(I selflessly volunteered for this photo shoot, but forgot to put on any clothes at the last minute. Much and many apologies – Ed.)
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
– Stephen King
I can’t think of anyone more deserving to make such a statement than Stephen King. Not only is he uber talented, but the guy works like a racehorse on ‘roids. Even after his near-fatal accident in which he was hit by a vehicle while walking along Maine State Route 5 in 1999 – and subsequently suffered through five surgeries in 10 days – King was back at it and typing away the same month he was discharged from the hospital (ironically enough, he was writing On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft at the time).
This particular quote stuck out to me this morning because, for the first time in a long time, I am back at the creative process. I’m writing a new book called The Lilacs of Spring – and it’s grueling. What those involved in the film and publishing industry understand only too well is that the amount of time spent on the “non-content process” (for lack of a better term), such as conceptualizing, planning, editing, designing, proofreading, promoting, advertising, etc., is much longer in terms of the number of hours you and a whole team put into the final product; the difference with the creative process is that it requires long bouts of intense, sometimes agonizing, concentration. Kind of like, I don’t know, pushing a massive boulder up a mountain in all your birthday suit glory. For writers, especially novelists, that often means early, early, early morning hours.
In my own case, I now wake up at 3 a.m. five days a week and 4 or 5 a.m. two days a week. The goal is to write 20 pages a day (which I believe is Mr. King’s daily aim as well), but I rarely accomplish that for one reason or another. Still, it’s important to have the goal in place, otherwise it’s easy to procrastinate, dilly-dally, and basically f*** the dog while the hours wither away and you have but a single paragraph done by the time the sun sets to show for all your “hard work.”
Anyway, if you haven’t read On Writing and you’re thinking about penning your own book, starting a literary career, or simply have a curiosity as to how the mind of an artistic genius like Stephen King ticks, do go and get that special little gem. You won’t be disappointed.