Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reflecting On Stephen King

Several of you, I know, saw the title to this article and thought, "Gee, I didn't know Stephen King had a reflection." First of all, it is only vampires, not horror story novelists, that don't have reflections, and second of all, I'm not talking about that kind of reflection anyway. I am talking about reflecting on Stephen King's writing schedule.

Stephen King writes ten pages a day. Every day. Even his birthday and Christmas. I know this because the lead article in the April issue of Writers Digest is titled "Stephen King, How to Write Ten Pages a Day." I eagerly turned to the article because I would love to learn some magic secret that would help me write ten pages a day.

As it turned out, there were no magic secrets, no previously unknown methods, in the article. The gist of it was this: Make writing a priority, then sit down and do it, and don't get up until it's done. Which would work well for me if that pesky family of mine would stop demanding that I do things like be a wife and a mother.

Still, I've spent a lot of time thinking about a certain statement in the article. Stephen King was talking about two kinds of authors. Those who are prolific, (he himself has written 35 novels, one of which only took him a week to write.) and those who write well, but write fewer than five books in their life time.

"Which is okay," King said, "but I always wonder two things about these folks: How long did it take them to write the books they did write, and what did they do the rest of their time? Knit afghans? Organize church bazaars? Deify plums? I'm probably being snotty here, but I'm also, believe me, honestly curious. If God give you something you can do, why . . . wouldn't you do it??

On one hand he's right. If God has given us a talent than we ought to use it, ought to glorify His name with it, instead of burying our talent in the sand. But King makes an assumption with his statement that I can't agree with. He seems to think that writing is a more important way to spend ones time than anything else. Somehow knitting afghans or helping with church functions is less valuable than creating stories.

I, like most of us, have spent a lot of my time in these so called lesser pursuits. I've spent my time wiping noses and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I've helped with girls camp and scout functions, and Primary activities where the children made picture frames out of tongue depressors. I've never knitted anything, but I recently crocheted beads onto a dozen pair of socks to send to an orphanage in Siberia. And what's more, I don't regret spending my time on any of these ventures.

In this group we are mothers, wives, neighbors, visiting teachers, and involved in all sorts of school and church work. We may very well fall into the category number two--unprolific writers. That's okay. We have all eternity to work on our talents. Let's never feel like our other duties--the daily acts of service we give to others--are less valuable in God's eyes. In some cases being number two is not so bad at all.

1 comment:

Emily M said...

Wow, thank you for this, Janette. I've enjoyed your novels (I haven't read them all) and I just discovered your blog. This is a great post, and I really appreciate it.