It’s that time again! Monday Motivation is back, ready to help you jump into the working (and writing) week. This week, our writer Lerah Mae Barcenilla has gathered some advice from the phenomenal Stephen King, who featured on our very first #MondayMotivation, to help you start your week off right.
On Writing: Stephen King
Stephen King is known for his novels on horror, science fiction, supernatural fiction and fantasy. Even if you have not read any of his writing, you’ve probably seen, or heard of, the adaptations which include Carrie (1973/2013), The Shining (1980), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Mist (2007) and, most recently, the two-part adaptation It (2017).
In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King writes about tales from his childhood, his struggling early career as a writer to his near-fatal accident in 1999 and, in between, offers practical and insight into writing.
A key piece of advice that King identifies, and its one you may have heard from other writers too, is that you have to read a lot and write a lot. Not only will you, as a reader, learn about style, narration, believable characterization and plot but you’ll also learn what not to do. ‘You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you’ (p.166); you may even find your writing voice adopting characteristics of recent novels you’ve read, and there’s nothing wrong with that! In fact, King writes that ‘this sort of stylistic blending is a necessary part of developing one’s own style.’ (p.167)
Another piece of advice King offers is to write consistently; figure out where and when you write best. Is it during the day, just before everyone wakes up or is it late into the night, when everyone is asleep and the moon is high? Do you need absolute silence, clear of all distractions, or do you work best with white noise, like in a busy café? For King, mornings, with the doors closed, are for writing. ‘The closed door is your way of telling the world, and yourself, that you mean business; you have made a serious commitment to write and intend to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.’ (p.178)
Lastly, have confidence in yourself as a writer. King states that, although writing workshops and seminars are great for honing your craft and spending ‘large chunks of time off in your own little dream world […] do you really need permission and a hall-pass to go there? Do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word WRITER on it before you can believe that you are one? God, I hope not.’ (p.282)
That’s all for today’s #MondayMotivation; hopefully you’ve been inspired to pick up the pen and do some writing of your own! We will leave you with some more wise words of wisdom from the writing master that is Stephen King…
‘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.’ (p.155)
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (London: Hodder Paperbacks, 2012)