The Only Recipe For Writing You’ll Ever Need
Writing — a collection of words ensouled by the creative huffing and puffing you put into it. Intentionally or purely by accident, the architecture of your mental landscape is right there, out in the open, for everyone to see. It’s absolutely terrifying.
In fact, the more honest and truthful name for writer’s block is just that — fear.
Fear ties itself to your feet like cement blocks. No matter where you are on your writing journey, fear weighs heavy on novice and experienced author alike. It hinders progress. Makes your brain say, “I’m gonna stay right here. You go on without me.”
Sure, writing involves exultation. The joy of getting your words to look just the way you like. The creative flow of getting it all down. The perfectionist high when you prune away the extras and trim the word count down. The creator’s euphoria provides energy for the task. It is much of the reason why we write.
How to begin writing? Like actual words, on the page? Is there a recipe or a code? What can one do to get past that initial trepidation of having to sit in front of the blank space, searching inside yourself for truths to make your pages sing?
You can reach for the typical guides for writers. The established booklists and the erstwhile mentors of literature. There are many excellent books on the craft, and many inspirational articles here on Medium itself.
Stephen King has written a masterful guide in his book “On Writing.” However there’s something else he’s written that’s much more precise. A piece of advice much more matter-of-fact that doesn’t garner the same level of attention— even though it’s essentially all the advice you’ll ever need. And it’s in a work of fiction.
So the quickest way? You can pick up Stephen King’s novel, The Dark Half, and read a certain passage. A passage containing both the dilemma and the solution. Given (abridged, emphasis mine) below:-
Stark lit a Pall Mail himself, picked up one of his Berols, opened his own notebook…and then paused.
He looked at Thad with naked honesty.
‘I’m scared, hoss,’ he said.
And Thad felt a great wave of sympathy for Stark, in spite of everything he knew. Scared. Yes, of course you are, he thought. Only the ones just starting out — the kids — aren’t scared.
‘I know,’ he said. ‘And you know what it comes down to…the only way to do it is to do it.’
And that’s the only recipe for writing there is.