I closed Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft with a newfound understanding of my own craft. Not only did King inspire me to keep on the path of my dreams, but he reminded me that hard work pays off. If you continue to read and write as much as you can, you will find your voice.
Finding your voice is learning to understand yourself and the world around you. To see deeply into the connections and the pulse of life. King says to write what you know, because readers will connect with you when there is heart on the page. It is the heart of the characters that drives the story into something believable and relatable.
The rest of it-and perhaps the best of it-is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up. -Stephen King
Writing is magic. It is something that flows from my heart, up into my brain, and out through my fingers tapping at the keys. It is something I define myself as, as well as reveals how I interpret the world around me. King’s book is filled with advice that I think I was seeking to understand. I had been disenchanted with how many writers were trying to sell classes about how to write better, but really, all I needed was to channel my passion.
Write First With the Door Closed
King says to write first with the door closed. Remove all distractions and wrap yourself in an intimacy with your writing. As the first draft is finished, then you can write with the door open and introduce it to the world. Whenever I was required to write for review, I lost the intimacy of my writing with the fear of judgement from those around me. I wondered why I was feeling disconnected when it came to the pressure of performance, but then I realized I needed to write first with the door closed. Once I felt a piece was ready, then I could open the door.
“Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right-as right as you can, anyway-it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.” -Stephen King
Writing has the power to be incredibly intimate, even with readers who are across oceans. The key is letting people see pieces of your heart on the page. There are billions of people in the world, which means there are billions of people who may have the chance to connect with you through stories. For centuries, humans have communicated through the power of stories, and the craft only continues to grow as more people come to understand their passion.
Your Story Is Important
As King says, there are many bad writers out there, but there are also many good ones. Ones that have a powerful ability to create stories that interact with the human spirit. When I was a child everyone believed me to be a great author, but I unfortunately had a bad run in with a literary teacher who shut down my passion for writing. It took me years to realize that I was selling myself short by not sharing the inner workings of my heart and interactions with the world.
Your story is important. It is needed. We are the masters and the main character of our own story, but it is the personality and the heart within that creates a life. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, your story is important. Passion should drive you to understand how to master your craft and become the writer you always hoped you would be.
Stephen King helped me persevere when things were uncertain. When rejections came my way, and when I suffered a job loss. Yet, when bad things happen it gives redirection. Despite being hit by a reckless driver calming his pup, King persevered. Why? Because he loved writing. He loved his craft (and he loved his wife dearly).
Nevertheless persevere. Whatever your passion is for writing, persevere. Nothing in life comes easy, but it takes hard work and the fight to make your dreams come to fruition. Every single day I write, not only for myself, but in the professional world too. I write because I love what I do, and I have a passion for the written word.
Every day I write, and every day I am a step closer to mastering my craft and pursuing my passion. King taught me that the first steps in being a great writer, is to read and write with all the time you possibly can give. For the only way to get better, is to practice.
With hard work, comes a whole new understanding of what passion really looks like. Whatever your craft is, practice it. Pursue your passion with fervor and the beautiful understanding of perseverance. For every day is a day closer to your dreams.