Did you know that Stephen King loved stories even when he was a little boy? His first story attempt was erasing all of the speech bubbles in a comic and rewriting them himself. When his mother found out what he had done, she encouraged him to write his own stories. And he did.
While growing up, he loved going to horror movies (couldn't have guessed that huh?). He called them Poe Pictures after Edgar Allen Poe's dark tales. I think it was then that he knew writing horror was for him.
He's often asked why he writes horror to which he often responds "As if I had a choice...?" He was even on The Simpsons as himself. Here's the dialog.
Marge: So, Mr. King. What kind of tale of horror are you working on now?
Stephen King: Oh I don't feel like writing horror right now.
Marge: Oh, that's too bad.
Stephen King: I'm working on a biography of Benjamin Franklin. He's a fascinating man. He discovered electricity, and used it to torture small animals and mountain men. And that KEY he tied to the end of a KITE..... IT OPENED THE GATES OF HELL!!!!!!!!!!
Marge: Well.... let me know when you get back to horror.
Stephen King: Will do!
If you'd like to hear the audio, click here.
Why do I have Stephen King as my first Artist Spotlight? Because I always remember that he had SO many rejection slips that he would nail them to the wall. He actually had so many, he needed to get another nail because he plum filled one of them up. That's passion. That's dedication to one's creativity. And from looking at the shelves of work he's produced, that dedication never left him.
All through college he wrote. He would balance a child's desk on his knees to write his stories down. Some of his stories were picked up by men's magazines of the time. They would have scantily clad ladies in them right next to fantasy, sci-fi, and horror stories. That of course was just the beginning. Eventually King became a high school English teacher. Even still, he would write when he got home... trying to pry ideas out of his fully burnt out mind. It was rough teaching and writing, but he managed.
His first book, Carrie, he nearly threw away. His wife, Tabitha King, fished it out of the garbage, read it, and encouraged King to finish it. Thank goodness he did. It made him his first huge sum of cash as a writer: $200,000. This was in the 70s mind you, so that was big money then... as it is big money now for a first time author - unless of course you have a book in Oparah's book club.
It's been many years since the publication of Carrie and there were many to follow. A lot of his books where eventually made into movies. On a side note: King likes to have a bit part in each movie. Look for him in roles like the pizza guy, or door attendant.
Over the years, he's struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. That being dangerous as it was, things got worse when he was nearly killed when a van ran him over during one of his daily one hour walks down a country road in Maine.
The man who hit him sounded just like one of the characters in King's books. The driver was turned around trying to get his rottweiler, Bullet, away from the freshly caught fish (or something) in the cooler in the back seat. The driver was merely going to the country store to get a Mars bar (imagine this being said with a Maine accent "Mah-zez Baaah"). He never saw King before he hit him.
After spending months with his leg in what King describes as a metal birdcage, he's finally returned to writing. One of my favorite books, where I learned about his childhood and love of writing, is entitled On Writing. Make sure you pick up a copy or get it on audio book (I have both). He actually narrates the audio book version.
Whenever I see a book by Stephen King or see a movie that's been made from one of his books, I remember that nail with rejection slips on it. Imagine if he had given up. Would we have any of those classics? All work and no play....
So what does that tell you? Don't you give up! Your creativity matters. And more importantly, be authentic. If you have horror books/movies in you, write horror. If you have fantasy books in you, write fantasy. If you wish to paint little kittens or take photos of tall buildings, do it.
Be authentic, be yourself, and get keeping on. Stephen King did, and I'm glad of that.
To learn more about Stephen King, you can go to his website at www.stephenking.com. And, if you want, check out Alibris to get a used copy of the book On Writing.