Monday, June 25, 2012

More Killer Advice from Stephen King

Today I come bearing two bits of wisdom, or killer pieces of advice that I just cannot seem to shake, from the second half of Stephen King's, On Writing.

The first has to do with having passion for what you do.

When reflecting on his son's saxophone lessons, he recalled how "as soon as his practice was over, it was back into the case with the horn, and there was no practice-time." He continued to say that, "What this suggested to me was that when it came to the sax and my son, there was never going to be any real play-time; it was all going to be rehearsal. That's no good. If there is no joy in it, it's just no good. It's best to go on to some other area, where the deposits of talent may be richer and the fun quotient higher."

I have an endless list of "saxophone lesson" experiences, and thankfully, writing for children is not one of them. I don't think I could stop if I tried.

The second piece of advice is a Gem, with a capital G.  (Please do not confuse this with Jem, with a capital J, my favorite childhood TV character who had spunky pink hair and some fancy earrings.) 

But I digress...

Faster than you can say REDRUM REDRUM, this passage literally transformed the way I choose to write.

On a normal day, in my normal house, I noramlly write a sentence and then ask my husband or my mom..."Soooooo, whatchya think?" Which OF COURSE normally results in me feeling nothing less than complete and utter doom and me more than likely giving up on the manuscript and me definitely binging on a gigantic bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Well, not anymore! Move over normal! Stephen King is in the house! Well, hopefully not. That would be freaky. Actually, seeing these two little ladies would be freakier. They gave me nightmares for about eight years and I still fear them as I walk down any long hallway alone. Ack!

Back to business.  King states: "This first draft- the All Story Draft- should be written with no help (or interference) from anyone else. There may be come a point when you want to show what you're doing to a close friend... either because you're proud of what you're doing or because you're doubtful about it. My best advice is to resist this impulse. Keep the pressure on; don't lower it by exposing what you've written to the doubt, the praise, or even the well-meaning questions of someone from the Outside World. Let the hope of success (and your fear of failure) carry you on, difficult as that can be."

Kablam!  Are you transformed too? Ohhh, how I loved this book.

Happy Writing!


  1. All good advice! I need to go and get his book!

  2. More great advice from his book! Thanks for sharing the excerpt - I needed that today :)

  3. Good advice. I have resisted the urge to show ch1 to my crit buddies until I finish the draft but I am excited to finish and get some suggestions for improving it.

    1. It is so hard to fight the urge! Good for you Alison! Good luck!

  4. Isn't he the one who said, "Write with the door closed. Rewrite with the door open."? Wise. I guess that's why he's Stephen King.....

    1. Yes! He did say that. =) I think that must be why he is Stephen King. Well, that and his wholesome imagination. =)