Stephen King’s book On Writing is a very good read. Alongside Elements Of Style it is arguably the best writing book. It is targeted towards writers and wanna-be writers, but is a very inspiring book for anyone. This book can teach you several valuable lessons and can inspire and motivate you to become a better writer. Here are the 13 lessons I have picked up from reading On Writing.
Lessons learned from Stephen King’s On Writing
- Just start it. Whatever you plan or wish to do, just start doing it. Take the first step. Start chasing your dream. When you’re brave enough to start, you will be able to succeed and you will make it happen.
- Follow your passion. No matter what people say, always do what you like to do. Stephen King’s family, teachers etc all said that he was wasting his time writing, but he kept going on as he believed in it himself.
- Do it for joy. If there is no joy in it, it’s just no good. Writing is not about making money, getting famous, or making friends. Writing posts should be inspired play and it should not feel like work. When you do it for joy, you can do it forever, no matter what.
- Stick to it. Never give up on your dream. No matter how hard it seems. Good writing is the result of thousands of hours that the writer has spent composing and the tens of thousands of hours spent reading compositions of others.
- Don’t be afraid of rejection. Is nobody reading your posts yet? If you really enjoy it, it shouldn’t matter to you. Just keep working on producing new material and work on winning readers one by one.
- Find your own writing space. When writing, get rid of the whole world. Find your own writing space, close the door and concentrate. Eliminate all the distractions. Turn off the TV. It will improve the quality of your life, save you a lot of time which you can spend on working on your passion.
- Make it unique. Blend in your own personal knowledge in your writing. What you know makes you unique. You have your own thoughts, interests and concerns. Be brave and tell people what you think and what you know.
- Make your writing reader-friendly. Just by looking at the text you can see if it is going to be easy or hard to read it. Easy stuff contains lots of short paragraphs and a lot of white space.
- Edit yourself. Write a first draft, get away from it for a bit and do something else. Then come back and read it over. Fix the spelling mistakes, and pick up inconsistencies. You need to revise for length. Omit needless words. Cut the bullshit, cut the fluff from your writing. 1st draft – 10% = 2nd draft.
- You cannot please everyone. You can’t please all the readers all the time, you can’t even please some of the readers all the time, but you should always try to please some of the readers some of the time.
- Teach yourself. Forget the classes, the lessons, the seminars… you learn your trade best by putting the effort into it and doing it. The most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.
- Write a lot. Don’t talk about it, just do it. Your time is valuable and you need to understand that the hours you spend talking about writing is time you don’t spend actually doing it.
- Read a lot. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time or tools to write either. Everything you read has its own lessons. Reading good stuff helps you aim higher and work harder. You see what can be done, and experience different styles. Reading bad stuff helps you recognize bad things and helps you steer clear of them in your own work.
Learning from the best is a good thing. And Stephen King certainly is one of the best in writing. Take these lessons, learn from them and implement them in your own writing. Your audience will like your content more.
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