Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stephen King Taught Me (Part 2)

So, Tuesday's Headline lied a little. That wasn't lesson one. This post was lesson one. I just didn't want to mix this lesson with the lengthy introduction I felt obliged to add.

So what is this lesson?

"You must not come lightly to the blank page." (On Writing, P80)

That is the single line that stood out the most in the whole book.

I don't know about you, but when I get a new idea, I get excited. Really excited. Buzzing. I can't wait to start writing. And when I write, it rushes through me like the best thrill you can think of.

But then, as insidious as venom, my one big enemy sets in. Addiction. I get addicted to my writing. That's not a bad thing. It's good to be passionate about what we write.

But when you're addicted, there are two problems:

1) I start feeling like I have to write. No longer am I feeling that drive of passion.
2) And because of that, I no longer feel the rush.

I take writing for granted. It becomes something that I do out of routine.

In short, I come to my writing lightly. Very lightly.

No wonder the spark fades out on me every now and then.

And whenever that happens, I stop writing. Go cold turkey on the addiction (usually with the accompanying bad mood).

Once I go back to it, I fall in love with writing again. I feel that all rush.  And...

I go through the cycle again.

Fact is, I don't really feel like it's the most productive method for me to finish works in progress. So I decided that from tomorrow, I'm going to try something new. I'm going to start reminding myself why I write. I don't want to write out of habit.

I want to write because it's one of my greatest passions.

Do you approach your writing lightly on occasion? If not, how do you get yourself in the right feeling?


  1. I don't consider myself a writer but i do want what I put on here to be done so because I enjoy it and not because i feel I have to.

  2. I absolutely adore Stephen King's 'On Writing' book, and it got me so inspired to try and follow in the great man's huge footprints.

    I have been writing my whole life, and I think I come to the page 'too lightly' sometimes in that I forget how hard it is (and how hard it should be). Sometimes I sit down to write just presuming I will churn out 3,000 fabulous words in an hour.

  3. It is a question of balance I think. Addicts focus on one thing - their addiction. When you no longer feel the passion, back off, do something else, let your writing drive refresh.
    At least that id the way I see it.
    I wish you well.

  4. Great post Misha! I've discovered recently that I'm the same way. I get so worked up to write, that by the time I'm nearing the end it feels like work. I've basically started pacing myself a little bit better.

    Writing is definitely a passion, and in no way am I giving it up. I'd take slowing down, to quitting completely. Tried it once and it was all I could think about! King is a genius! :)

  5. Hmmm... I think in one way this applies to me and in another it doesn't. I get those ideas that pester and I want to fly... but I don't let myself. I finish what I'm working on... often two or three things I'm working on... it goes in a queue... I let myself plot sketch, character sketch... if it is super persistent, I might write a scene or two, but I absolutely don't let myself start until I am slated for a new project, and at THAT point, it has been nagging me for MONTHS. However... I nearly NEVER feel like writing the piece from 50%-75%--I have to force it... and some days I come to that lightly. If I don't write every day though, I am worried I will break this hard won habit.

  6. Sometimes there's so much going on in one's life you have to set it down, regroup, and reconsider what you've written. Life in general overwhelms, out writing should be our sanctuary.

  7. LOL. I have twenty novels started and in varying states--thanks to what you just described. I've come to the point where I let lightning strike, take the initial rush, then set it aside until I can focus on that particular story. It does amazing things to have that tid-bit stewing in the back of your mind for months or years. Plus, when I absolutely cannot stand the WIP I'm whipping myself with, I step out to one of the others for a few minutes, and return in love with writing again.

  8. I read 'On Writing' as well and the thing that I took from it was to read. However, I have shifted away from his advice a bit. I don't read just anything. I read authors who inspire me- who write better and I mean really write better than I do. That makes me think before I open my document and when I write my goal is to always craft a good sentence and not just a great story.

  9. I'm not sure I understand what he means by coming lightly even after your explanation of it.

  10. The hard grind of revisions sometimes slows me down--especially when I have other ideas floating around in my head vying for my attention. The new, shiny ideas are always more attractive ;)

  11. Misha..on many ocassions I approach my writing lightly. We write because we must, we forget to bring the passion into it. Great post.

  12. I'm a lot like you-- I get totally addicted! but sometimes, if I'm blocked (not writer's block, but struggling with something) I'll take a break...

  13. John Wiswell posted this the other day and it's the best thing I've read lately about the guts of writing. He certainly doesn't take writing lightly.

  14. I approach writing like making love...I'm SO excited at the moment. Editing however, I go kicking and screaming. Oh, and check out my blog...I've rediscovered Stephen's novels again with Duma Key. He's such a great storyteller.

  15. Honestly, I have to treat it like a job. I have to wake early and focus on only the word doc. No internet, phone, TV, zilch. Just me and the words. If I let anything else creep in, I don't give it the focus it needs.

  16. I used to be like that until I realised it was being a pantser and not a plotter. Without an idea of where I was headed my writing just fizzled out. :O)

  17. That is a great quote. I approach the page with a plan, notes and skeleton outline for each chapter. I'm the kind of driver who packs the satnav, road atlas and a torch (and spare batteries) before every road trip too ;)


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