On the Relationship between Writing and Thinking

Published: 2021-07-01 08:37:53
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Stephen King’s On Writing serves as a memoir and a writing instructional book which provides King’s views regarding the relationship between writing and thinking through the discussion of the intrinsic rewards involved in the process of writing a text as well as the skills that one must master in order to become an effective writer. In line with this, what follows is a discussion of King’s thoughts regarding the relationship between writing and thinking in relation to creation of literary texts. According to King, writing is a product of intrinsic interests toward the act itself.
He states, “I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it…I have written because it fulfilled me…I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing” (King 248-9). Within this context, one might note that King perceived the writing process as a form of spiritual union with the self in the sense that it enables the individual to gain fulfillment and hence to a certain extent further knowledge and mastery of his self. The mastery of the self is achieved during the process of mastering the art of writing.
Such an art however may only be mastered if the individual possesses the fundamental skills necessary in the process of writing a text. These skills are laid down by King by using the metaphor of a toolbox. He lays out a three-level expanding toolbox that his grandfather used during his childhood (King 21-55). On the top level of the toolbox are vocabulary and grammar which serve as the rudimentary tools that an individual ought to master before mastering creative writing. He states, “good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals” (King 144).



King claims, that these tools are absorbed at a very young age and hence the initial tools for creative writing necessitates that an individual possesses good background knowledge and mastery of these rudimentary aspects. The second layer of King’s toolbox contains writing style and structure. He argues that once an individual has mastery of both vocabulary and grammar, it is possible for him to develop his own writing style as well as create his own structural style. This style however must continuously be developed through an individual’s continuous immersion on the various developments within the different genres of literature.
The last level of King’s toolbox contains the act of writing itself. He claims, “if you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I am aware of, no shortcuts…There is a learning process going on” (King 145). Within this context, creative writing for King may be understood as the process of mastering and enjoying the writing process. King himself notes that “the skill necessary for creative writing comes from years of practice; the art comes from a creative imagination which is working hard and having fun” (King 195).
The relationship between thinking and writing, for King, may thereby be seen as involving the process of mastering one’s craft through the continuous development and exercise of a creative mind. Such an exercise however does not imply that the writer ought to be fully absorbed in the literary world; it also requires the writer’s recognition and observation of the events that occur within both the private and public spheres of life. King notes that the relationship between the act of writing and thinking involves a contact between the author’s mind and the mind of the reader (106-7).
Such a contact may only be achieved through the writer’s awareness of the events in world since like the characters and events within a literary text, a writer’s audience and the events surrounding his audience is continuously changing. King presents examples of how these observations have affected his works. He states, These deep interests…include how difficult it is…to close Pandora’s technobox once it’s open…; the question of why, if there is a God, such terrible things happen…; the thin line between reality and fantasy…;and most of all, the terrible attraction violence sometimes has for fundamentally good people. King 207) .In a sense, one might state that creative writing enables an individual’s discovery and knowledge of his self as it enables the individual to grapple with the fundamental issues involved in existence such as the morality of an action, the existence of moral standards, as well as other existential issues which a writer’s audience may either choose to confront or forget. Within the context of King’s explanation of creative writing as well as his explanation of the relationship between the author and the reader, it is possible to posit a view of literature as a chronicle of life.
Literature serves as a chronicle of life not in the usual sense that it presents the history of an individual or the history of a nation but in the sense that it presents humanity’s continuous discovery of its existence as well humanity’s continuous discovery of its skills. The discovery of its existence is enabled through the additional views presented by literary texts regarding the sorrows, joys, and enigmas involved in human life and the discovery of the its skills is enabled through the additional styles that have developed in the various literary texts that have been published throughout the years.

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