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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

Find Your Joy

Updated: Jan 18

Stephen King - On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

The next few blogs, I'm going to pull out quotes from Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and talk about them a bit. I've heard people say they don't read him because they don't like "that stuff" - but if you are serious about writing, read the blurbs and choose some of his novels to read - to learn from his command of the craft.

"If there's no joy in it, it's just no good. It's best to go on to some other area, where the deposits of talent may be richer and the fun quotient higher." (page 50)

At a pitchfest, I encountered a successful screenwriter who told me he hated writing, but it was just so easy to make a lot of money doing it... Maybe he started out enjoying it and "got lucky" enough to land a spot spewing out garbage.

I'd rather find joy in what I do.

Every so often, I question why I am writing - is it because my mother groomed me to be the writer she wanted to be? I have so many other interests and there isn't time to do everything. While I don't remember not making up stories and I know I attempted my first novel at age ten, I also remember completing a test for an art course at about the same age, spending my allowance on rolls of film and developing, and begging for piano lessons when I was four. I knew how to read English and music before I started school. I was a music major for a bit in college. Should I move away from writing and go on to music? There are professional musicians on all sides of my family.

Then he talks about time. When I was taking piano lessons, I usually practiced the minimal fifteen minutes a day. I may want to make more time for music, but most likely I'll keep it at a hobby level. As for art and photography, I've taken college courses in both. My artistic talents have found an outlet working on sets, designing my homes and incidentals, and designing books as a self-publisher.

But writing is my strongest skill; communication is my deepest talent. When I start writing, time does not exist. I pulled my first all-nighter writing a fifth-grade report! There's joy when I find the perfect phrase; there's joy when my characters make me laugh out loud as they write the story for me; there's joy when a reader lets me know my work touched them; there's joy when a work gets recognition; there's joy when I've helped someone's life through a court report.

Whatever you're doing, does it bring you joy? If not, move on. Find your joy.

Sheri McGuinn - I write.

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