While preparing this second installment of “The Ready Writer,” something sort of miraculous happened. I wrote a first draft about essentials of the writing life. I then immediately read, for the first time, Stephen King’s penetrating volume On Writing. The points I had just written about were affirmed in the pages of his intimate book. King also uncovered a crucial issue that had eluded me.
I’ve found it vital to purposefully steer clear of every distraction, television being the worst.
King’s affirming words were, “For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction.” And he wrote, “TV…is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs.” I love how King exposes the heart of my own problem with television when he further says, “Reading takes time, and the glass teat takes too much of it.”
The other necessity I had written about in my draft was energizing the flow of creativity by reading.
King wrote, “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.” He states plainly, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Although I am guided by a mountain of instructive books and was invited to write this column (found in the newsletter at www.bawl.org), I had secretly longed for a sign that it is not presumptuous of me to publish my journey as a writer. On Writing gave me that sign.
While I read King’s book, I felt as though I was in a sweaty locker room during halftime of the big game of life and best-selling author Stephen King himself was my up-close, personal writing coach. He got right in my face and gave me permission -- urged me -- to gut out this life as a writer, to believe in myself and in the creative gift inside of me. After being on this earth for 47 years, I finally, miraculously comprehend that I am a writer -- this is an essential that I had been missing. Thanks, Coach.
Get rid of distractions, eh? A bit tricky ... that'd be the computer, which is where I write too ... although just disconnecting the connection to the phone line would do it.
An interesting and encouraging article - thanks. Thanks too for your comment on a recent challenge article - encouragement appreciated there too.
Ironically, I find this piece a bit of a "sign" (if you will) myself. I was just telling my son a few days ago (when he teased me about my decision to sit at a storefront book-signing) that "Stephen King was a no-named nobody at one time. Stephen King isn't even his real name. And yet, do you know what it would be worth in $ today if you owned an original, signed copy of his first book?"... "Oh... and now you're Stephen King?" Well, he missed my point. But I think you get it. Thanks for the encouragement. I needed it!