I think Stephen King is a veritable fountain of writerly wisdom, and much of that wisdom has been compiled in his excellent book On Writing. (Yes, I’m gonna plug the book every time.) He also dispenses useful advice (and criticism) in the form of quotes, many of which I find very inspirational. King’s quotes are honest, even blunt, and that’s why I dig them. Case in point, the following quote says a lot, I think, about how King views a career in writing.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
– Stephen King
I think people sometimes romanticize the job of writing, and there ain’t nothin’ romantic about this quote, just King’s patented brand of truthiness. He’s talking about the cold, hard reality of being a working writer. If you want to be a working writer, the kind who has deadlines and obligations, the kind that gets paid for meeting those deadlines and obligations, then you have to write, and you have to do it whether you feel like it or not. You have to–you guessed it–treat it like a job.
I’ve been lucky enough to turn writing into a career, and I love what I do, but the truth is some days I don’t want to sit in front of my computer and pound out the words. I want to play video games or watch baseball or do literally anything else besides write. It’s why this particular quote resonates with me so much. On those days when inspiration is nowhere to be found, I remind myself that what I want, what I’ve always wanted, is to be part of the “rest of us” King is talking about, and to do that, I have to get off my ass and go to work.
Got a favorite quote from a favorite author? Share it in the comments.