Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft has long been a guidebook for aspiring writers, offering writing advice that has accumulated during his long and wildly successful writing career. As it approaches its 19th anniversary this year, On Writing continues to inspire generations of writers and these ten tips will show you why.
Here are ten writing tips in the words of Stephen King:
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
“Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
“The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story…writing is seduction. Good talk is part of seduction.”
“If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
“There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky.”
“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”
“I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. If one is writing for one’s own pleasure, that fear may be mild…If, however, one is working under deadline…that fear may be intense.”
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
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