On Medium and any other platform.
Everything I read and consumed in this week fit into one theme: How everything is useful for you, fuel for. So let’s talk about that. In particular let’s talk about how:
You Will Use It All.
I found this idea in Stephen King’s On Writing, which I read this week because seemingly every writer I know had. King relays an anecdote about getting all these rejections slips as a young writer from magazines where he’d looked to publish his short stories. The rejections piled up so high that he quit pinning them to his wall and eventually drove a large nail through to better accommodate the notes that said, “Sorry we’ll pass.”
He thought he could defy these notes: I’ll prove you all wrong! Instead he learned to channel the despair he felt when he stared at the rejection slips into a vulnerability on the page, which his new characters embodied. Soon after, his first stories were accepted.
Kate Winslet’s insecurities led her to an opposition conclusion. When she was young and breaking into London’s acting scene she did so amid classically trained performers whose education far outpaced Winslet’s. Her beauty had afforded her roles, in, say, Titanic, but that beauty had deprived her of knowing how to act after the filming stopped. She didn’t know how to turn acting into a career.She could have channeled her insecurities into on-screen vulnerability, doing in her way what Stephen King did in his medium. Instead, she noticed something else.
A lot of the classically trained actors around her thought that because their education had ended, they need not learn more. Winslet could use that to her advantage. She vowed to stay the student, forever the student. And as she told Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, that vow has made all the difference in her career.
Now, you may say, Great, Paul. But aren’t your tips and stories meant for longform nonfiction writers? What does a novelist and an actor have to do with me?
Well, we start out in this field thinking we should tell the stories which impress our bosses or readers. These may be feats of profile writing or investigative reporting but ask yourself: Do…