On Writing

Last week my wife and I had dinner with my parents to celebrate my birthday, number 52 if you must know, and my dad gave me a copy of Stephen King’s book “On Writing.”   I’ve been a Stephen King fan since 1980 when I picked up a dog-eared copy of “The Stand” someone left in the rec room at Ft. Rucker Alabama during Crew Chief school so I was looking forward to seeing what the master had to say about practicing his craft.  The book starts out as and autobiography, which is fascinating, but then goes on to the nuts and bolts of how he creates the twisted worlds found in the thousands of book he’s written. (seems like that many anyway)  Some of his tips and techniques I knew, like you need to read a lot as well as write a lot.  When I sit down to write I like to spend at lest a few minutes reading whatever novel I happen to have on hand just to get my mind into the write mode. (get it?)  OK,OK, sorry, won’t happen again.  Anyway, his next tip was to not start editing your first draft right away.  King puts his first draft away for at least six weeks before digging it out and chopping it up.  That might sound like a long time but when I dug out my novel I’ve been working on for the last three years I did find that it wasn’t as hard to cut words or entire paragraphs that didn’t work because I forgot how hard I’d worked on them in the first place, you’ve got to be willing to kill your baby’s.  But the tip that hit home the most is that you need a good place to write.  Someplace quite and free from distractions.  For me that place is not at home, and that is because of the damn internet.  I have no will power when it comes to the web.  “I’ll just check if I have any new emails, might be something important, any messages on Facebook? Any big news happening in the world? New videos posted?  “Oh crap! look at the time! I’ve wasted the whole day!”  I don’t even want to think of the thousands of hours I’ve wasted in front of this damn computer.  But I have a solution, a place to hide from the interweb, my hunting cabin.  It’s the perfect place to write.  It’s only fifteen minutes from my house so I can get there quickly and once there there’s nothing to do except work on the cabin, (meh) go for a walk in the woods, (not much fun without a gun) and write.  I’ve found that when I sit down at the cabin my output triples, OK 3 times not much is still not much but it’s something.  With that in mind the forecast for today is low clouds and rain so with a day off from flying and jumping out of airplanes I’m off to the cabin.  Wish me luck

6 Replies to “On Writing”

    1. Got that right Marc, we did have a small leak in the roof this winter. I’d like to put on a metal roof someday that would handle the tons of snow we get here.

  1. The more I write the easier it becomes. I was going to say “the better it gets” but I’m not sure if my readers would agree. But it’s still fun, so I keep doing it.

    And that need to read a lot. I’d do that anyway but Mr King is absolutely right.

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