Monday, October 02, 2006

Stephen King on Writing

I came across this story from Sunday’s Washington Post written by one of my favorite writers, Stephen King. You know--The Stand, Carrie, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption and more that my morning coffee deprived brain forgets.

King writes of his muse Scruffy, a flea-bitten mutt who gives him the words. He writes of his environment—what music he’s listening to, what his grandson’s doing downstairs, what smells he smells, what sounds he hears. But mostly, he writes about writing.

From the King himself: “But there’s no shortcut to getting there. You can build yourself the world’s most wonderful writer’s studio, load it up with state-of-the-art computer equipment, and nothing will happen unless you’ve put in your time in that clearing, waiting for Scruffy to come and sit by your leg. Or bite it and run away.

I’m often asked if writing classes are any help, and my immediate and enthusiastic answer is always, Yes! Writing classes are wonderful for the writers who teach them and can’t make ends meet without that supplementary income. They are also good places for unattached people to meet, talk about books and movies, have a few drinks and possibly hook up. But teach you to write? No. A writing class will not teach you to write. The only things that can teach writing are reading, writing and the semi-domestication of one’s muse. These are all activities one must pursue alone.”


Marion said...

I loved On Writing. Out of all the books I read about writing, it is the one that is still shiny clear in my mind.

Sheila said...

Marion, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Stephen King is popular for a reason. I'll have to check with my resident writer guru Bill to see what other books on writing he'd recommend. He once taught a magazine writing class at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Wonder what he thinks about King's view that writing class won't teach you to write?