If I were to summarize the message of Stephen King’s On Writing (2000) in a single sentence — and why would I do that, but here goes anyway — it’s a message he repeats over and over: “Write the first draft with the door closed, the second with the door open.”
By that he means write quickly, passionately, focusing on getting the story inside you down on paper. Then, he says, you can start to think about your Ideal Reader, your use of adverbs, and whether you’ve over-described a minor setting.
And because we all have busy lives that force that door open when we’d rather it stay shut, I’ll end my month of quotes from King with this:
“In truth, I’ve found that any day’s routine interruptions and distractions don’t much hurt a work in progress and may actually help it in some ways. It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters.” (P. 232)
This is so appropriate in November.