*Disclaimer: This article is in no way intended to poke fun at Stephen King. He is a genius. I admire him greatly. I am hoping you might laugh at my expense, which is why I wrote this blog in the first place.
Laundry detergent commercial: If you’ve got a t-shirt with blood stains all over it, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem right now. ~Jerry Seinfeld
My biggest problem and crown of shame right now: the blood-stained reality of being unable to read for more than 20 minutes at a time without falling asleep. I can wash that shirt over and over, but I still get blood stains on it. The detergent ain’t gonna be much help for very long.
I write blogs. What might be apparent to some of my followers who are amazing authors is that I don’t read much. People who write are supposed to read a lot.
MY READING EFFORTS
In his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King shares his insights on how to be a better writer. I have tried many, many times to read all the way through this memoir. It made me feel smart just having it sit there on my coffee table as if to say to me “What a brilliant move you made taking this out of the library, having the librarian compliment you on what a great book choice this was! Good job!”
I managed to read up to the point where King received his large advance on his first novel Carrie and then I read no more. I was happy for King and then I was exhausted. Plus, all of my library renewals had run out.
MY WRITING EFFORTS
My writing abilities are pretty good – for a 15-year-old. (Please keep in mind I am now 42) Then I became ill at 16. My reality turned into a fight to survive, to stay alive. That is where my creative writing came to a screeching halt. Sure, I could write term papers after that, adhering to APA format, but that was plugging a bunch of half-baked unoriginal ideas into an equation. Not much creativity. Just fighting to get through a course.
According to my interpretation of the writing insights from Stephen King, I have no potential whatsoever to be a writer. I found these suggestions on how to be a great writer online (from King’s memoir). There were originally 22 lessons, but I have shortened the list so that my blog does not extend into tomorrow.
Selected Lessons from Stephen King on how to be a great writer
Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible.
OK. Well, I haven’t had a TV for 5 or 6 years. I spend all of my spare time studying and trying to find ideas for my blog. I go online and watch movies for ideas. King also suggests reading during meals?!? WTF?!! I don’t even eat meals. I don’t have the energy for meal preparation. My meal is eating an apple and consuming ravioli straight out of the can and drinking a glass of milk.
Don’t waste time trying to please people.
Well, I’ve already been accused of being drunk and/or psychotic while writing my first two blog posts, and have been warned to watch out for the police showing up at my door. My family members aren’t interested in reading my material. I’m very used to people not caring about my creative endeavors. I’m used to complete and utter apathy. I press on. I have yet to experience hostility. I have a few tools set up to deal with that if and when it comes around. I’m pretty good at gravelling at people’s feet.
King advises, “Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open.”
Sure, I can find a corner to write in with my socks and undershorts on (although I barely ever wear underwear). If I rewrite with the door open, my neighbor’s cat will wander in and scare the shit out of me. My landlord’s wife will wander in and engage in an hour conversation with me because she’s lonely. My neighbor will knock on my door and ask if I’m having a seizure. I think you’re writing to people who have more than two rooms….hey wait. I could write my first draft on the toilet, you know, with the bathroom door closed. I’d get a special table and everything. I’d even have my ravioli and my “meal” set up to keep on writing if I get hungry…..and then write my second draft with the bathroom door open. Problem solved.
Tell stories about what people actually do.
Yes, murderers sometimes do help old ladies across the street.
Take your writing seriously.
“You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or despair,” says King. “Come to it any way but lightly.”
Well, I must say that my writing, immature as it is, is always masked with humor. However, it is always approached with genuine heartache, despondence, and unflinching despair. In fact, it was King himself that said:
Humor is almost always anger with its makeup on.
Stay married, be healthy, and live a good life.
Well, Mr. King, as of today, I don’t think any man in his right mind would touch me with a 10-foot pole. I lack the energy to go out, meet new people, and to see new places. So on your last suggestion, I fail miserably as a person who could possibly be successful as a writer because I have a chronic illness. Your suggestions are absolutely brilliant. It is I that lack the brilliance. I have about as much shiny as a cardboard box. I read as much of your book as I possibly could. I promise I did.