Just Get Up And Go To Work!!

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.

Stephen King

King, a contemporary of mine, was born and raised in Maine in 1947, and is an acclaimed American author of horror, fantasy, science fiction, as well as supernatural fiction and suspense. He began his writing career in high school with short stories that he actually sold to his friends for profit! Too often, I lament, along with many of my fellow Indie authors, about the difficulty of marketing our books. It seems that young Stephen King had that all figured out – even before the advent of the Internet and social media!

Like many authors, King took other jobs to pay the bills until his books began to take off. It is clear that Stephen King had a well-developed work ethic. The tone of this quote belies his impatience with writers that he tags as amateurs. He says that these amateurs will just sit around waiting for an inspiration before they write anything. I smiled as I read that statement.

On the one hand, King has a legitimate point. The professional gets up every day and just writes. He or she will plug away at their book or article, etc. until they get it finished. They know full well that they may receive an inspiring visit from the Muse – or not. Regardless, they have a job to do and they must complete it to the best of their ability in a timely fashion. After all, publishers have their deadlines too! So there’s just no time to sit around waiting for inspiration to strike like a lightning bolt. Inspiration ‘on demand’ would be nice, wouldn’t it!

Having said that, I recall what I went through when, night after night, I sat down before my computer to write my first novel. I was full of fear because I knew that I didn’t know what I was doing. Because I wanted to do this more than I wanted to run away, I kept plunking away at my keyboard. One paragraph later, I was stuck. Writer’s block? No, the fear overwhelmed me and choked off the flow of ideas. I was a smoker then, so I left my office, grabbed a diet coke, my smokes, and headed out to the garage where I’d sit on the steps going down to the garage floor and light up. As I inhaled the smoke deep into my lungs, I felt a calm return. A couple more drags on the cigarette and a sip of diet cola allowed some ideas to form.

This scenario repeated itself a few times each evening when I sat down to write. The first few chapters of that first book were tough going. I didn’t know it then, but it would be seven years of re-writes before the novel was published. When I think back, I worked very hard on that book and I don’t recall sitting around waiting for ‘inspiration’. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and I’ve never had trouble sitting down to write, whether it was a one act play in high school, poetry in university, or the non-fiction books and novels I wrote later in life. I’ve always loved writing, it just never occurred to me to do it professionally – until I retired from my first career – teaching.

For me, the act of writing is a discipline. I don’t wait until I’m in the mood to write, or wait for some sudden flash of inspiration. For me, the key is to be able to relax. What if I feel stressed? I sit and breathe deeply and clear my mind of any problems that are besetting me. Sometimes, that can take a while. Once I have relaxed and focused my mind on the task at hand I begin to feel the flow of ideas into my mind and I start typing.

One more thing. I have my Muse and she’s all the inspiration I need… just ask her!

About John Fioravanti

Author, John Fioravanti writes non-fiction as well as fiction in the sci-fi genre. He's a retired secondary school educator and a lifelong learner. He considers himself a work in progress and welcomes the opinions and insights that others may have about his work. He prizes dialogue about meaningful topics, so please leave your thoughts!

8 thoughts on “Just Get Up And Go To Work!!

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Joy Lo-Bamijoko

    June 5, 2015 at 6:39pm

    I have read, I believe, a couple of his books, and I liked them very much. His ethics is a good one but it is not one that I follow closely. I don’t write everyday, but I write regularly. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Nonnie Jules

    June 5, 2015 at 12:34pm

    We should all have a Muse like you, John. Mind sharing? What a great post!

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Jan Hawke

    June 5, 2015 at 7:29am

    Not a huge King fan but you’ve gotta respect his output and versatility – he’s definitely a writer’s writer in a way that James Patterson will never be! 😉

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Rhani D'Chae

    June 5, 2015 at 12:53am

    Love the post, John, & love Stephen King! I think a lot of writers have sat at his feet, so to speak, & learned helpful bits of this or that over the years. I know I have. Lol

What do you think? - I love comments!