My personal favorites are: Everybody must have a fantasy; I never fall apart because I never fall together and art is what you can get away with. Which one is your favorite?
I hate to admit that I’m still working on Stephen King’s “On Writing.” This speaks nothing of the quality of the memoir. It has something to do with the fact I have been slacking when it comes to reading.
I’m only 100 pages beyond where I was the first time I wrote about the book, but I stand by what I said the first time – it really is full of wisdom/good advice.
Here are some additional pieces of advice that have stuck out as I’ve (slowly) continued reading the memoir:
4.) Life is not a support system for art
King talks a lot about the struggle of writing. He says that a writer should put their desk in the corner of the room and not the middle of the room. He says this should be a reminder that “life isn’t a support system for art – it’s the other way around.”
5.) Take writing seriously
King says that you can approach writing with the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind.He goes further to say that no matter the reason you come to writing “come to it anyway but lightly.”
King says if people are willing to take it seriously, there is room for them to improve the craft.
6.) Use the vocabulary you have
Writers over time have said this in many different ways, but King tells us that a person’s vocabulary should sit on the top shelf of our “toolbox.” In other words writers shouldn’t try to make their writing fancier or longer just because the short words might make you feel ashamed. Use the vocabulary you have and don’t make a conscious effort to improve it, he said.
7.) Writing = magic
King points out that writing is a learned skill, but that skill can “create things far beyond our expectations.”
“We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style…but as we move along, you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic.”
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.”
The first time I wrote a short story outside of school was when I was 10 years old. It was about a magic key that led to a secret forest by the creek in my backyard (hey, I was an imaginative kid). My love of blending words together on paper grew from there.
The first time I wrote a book I was 18 years old, a senior in high school. Looking back through it years later has made me cringe at some sections because I could see mistakes and unfinished thoughts.
The first time I received direction on my creative writing was in college through workshops. Professors took my writing shook it for a little bit and handed it back to me telling me to delve deeper. After my freshman year of college I decided to make creative writing my minor. Poetry, fiction and non-fiction workshops; I took them all.
I learned the most from an unpopular fiction professor. I say unpopular because he was harsh. I’ve seen people cry because of his class. However, every piece of information I’ve ever heard him give made the writer and story better.
The best advice he ever gave me was “The longer I teach the more I realize that it’s very human to want to get something done right, but that making good art takes time, practice and patience. Workshops can often be discouraging to young writers and sometimes because of workshop they give up. I hope you know that if you really want to continue to write all good things will come to you in time.”
I let my writing slack in the past 11 months and I’m going to try to be better. I’ve realized even though writing was easier in school when I had an allotted time to do it, it will never just be handed to me. I’ll have to work on it.
The first time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I said a princess. The second time I was asked I said an Olympic swimmer. The third time I said I wanted to be an author. Since I haven’t yet turned into a princess or Olympic swimmer I think I’ll stick to writing. I might even start one of those annoying 7- or 30- day writing challenges and keep track of it on my blog. Forgive me, friends.
Here are some of my favorite things I’m reading, watching, looking forward to etc. at the moment (meaning this week, not this exact second).
Book I’m reading: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
What just played on my Itunes playlist: I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight by The Outfield
Favorite inspirational sayings this week (I have two)
Last magazine I purchased: March edition of Vogue; Beyoncé is on the cover
Workout of the week: Complete body workout, a five-disk DVD collection by Jillian Michaels
Favorite Dr. Seuss quote (in honor of the March 2 birthday): “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Favorite “not impressed” face: President Obama and gymnast McKayla Maroney
Last movie I saw in theater: Snitch
Essie nail color: Butler, please
Indiana University basketball will face Ohio State on senior night. Derek Elston, Christian Watford and Jordy Hulls are pictured below.
And the moment that touched my heart this week: A high school basketball player threw the ball inbound to the opposing team’s manager, a boy with a developmental disability, so he could score a basket. It was a moment of true sportsmanship. The manager made the basket and the crowd rushed the court. It gave me chills.
I have been doing a horrendous job keeping my blog updated. I just realized my last post was about Valentine’s Day-almost two months ago.
I was trying to think about something interesting to write and instead I simply remembered something one of my creative writing professors said earlier this semester. He said that good writers borrow, and great writers steal. He also mentioned that when something is memorable in a text, that it should be written down in a notebook for inspiration on what to write in our creative stories. So, instead of writing a blog post, I’ve copied down quotes that I have written down over the year.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” -Ernest Hemingway
“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.” -Ursula K. Le Guin
“Only a talent that doesn’t exist can’t be improved.” -John Gardner
“I didn’t know I was going to write the kind of thing I’ve written, but I knew that I was going to write-I just had to.” -Alice Munro
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” -William Faulkner
“You don’t need to wait for inspiration to write. It’s easier to be inspired while writing that while not writing.” -Josip Novakovich
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”