Before I read On Writing By Stephen King, I’d been in a fragile loop of discontent. It stretched along something like this. I’d try and write, then compare myself, my process, or the work to something else, and then flounder to write. I’d freeze up like something had grabbed my hands, and head, and shoved them all into cold water. It was the kind of cold that pierced deep, and stayed with me for days after. Eventually, Pavlov won and I’d given up any dream on being a writer. Then King taught me to love the process.
Not just King, I’d grown as a person, I’d decided I wanted to control my feelings not people outside me, I wanted to be in charge of as much as I could. I’d had a run in where I’d lost all power to do anything of substance. That is a hell I don’t want to touch on, but nonetheless, I think King was the final shove that set off the land slide.
Before king, I envisioned writing as some sort of dreamy process. In school, hell in life, they teach you to find something you love, and you will never work a day in your life, and that I must say is a monstrous load of bullshit.
Things you love demand more work out of you. They also demand you commit to the act.Good writing is not like eating an icecream cone, where it’s all good, then it’s vaguely tasty, and finally you feel gross when you’ve finished. It’s the reverse of that. It’s jarring hard work, that you have to commit to. Not to the actual moment, I don’t suffer from erotic glee when I type up words, but from the very act of creation without rules or strings.
The main thing I picked up from King was this. Write your way. That’s it. Don’t try and write for the world, don’t do it for money, don’t do it for fame, do it because you want to. Not because it’s the only thing you can do, ect, hell I could sell cars, but because on some deep level you know stories.
Fuck formatting for first drafts, fuck deeper meanings in first drafts, fuck everything in the first draft. No one ever talks about drafts. Artists don’t talk about thumbnail sketches, or studies they do. They just show their finished product, and hell that’s what you should do.
To write it to commit to a higher power the power, and yes I am speaking of a goddess. This is the goddess of getting shit done. She’d a cruel mistress, and she demands you never give up, but please her and you’ll sleep at night knowing you did.
People, all people, are creative, it’s just about dentangling this mess of societal hang ups we all fall into in our school years, and getting ourselves to a point where we can hold ourselves accountable. Not out of some fear of being disliked but out of the belief that I can write, and I can finish things because I am worth it.
Believe me, you are worth it. It’s only you that doesn’t belive that.
Thanks Mr. King.