escape the nagging thought I should read him anyway. I did learn some valuable tips and enjoyed the work very much. Every writer will hear a different message, but here are a few pieces of gold that spoke to me.
Good story ideas come from nowhere. Your job isn’t to find ideas but recognize when they show up (page 37). Beginning writers tax their brains thinking and over thinking. I believe the main source of writers block is over thinking. Be aware of your surroundings. The stories are out there. I like King’s ideas about linking what-ifs to ordinary events. Take time to observe your surroundings. The stories are out there, they are yours to create.
Write with purpose (pg. 106) and Write what you know about as long as it is the truth (pg. 158). This is a two for one. These ideas go together because it speaks to you as a writer. The authentic you the one who; is able to write only from your point of view. Write what makes you happy. You know the days when your fingers are flying over the keys, your brain is flooded with the storyline, and you are smiling because you are in the zone. That is writing with purpose.
Read a lot and Write a lot (pg. 151) and Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life (pg. 147). Both of these quotes remind me to step away from my work and learn from others. These are courses in continuing education. King says a writer learns more from a badly written book than a good one. Not to say good books are void of valuable lessons. Good books teach us to refine voice, prose and pace while bad books are valuable lessons in how not to torture our readers.
The lessons in this book are endless. The book reminds us we are human. Our job is to bring to life characters our readers cannot forget. Each writer entertains in his or her own way. The beauty of our work is creating, and the joy of creating is what brings us to our desks every day. Thank you, Stephen King. Your book is inspiring. I will take your lessons to heart and continue to write for the joy of writing, any benefit beyond that is a bonus.