This weekend I started reading Stephen King’s memoir, “On Writing.” I’m only 50 some pages in and the book is already full of wisdom/good advice.
Three pieces of advice that stick out in my mind are (I’m sure I’ll be adding more as I continue to read the memoir):
1.) Write your own story
King recalls showing a story to his mother. He had copied most of it from something else and when his mother read it, she told him to write one of his own.
“I remember an immense feeling of possibility at the idea, as if I had been ushered into a vast building filled with closed doors and had been given leave to open any I liked,” he said. “There were more doors than one person could ever open in a lifetime, I thought (and still think.)”
2.) There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central no Island of the Buried Best Sellers
King notes that good story ideas seem to come from nowhere.
“Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
3.) rejection letters are a sort of rite of passage
As King received rejection letters he put them all on a single nail in his room. When the nail wouldn’t support the weight of the rejection letters, he replace the nail with a spike and kept writing.
A story he wrote was rejected from a magazine and in red ink were the words “not fur us, but good. You have talent. Submit again.” Years later he found it and resubmitted it to the same magazine and it was purchased.
“One thing I’ve notice is that when you’ve had a little success, magazines are a lot less apt to use the phrase, ‘Not for us.”