Wednesday, April 17, 2013

King's Speech: O is for OFF

Regular readers of The Shellshank Redemption know how much I enjoy a good quote (see Motivational Mondays) and that I’m a huge fan of Stephen King (see the King of All Days Part I and Part II.) So, for the 2013 A-Z Challenge, I decided to combine the two, using some of my favorite King quotes about reading, writing and life in general. Enjoy!


But if you don’t want to work your ass OFF, 
you have no business trying to write well – 
settle back into competency and be grateful 
you have even that much to fall back on. 
(Stephen King)

I’ve been writing for a long time. I’m better at it now than I was a few years ago, than I was ten years ago. I make it a point to learn something from every acceptance and every rejection, from writing conferences, from talking with readers and writers, with agents and editors, from reading novels and stories and books on the craft.

I love writing for many reasons but one of them is the constant opportunity to learn and to grow and to improve, to just keep getting better and better. That’s a gift, not only to myself but to my readers as well.


  1. That's what I love about King, he doesn't sugarcoat things. He inspires writers without being easy on them.

    This particular piece of advice is one I need to work on.

  2. I agree that pushing yourself as a writer is part of writing! Each year a writer should get better and better. If they aren't, what are they doing?

  3. Tim - no, he certainly does not sugarcoat things. :)

    Emily - I guess we'd just stagnate and our work would never be anything but predictable.

  4. I'd like to think I'm getting better as a writer. I hope I'm better than I was ten years ago when I submitted a (dire) book for the first time.

  5. I've been beyond lazy lately so this was a good one for me to read. Now of course I need to actually do the working my ass off bit LOL.

  6. Mama J - I bet you are. Sometimes it's hard for us to see it ourselves.

    Julie - this post is a good reminder for me, too. :)

  7. Wanting to be better is what got me out of my shell. You can't progress if you don't put it out there.

  8. Jai - good for you!

    OE - I think bluntness is definitely needed on occasion.

    Alex - one person's snark is another's... :)

  9. Yes! We can read all the advice going but it's not much good if we don't crank those words out every day.

  10. Falling back on competency... that is a really interesting thought.

    The never-ending process of learning is what keeps life interesting!

  11. LOvely advice, and so true! Here's to working our asses off!! :)

  12. I once attended a talk where an author told us that good writing never happens by accident. It takes a lot of work. I think that goes along with what Stephen King is saying here. So I guess the magic formula is just to work very very hard.

  13. Nick - you're absolutely right/write! :)

    Lexie - I'm not sure what it would be like to not be learning every day....

    Lisa - you know it!

    Cynthia - I think there's a bit of magic involved, and then we apply all the hard work. :)