Thursday, November 20, 2014

Writing your best work

In his amazing memoir On Writing, Stephen King talks extensively about his body of work. In particular, he mentions The Stand, his massive post-apocalyptic epic story. It's widely considered to be the best thing he's ever written.

And this frustrates him to no end, apparently.

See, he's glad that people like it, of course, but he wrote it over 25 years ago. He doesn't like the implication that his best work is behind him.

I've just released my third novel. Several of my readers have said that it's the best thing I've written so far, the best mechanically and stylistically. This makes sense - as far as writers go, I'm still a novice. I haven't even finished my first million words, after all :) Mr. King is one of the most prolific writers of genre fiction in the world, wildly successful by any measure of the word. It's not surprising that some people think that some of his earlier stuff is better than his latest.

What intrigues me is his reaction to it. Not that he was mean or rude, but that he continues writing even when that opinion is expressed, widely. He keeps going, trying to create something better and better, writing what makes him happy. That's what makes a true writer - he doesn't need to do it for money, anymore, so he does it for happiness.

To all the writers out there who do it because they can't do anything else, thank you. You endure the slings and arrows of those who feel entitled to exactly what they want because you love the work. You endure self doubt and worry because you love the work.

And, because you love the work, we do too.

So thank you.

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