Stephen King: Can A Novelist Be Too Productive?

Quite often, I use my blog as a kind of scrapbook. When I come across a post which requires further thought, or, indeed action, I reblog it….as much for myself as the benefit of others.

Today I came across this article by Stephen King in the New York Times: Can A Novelist Be Too Productive?

A prolific author himself, the article makes an interesting read. When referring to his over-stimulated creative mind, I particularly liked how he related to these words from poet John Keats:

“Back then, in my 20s and early 30s, I thought often of the John Keats poem that begins, “When I have fears that I may cease to be / Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain …”
Stephen King

Here is the full poem:

When I have fears that I may cease to be

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.
John Keats.

I found it particularly interesting and it is also a reminder to myself to read his book: Stephen King: “On Writing”.

I can add it to quite a number of books on writing which still adorn my shelves unread and I did mention something about working my way through the Proust Questionnaire?

Stephen King.

Stephen King.

Surely, I mustn’t be the only writer pursuing such a meandering, circuitous path? So, oftew all these little nooks and crannies I explore are so creatively fruitful and yet they do distract from the main game….The Book Project!

At least, I’m now at Question 2: What is your greatest feat?

This should prove much easier that my meandering journey through happiness.

xx Rowena

9 thoughts on “Stephen King: Can A Novelist Be Too Productive?

  1. Norah

    I can highly recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing”. Fabulous book! And I’m sure many of us will agree with Keats. No matter how much time we are given, life will never be long enough to do all we would like. Enjoy the present of today!

  2. Aeryn Rudel

    Great article. I’ll second that recommendation for “On Writing.” It’s one of the most useful books on the subject I’ve read. King’s down-to-earth, workmanlike approach to writing really appeals to me.

  3. merrildsmith

    I think we all meander. Surely that is part of the fun of creativity and writing? 🙂
    I had read the Stephen King article, too. It is interesting, and I guess it just shows that everyone is different. Some produce works quickly and some don’t. This is also true of visual artists and composers, too.

  4. Minuscule Moments

    Rowena I am in awe of Stephen King and enjoyed this down-to-earth book because he does not try to sell you a writing dream. He tells it like it is and weaves his magic through his experiences on writing. He also made me laugh on many occasions. I wish you well on your writing.

  5. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Kath. Must get hold of this book. I also have a couple of Writing books by Kate Grenville, which I started working through….good intentions yet again!

  6. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Merril for relieving my conscience on the meandering front. What you say is true and that meandering can pick up all sorts of stories and material. I’ve written a post about the audition on my blog so I won’t spoil that but afterwards we caught the bus into the city and I took her up Sydney’s tallest tower and we looked out over all of Sydney with fantastic 360 degree views. We walked through the streets and spoke to a few homeless people who sell a magazine called the Big Issue to help them get back on their feet. They were giving away free tubs of ice cream so we headed into the park to eat that together. It was all spontaneous and fun. At the same time, she kept going on her ipad and she’d complain that I kept taking photos. I also introduced her to people watching and she accused me of “spying”. Well, I did do a bit of spying becasue when we were up the top of Centrepoint Tower, I found out that the funeral of famous horsetrainer Bart Cummings was in progress and I took a few photos.
    It also occurred to me that when people are texting, talking on their phone or playing on the ipad while walking a long, they miss the people watching. They miss seeing so much and all they see is this little screen. I find it rather disturbing!

  7. roweeee Post author

    Thanks so much. I told Miss that she had people going for her all around the world and I mentioned you in New Jersey and there’s Geoff in New Zealand, Kat…so many wonderful people. I didn’t have that global reach when I was her age. I had a few German penfriends later on but we just didn’t have that global reach. Hope your workload settles down. I’m feeling a bit disworriented and out of kilter after being so sick and then having the audition and then running around the city with her afterwards. Last weekend, Geoff and the kids went camping with Scouts and we still have gear on the loungeroom floor and today was school photos and we were doing her hem last night, digging out the good school shoes. I was so ill last week and to get through that and all this does leave me feeling dazed. Still needing to rest a bit but largely back on my feet like nothing ever happened. Just need to shake it off and appreciate the Spring sunshine and be prepared for the next twists and turns on the road. Thanks so much for your encouragement and I think of you and your daughters as we do this and of course, we’ll be going off to see the Sound of Music together. xx Ro

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