I’m not a huge fan of the immensely successful Stephen King, all that blood and creepy creatures from beyond the grave give me too many sleepless nights, but I stumbled upon some Stephen King quotes the other day that show that he is a writer with a good sense of self-deprecating humour and one firmly in control of his craft.

If you’re wondering what salami has got to do with it, here is King describing how he sees his place in the world of writers and novels: 

I’m a salami writer. I try to write good salami, but salami is salami.

Just for that I have now become a fan of ‘the King’!

Another of his self-deprecating takes on his talent:

“I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries.”

This led me to thinking back to something that the Australian published writer and journalist, Moya Sayer-Jones, said after yet another would-be writer asked her how to go about writing a book, her reply was, “You sit down and write!“. A disarmingly simple bit of advice that all would-be writers agonising over how the first paragraph of their next novel is going to look need to think about.

Stephen King, when asked how he writes books offers a similar perspective:

“When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.“.

For a lot of us, the thought of writing a book, no matter how much we want to do it or how brilliant we think our idea is, is like standing at the bottom of the K2 in a pair of board shorts and wondering how we’re going to get to the top.

Part of this is because of the ‘mystery’ and ‘awe’ surrounding the whole literary world. An ‘awe’ bred into us at school and college where we are taught to look way up there into the clouds where the ‘real’ writers live.

But real writers, like King, writers who take on the job of writing, don’t see it or themselves quite like that and I’m pretty sure its their matter-of-fact approach that takes them along the road to success.

For more insight into King’s approach to writing and how his life has led him to write what he does the way he does get hold of his On WritingEarning your daily salami … a writer’s perspective 1 – and then sit down and write that book!

Here are some other King quotes to chew on:

  • “For every six crappy poems you read, you’ll actually find one or two good ones. And that, believe me, is a very acceptable ratio of trash to treasure.”
  • “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”
  • “Like anything else that happens on its own, the act of writing is beyond currency. Money is great stuff to have, but when it comes to the act of creation, the best thing is not to think of money too much. It constipates the whole process.”
  • “I know writers who claim not to read their notices, or not to be hurt by the bad ones if they do, and I actually believe two of these individuals. I’m one of the other kind – I obsess over the possibility of bad reviews and brood over them when they come. But they don’t get me down for long; I just kill a few children and old ladies, and then I’m right as a trivet again.”
  • “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”
  • “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

Can’t argue with that!

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