I recently read Stephen King’s memoir “On Writing” in one of my Creative Writing courses. I love to write, but I think anyone who has really tried to write can understand that it is often a painful, self-destructive process. A 1,000 word assignment often leaves me stranded in front of my computer for hours, deleting entire passages and starting from scratch, until the final piece is as good as I can make it.
King’s memoir includes some ordinary advice (shut the door, get it all down on paper, etc.), but more often, his words were somewhat of a revelation. The advice that really stretched my brain was to realize that I am not in control. King, as well as several other writers, credit the subconscious for dreaming up all those brilliant ideas. We are not the writers, we are simply the vessels for the thoughts of the subconscious.
Confused yet? This is something I am struggling to understand for myself. I like to be in control, and the thought of relinquishing control to someone who is me…but isn’t at the same time…is so far out of my normal line of thought. Still, the idea is growing on me. We have to get out of our rational minds to really let the creativity start flowing, and that is something I am going to try in my future writing.
For the “Cliff’s Notes” on King’s memoir, and to see a list of his top writing tips, check out this article, posted on Open Culture. Many of the sub-headings are taken directly from his memoir, and are excellent tips for writers of all ages and experiences.