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I didn’t think On Writing was for me…
I am not the kind of person who enjoys self-help books. Or devotionals. Or anything that resembles a textbook. Before you think me shallow, I do love learning and growing. I just prefer to get lost in a fiction, that’s all.
So when too many of my author friends were quoting this book by Stephen King, I finally broke down and bought it, even if I may have cringed a little. But then something shifted for me. Before the book arrived, I received my first ever low-starred review.
Until it was…
The review wasn’t negative, per se, but the reader didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wish for all my readers to, and that affected me more than I thought it would. I mean, I anticipated negative reviews, even looked forward to joining the ranks of fellow authors who received them. I mean, everyone gets them, even the best-selling authors!
But I found myself wallowing in self-pity for a few days after reading this review and that’s when the anticipation of receiving the book ramped up. Seriously, I was nearly pacing at the door waiting for the stupid book!
When I finally sat down to read it, it was like a weight lifted from my shoulders. I was sitting down to coffee with a man who has traveled the road before me and was telling me what his journey looked like and what it looks like now. I was a fly on his shoulder when he received his first rejection letter, his first literary payment and when his first book sold.
Now I recommend it to others…
It was a bolstering experience. Especially when I read Stephen King’s candidness regarding his critics. And how he rarely focuses on plot. And how the story should always run the show. All these things validated me as a writer because I relate in this area and I needed to hear another writer say it’s ok.
So, when you hear me say get this book if you are serious about writing, you know it’s that good. Because I don’t normally like books like this one. On Writing…is a total exception!
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
“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 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.”
“I have spent a good many years since―too many, I think―being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”