Monday, July 18, 2016

On Writing -- and Other Verbs


As a child, I cut my teeth on the works of Stephen King (among others, but that's a blog post for another day), and one of my favorite books is his writing guide/memoir On Writing.

It works on several levels: It gives insights into his creative origins, it reminds us that Stephen King is just a regular guy (even if he does keep the heart of a small child on his desk, so did Robert Bloch). Best of all, he provides a master class of the writing process, applicable to any genre. I often make use of his advice for my composition classes.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
Running a close second [as a writing lesson] was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.
 If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.
If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.
If you haven't already, please pick up a copy of On Writing. After over 15 years, it still rings true as the day it was first published. 

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