I’m no author, but I like to write. And as a guy who likes to write, I am very interested in the processes of other people who like to write, (especially if those people are good at it). Stephen King’s On Writing is an excellent example of a man who writes well explaining how it’s done. I’ve been a closeted King fan since I was a little kid. A lot of people are put off by his content, and that’s not surprising. But the man tells a good story. And according to him, it’s accomplished through hard work. He stresses a regular work schedule with a set goal in terms of how many words you are going to end up with at the end. When he sits down to write, his goal is 20,000 freaking words. In a single day. 20,000. That, my friends, is why he is successful.
And yet, I remember reading him elsewhere answering a common question he receives from fans: “How do you write these stories?” The questioner undoubtedly wants to hear about his magical formula to creating such imaginative tales. They expect some fantastic scenario of King dropping acid and scribbling down plotlines in a fugue. But King replies with another question, “How did they build the Great Wall of China?”
And then he answers, “One brick at a time. That’s the way I write, one word at a time.” He went on to say that people don’t like his answer. They were happier with their own idea of how it happened.
But that’s not how life works. Life is one brick at a time, one word at a time, one step after another. How do you raise a human from infancy to adulthood? One day at a time. How do you earn your doctorate? One assignment at a time. How do you get over the mountains that life throws into our path? One step at a time. How do you get to the end of the day without murdering the insufferable idiots we all encounter so frequently? One breath, one minute, one hour after another. Through hard work. With perseverance. By never, ever giving up.