Article by Wendy McCance
On Writing, by Stephen King is a book I have wanted to read for a long time. I was thrilled when I saw it at the library, and grabbed it up. For anyone that hasn’t read this book, it is incredible. It’s one of the best books I have read in a long time.
Stephen King describes a typical day, how he feels about writing and what types of things to look out for as you are writing. He even gives you his formula for the length of time it takes him to write a book. He writes 2,000 words a day for 3 months and then the rough draft is complete. He goes into more detail and you can visualize how long the entire process takes for him from beginning to end.
I was so inspired by the book, that I decided to try my hand at some fiction myself. Just a test run to see how I felt about writing in that form and what would pop out of my head.
The first night, I wrote 1,551 words in about an hour and a half. The story came pouring out and I thought it was easy. The second night, I couldn’t get a handle on the story until I read what I had already written. I then ended up tearing it apart and only added a few words to what I had on paper from the night before.
What I began to realize was that fiction is hard. It’s so very different from the non-fiction writing that I am used to. When I write, the words just fly out of my head and onto the page. Fiction frustrates me. It slows me down. I have to consider descriptions, he said/she said’s and it takes a lot of effort to get through a scene, a thought, a backstory etc…
I am not used to writing at such a slow pace. It feels unnatural and a bit forced. My story, the idea of it was interesting in my head, but bored me on the page.
I know this might sound crazy, but my opinion of what a REAL writer was, had to do with their success as a fiction writer. I hadn’t realized I even felt that way until I started trying to write some fiction. Growing up, I read constantly. I always dreamed of writing fiction. At the time, I wanted to write teen fiction like my favorite author, Judy Blume. I never considered someone a “writer” unless they were an author, and a fiction author at that. Now I am reevaluation the whole meaning of what a writer is. Am I really a writer or not? Based on my own prejudices of it, it would appear that I am not.
So even though this revelation of my own thinking process has made me stumble, I know that I will keep working on the fiction, not because I believe it will ever be bought up, but because I need to challenge myself and see how far I can take my abilities. I realize that some people are poets and others are novelists. Some people can write technical papers and some write pure fantasy. I get it, but I guess I am stubborn. I need to understand what areas I excel and what areas I bomb out in. I want to push myself to the limit and see if the learning process of writing in such a different form evolves or is just not what I was meant to do.
So, I’m curious to know if my experience is similar to one you have had? What have you learned from changing directions? Any advice or sharing of your story would be well appreciated.
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