Two things I love: reading and writing. Reading for writing, I also love, and it is the focus of what my reading has consisted of lately, too!
I’m usually a fiction gal, my preferences jumping all over the map from romantic comedies to mysteries to legal thrillers. But at the moment I’m reading two nonfiction books—both that have to do with the craft of writing.
Confession: I’m not technically reading them both. I have borrowed the audiobook of Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft from the library online. It has been a priceless experience, hearing the audiobook in the writer’s own voice. Stephen King is animated, serious when needed, and draws empathy through his beautifully spoken/written words.
I started the audiobook last weekend, when I took some time away for myself. It’s been hard lately, balancing life, and to be honest, I anticipated crying while I was away. Something to do with the stress being put away for a minute, or joy at having a hot, uninterrupted cup of coffee.
I did not think that the reason I cried would be because of Stephen King’s book. The first half of this book is more memoir, the second, tips on the craft of writing. And when he started to describe how wonderful his wife is in the way she supports him, I recognized that I have that same, undying support in Brad. Mr. King went on to talk about the process when he sold his first book for an amount of money unheard of to him in that time—it was Carrie, published in 1973—and I started to cry. I have the same dreams as Stephen King. They’re different in my own way, of course, but I long to sell my words, the ideas for my books, in the traditional world of publishing. And later, for film or TV.
Side note: My mentor at TWSO and Brad both agree that Romi would be better suited to a Netflix series. I, to be honest, don’t care either way. Seeing my book translated to the screen would be an amazing feat. Stay tuned (though this will all take several years, so don’t hold your breath or anything).
Hearing such a well-known author talk about his beginnings, the struggles he’s had in life, in not believing in his work, humanizes what I am doing with my writing so much.
I’ve since listened to over half of the book and am absorbing the wise advice he has for his readers. The biggest one that I’ve already applied today is “Don’t come to the blank page lightly.”
Today, my blog is my blank page. And I was angry at it yesterday. Well, technically I was more upset at technology than anything, having written out at least a whole page with links to the books I’m reading and my own past, relevant blog posts, when the program decided to crash. Why didn’t I save, you ask? Well, I did. And then when it crashed, the program tried to open a new document, which I then saved too quickly over the old one and was left with what I started with.
A blank page.
The words that you read here today are not the words they would have been yesterday. But that’s the beautiful thing about art, isn’t it? Approach words, or a painting, or a song, from a different perspective, on an empty stomach as opposed to full, or a tired mind over a well-rested one, and you’ll see things differently. So I came home from my walk today where I heard Stephen King speak these words in my ear, sat down at my blank page, and set out to tell anyone who wants to read how I am taking steps to improve my writing.
If you’re a writer, I’d look into these books, or any that have come recommended to you that you have waiting to read, and read them. Absorb them. Listen to those that are practiced at what you want to do. Embrace reading for writing. Though I guess I love learning, so maybe don’t take my advice if you hate it!
The second work of nonfiction I am physically reading is Save the Cat Writes a Novel, which came to me through many different recommendations. When I finally sat down with it, on our holiday to Halfmoon Bay, I was ready with pen and my notebook, to really dive into the ‘beats’ that apparently appear in all great movies and stories. Writing a book is a very grand thing, it is so much more evolved than just a beginning/middle/end, story arc, good characters and some unforeseen circumstances. I am having so much fun working with these books and my writer’s group, to try and make Romi the best that she can be. Before it hopefully sees the hands of an agent, then a publisher, and is torn down and improved immensely before being published. And hopefully this reading for writing never ends, and pays off in the long run.
Do you have any dreams you’re working on at the moment? I’d love to hear them below.
Sitting in dreamland over here,