Friday, July 29, 2011

I Love Stephen King's Advice to Writers

WORDS OF WISDOM FOR BEGINNING WRITERS
FROM STEPHEN KING






I love this advice because it encourages the one thing I love even more than writing...reading. I've written often about my obsessions with books. I buy new ones with and without authors' signatures, buy and trade used books (yes, even though the author doesn't get a royalty that way), win books in drawings and giveaways, and then borrow a few more from the library.

Reading entertains me, it educates me, and it transports me to new worlds. The worst moment of my life (I was about nine years old) was the day I realized I would not be able to read all the books in the world. I've since decided that Heaven (assuming there is one and that I get invited in) will come in the form of a huge library of ideas and interpretations that I'll be able to absorb without effort--without the need to see or turn pages or make judgements.

I'm not too eager for the Heavenly Library to take me in just yet. For now, I dream of getting locked up in a real library for the weekend. I always include the presence of a water fountain, a couple of snack machines and a coffee machine in my fantasy. Most libraries have cozy reading chairs so that's no problem. I'll roam the stacks, sample a little of this and a little of that, hold real books and turn paper pages. I will not turn my cell phone on and call for help. I'll read.

Stephen King told me to.

18 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for sharing this wisdom. I like King's advice very much. I really do think that the best writers are also voracious readers...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've always been a reader and for similar reasons, number one to escape.

Hart Johnson said...

I love King's advice, too. And I adore reading. I spent a day about two weeks ago where I read all day long--hadn't taken a day free of responsibilities for FAR too long--I adored it. I love the emotional range a book can pull from me. i love to experience the fear and anguish and angst without real life consequences--I think it helps me be more content with how things ARE.

Jan Morrison said...

I love this too and I think of it all the time. Sometimes I feel guilty when I'm reading but then King's advice sneaks into my heart and I smile. I'm with you in heaven - only I'd like my coffee and snacks served to me by all of those who didn't read. They are there because they went to hell. Same place. Yep.

Mary Aalgaard said...

That was great. I love your idea of Heaven, and of getting locked ina library. Wouldn't that be cool?!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I always have books on the go, many times it's one book for downstairs and another for upstairs. The only downside to all the reading is the little voice that whispers "Why can't you write like this?" from time to time.

Marlena Cassidy said...

Patricia, I love your posts. I too would love to just haunt a library and stay there indefinitely. Perhaps I'll see you there!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I wish I could say I was reading this morning (or locked in a library) instead of tending to everyone's comments, but I was off running errands. Anyway, hi everyone. I forgot to mention what I'm reading at the moment--Sophie Littlefield's newest Stella Hardesty mystery, A Bad Day for Scandal. I love this series.

J.L. Campbell said...

I don't know that I'll ever have enough of books and reading. Even if I go for a while without doing a lot of reading, the next phase is a voracious cycle of devouring books. I think many writers have been led to crafting stories because of a love of reading.

Jemi Fraser said...

Definitely my idea of perfection! I could read alllllll day long :)

GigglesandGuns said...

King advice is right on. How can anyone hope to write if they don't read?
I think yours is the perfect fantasy.

Edna Pontillo said...

Absolutely the best post! The best advice! Pat Conroy in his book My Reading Life says he never reads less than two hours a day and he always reads poetry before he writes. Reading is and always has been my favorite pastime. In my life, I may not be able to say how old I was when something momentous happened, but I can tell you what book I was reading. When I almost drowned in an irrigation canal, I was reading Heidi. I read Trinity the week before my son was born.
Now that I'm writing more (and fiction) I agree with Elspeth about the only downside. This week I read some of the latest Newbery books, Moon Over Manifest, One Crazy Summer, The Wednesday Wars, and I think, whatever made you think you could write? But then, just as King says, I read a published novel (which I will not name) and I think, heck I can do at least this good and probably better. (At least I hope so.)
Thanks, Pat, as always, for a thought provoking post.

Elizabeth C. Main said...

Nice to have someone of Stephen King's stature tell me I must do exactly what I would choose to do anyway. I usually have several books going at once in order to match my mood. Currently, I'm reading Still Life by Louise Penny, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and A Kind of Flying by Ron Carlson. I use Ted Kooser's Delights & Shadows to balance things out every now and then. Liz M.

Ella said...

Great post; I love Stephen King! I also wanted to move into my town library. I wanted to hide among the ideas, the whispers of inspiration, and thoughts of escape. Library Heaven sounds wonderful, as long as there is no limit on how many we check out and no over due fees ;D
Yes, hold real books...aaahhh!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I wish our library was nicer and didn't sit in the scary part of town.

John Paul McKinney said...

Great advice. I've loved reading and now my Kindle makes it even easier. I now read things I never thought I would, including things I don't even like, mainly to figure out why I don't like them. Thanks for the post.

Mari G said...

Hi Patricia
A great post & clip. I read "On Writing" by the great man himself earlier this year & it is so worthwhile & helpful & full of commonsense. Would recommend it.
As you say, how nice to be told the best the to do if you want to be a writer is a most adorable thing- read!

Raquel Byrnes said...

I love this clip. It made me stop and go hmmm. Wonderful to see it again.
I should go and dig out my copy of On Writing.
Edge of Your Seat Romance