Friday, October 23, 2009

On Writing

Last night I finally finished On Writing by Stephen King. It took me so long to get through, not because it was difficult, but because I just haven't been able to find the time. This book was recommended to me by a friend and it couldn't have come at a better time since I've been working everyday on my own book.

King mostly talks about writing fiction but his writing tips can be applied to non fiction as well. On Writing was full of gems and left me very motivated to keep on doing what I love. This book was only a loaner but I've marked up almost every page so I have to buy a new copy for my friend. It's totally worth it though. King begins the book with a little background about himself and how he began as a writer. He then takes you through the process, where to write, how often, style, and essentially how to become a better writer. I found this book very encouraging and inspiring. Here are a few of my favorite King-isms:

"...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're a bad writer, no one can help you become a good one, or even a competent one. If you're good and want to be great...fuhgeddaboudit."

"But if you don't want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well - settle back into competency and be grateful you have even that much to fall back on."

"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."

King's advice isn't groundbreaking, the undiscovered secrets to great writing, but it's not meant to be. His point is that there are no secrets. There are the tools, which are grammar, vocabulary, and style, and then there is just your drive and commitment. That's the secret. This book is definitely one of my faves.

What I'm reading next:
Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway

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