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. (Stephen King)
If there was ever a finer book on writing, it would have to be Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. It is King’s childhood, journey and illustration of a map, an answer to the question: How did you learn to write?
To be honest, I haven’t read a single Stephen King book. I picked up this copy back in 2012 because just like any amateur writer does (I think), I was hungry for the secret, the magical potion that rendered writers of their equally magical capabilities of pumping out word after word, of creating worlds for their readers. The reviews also bolstered the purchase; I was confident that this book contained the mythical how-to’s of successful writers.
Of course I was wrong. There is no secret, no magical potion. What I learned from King is that you have to arm yourself with four important things if you want to write: discipline, the writer’s toolkit, a big appetite for reading, and most of all, courage.
One could come up with a thousand excuses for not writing: of not having the right writing tools, of not having enough time, of not being inspired enough. I’m guilty of all of these, and I never cultivated the discipline needed for my writing. What King offers is a call to the essential, in its simplest and most honest form:
…you need the room, you need the door, and you need the determination to shut the door. You need a concrete goal, as well. The longer you keep to the basics, the easier the act of writing will become. Don’t wait for the muse.