People don’t naturally come into the world as master writers; they are formed.
It took years and deliberate practice for Stephen King to be where he is today. Not every story he published was accepted. He took odd jobs as he wrote.
Later, his stories sold worldwide, turning into TV series and full-length movies.
You want to know how he succeeded? Here are five key writing tips you’ll learn from Stephen King’s On Writing.
1. A DEGREE ≠ WRITER’S SUCCESS
“You don’t need writing classes or seminars any more than you need this or any other book on writing — ”
Can you imagine not being able to publish your book because you didn’t have a writing degree? Sucks, right?
I went to graduate school to study scriptwriting. Was it necessary? Probably not.
My path may have been faster if I kept writing scripts and submitting them to the right people. Back then, I didn’t know better.
Society always tells us degrees are the access cards to our dream careers. It may be the case for doctors and engineers, but not strictly for writers. If it were, I would still be in school, getting my Ph.D. in writing (yeah, not thanks).
Overall, readers crave captivating, life-changing stories. What you need to do as the writer is to learn basic grammar, consistently write, and move on from there. The more you show up, the more readers will find you.
Your real school is to keep learning and growing.
2. READ AND WRITE
“The more fiction you read and write, the more you’ll find paragraphs forming on their own.”
People who read one book and write one piece may think they know everything there is to writing Nope, there’s more.
Besides writing 2,000 words every day, King consumes hundreds of books (obviously not every day). H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe were a few of his writing inspirations. You can see now where he got his creepiness.
Your job as a writer is to read and write. Make it your lifestyle.
3. NOUN + VERB = A SENTENCE
Admit it, you sometimes overthink what’s a proper sentence. A sentence can be a subject doing something. You find it all the time in children’s’ books.
Jack and Jill went up the hill.
The cow jumped over the moon.
Simple sentences like “Bob cried.” is also valid. I’ve seen it thousands of times.
Don’t have a heart attack striving for the perfect sentence. It will come later during the editing process. Your first goal is to complete the first draft.
4. WRITING IS REFINED THINKING
Writing is transferring your thoughts onto paper (or the computer screen). It may not be as clear as you imagined it. You write for yourself first before your audience.
When you publish your work, you are revealing your imagination with others. Readers devour them.
You have an unlimited supply of ideas. Put it into good use!
5. DON’T WRITE FOR THE MONEY
Did King write Carrie for the money? Nope. He was excited to write the story and share it with the world. He received his first advance as a byproduct.
“Repeatedly write what brings you to life and publish it. You’ll never know the positive outcome.”
There’s an erotica author out there who loves writing about bigfoot pirates and making a profit out of it. There are no limits!
You don’t need much to be considered a writer. You only need to start!
Your responsibilities: read, write, publish, and repeat. You’ll learn more as you go.
Writing is a long-term process. Stephen King didn’t become a prolific author for his works in a sprint. He’s been working the process for decades.
Are you ready to take the leap? Start writing now, and uncover the results!
Wait, there’s more!
How to Grab More Writing Time in Your Life
Have you ever ventured around Medium and wondered how some writers publish four times a day?