Stephen King's Secret on Becoming a Writer
I’d like to let you in on a secret. I know a blog is not the smartest place to share some of the most vital information for the aspiring and seasoned word slinger.
Regardless of the repercussions I’m willing to lose it all for what I know. The King of horror (Stephen King) and best-selling American novelists of the last century is giving away his most potent secret. A secret guaranteed to unlock the keys to the kingdom of writing.
Before I give away King’s secret I’d like to go on record and say two things:
First, I do not know Stephen King. Second, this is common knowledge available in multiple interviews and books written about the master storyteller.
Here we go. The secret to becoming a writer. A writer who does the work and shares the work. Not a wannabe, not someone who talks about writing, an actual living and breathing writer.
You decide to become one.
When you explore the interviews and comments of people who knew Stephen King one is thing rings true. He wanted to be a writer and became one. Nothing would stop him.
King was not an overnight success. He wrote hundreds of short stories and received hundreds of rejection slips. He wrote four novels never published in high school and college (Rage published later under Richard Bachman, but was not his best).
King read stories and wrote stories from a young age. He often said he’d write books and stories even if he never made a dime. In fact, most of his early work never seen by anyone. The secret to King’s success was he determined to be a writer and nothing would stop him.
He talked about writing with professors; he read everything he could get his hands on, and even helped other students with their craft.
The secret for becoming a writer is determine to be one.
Let me be honest. There’s too much chatter on the inter-webs about technique, marketing, and gaming the Amazon algorithms. If that’s what you think is necessary for being a successful writer you’ve missed the forest for the trees.
Writing is art and one of the most powerful means of communication in the universe. But we cheapen the form when we place monetary gain as the ultimate benchmark of success. The only legitimacy for the writer is if he/she land a publishing deal and sell millions of copies.
Love needs to be a new benchmark. You must love to write. Or in King’s advice from On Writing, you need to do two things to be a writer, read a lot, and write a lot.
People who love the art form will write and write often.
When you watch interviews with King or hear him give lectures at events one thing rings true. He loves to write. He sees himself as a writer and nothing else matters. There is a childlike quality to the way he talks about his art.
I don’t hear that kind of affection these days in writing circles and groups. All I hear is how hard it is (which is true), how our books don’t sell, and what is the latest marketing technique to sell 100,000 copies.
This will not sustain you in the hard times. You must determine to be a writer. It’s what you do and what you love.
The secret to becoming a writer is to determine you are one.
If you don’t write… by definition you are not a writer.
When you determine you are. Watch out. You might become the next Stephen King.