3 Lessons From Stephen King’s Insanely Productive Writing Routine

3 Lessons From Stephen King’s Insanely Productive Writing Routine image 0 All

Movie goers flocked to the theatersthis weekend to see Stephen King‘s It, giving it the third biggest box office opening of the year, according to Warner Bros.

It, which follows a demonic clown who terrorizes children in a fictional Maine town, took in $117.2 million between Friday and Sunday. Andrés Muschietti’s frighteningadaptation (I screamed several times during the movie) of King‘s 1986 novel also had the largest opening for a horror movie in box office history.

The world has been no stranger to King’s work. He’s published more than 50 novels and non-fiction books, many of which have been adapted into TV shows and movies. That kind of bibliography is not easy to achieve.

In 1999, King published On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, a book that explores King’s experience as an author and gives advice to aspiring writers. Here are a few lessons on how King stays productive:

1. Don’t wait for that magical feeling–just get it done.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work,”he wrote in his book On Writing.
“I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words. That’s 180,000 words over a three-month span, a goodish length for a book — something in which the reader can get happily lost, if the tale is done well and stays fresh.”

2. Work at your own pace.

In 2015, King wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times asking “Can a Novelist Be Too Productive?” He addressed his lengthy bibliography and wrote, “I can say, with complete honestly, that I never had any choice.”
“As a young man, my head was like a crowded movie theater where someone has just yelled ‘Fire!’ and everyone scrambles for the exits at once,” King wrote. “I had a thousand ideas but only 10 fingers and one typewriter.”
King concluded by writing, “prolificacy is sometimes inevitable, and has its place.”

3. Overcome your weaknesses: Don’t be discouraged from criticism.

Shortly after he published that opinion piece, King participated in a Q&A with New York Timesreaders. One asked how King how he strengthens his weaknesses.
“In writing, the only way to deal with weaknesses is to isolate them. One can do this by reading critical reviews that all focus on the same negatives; if most critics are saying something is wrong, it probably is,” King wrote. “It’s important to take editorial criticism, as well. Most of all, one has to look at one’s own work with a cold eye.”
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