It’s February 6th already and time for another round of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. A wonderfully supportive group of writers. If you get the chance, go check some of these great writers out.
This posting began in a fog of last night’s Nyquil and continued under the support of Sudafed. Pardon me while I take a second to cough my brains out for the millionth time this week.
Anyways, back to my posting. I thought I’d go on to Youtube, pull up an inspirational writing video, and crawl back under the covers. Simple, easy, and well within my virus-adled brain’s ability. But that changed as I watched a particular video of a speech Stephen King gave to some University of Mass students – I began to want to say something.
Each month the writer’s of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post about their fears, their thoughts, or their experiences as writers in an increasingly competitive writing environment. And each month we take solace in the similarity of the experiences of each other, swim in the words of other people who are traveling the same path as us.
But this month, I want to do something different. I want to put forth the words of those who’ve come before us. People who were or are the authors who made us want to read, to devour the books they slaved over. Just like I was inspired by the words of Mr. King this morning, I want to share the words of other talented writers who have run the race and helped define the very profession we hope to join or already are a part of. Without further ado, please consider these words of wisdom as you make your way through your manuscripts in February, and may their words speak as strongly to you as they have to me:
People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.
– Harlan Ellison
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner
Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.
– Anne McCaffrey
And in homage to Mr. King, who helped me focus my posting today:
“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything. Or a broken billboard. Or weeds growing in the cracks of a library’s steps. Of course, none of this means a lot without characters the reader cares about (and sometimes characters—‘bad guys’—the reader is rooting against).”
“Writers must be fair and remember even bad guys (most of them, anyway) see themselves as good—they are the heroes of their own lives. Giving them a fair chance as characters can create some interesting shades of gray—and shades of gray are also a part of life.”