A finished book is deceptive. It’s neat and tidy and all bundled up with a beautiful cover. What us struggling artists don’t see are the hours of doubt that went into its creation.
The hours of doubt are hidden in every work of art. As creators, we either learn to work through those doubts, or we crumple up the sheet of paper and toss it in bin — giving up entirely.
When Stephen King was writing Carrie, he did exactly that. He typed up three pages. Then, he realized he didn’t like the story; he didn’t like the main character; and he worried he didn’t know how to write from a woman’s point of view.
So, he threw his pages away. When he got home from work that night, he found his wife Tabby had rooted through the trash, read the pages and fallen in love with them. “You’ve got something here,” she said. “I really think you do.”
King would go on to finish the novella. It got rejected by 30 publishers before landing at Doubleday. King’s $2,500 advance was enough for him to put a down payment on a Ford Pinto and move his family from a trailer into an apartment.
The hours of doubt nearly destroyed a book that went on to sell more than a million copies and launched the career of one of America’s most famous writers.
Our task is learning how to suffer through those hours. There is no question they will come. The only question is whether we can rise to meet them.
This week’s top literary events
MONDAY: Ohio Spirits. October 17, 2016 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm, Dayton Metro Library – Northwest Branch, 2410 Philadelphia Dr, Dayton, OH 45406. Author Jim Kleefeld will bring antiques and artifacts and share tales about The Golden Lamb, The Mansfield Reformatory, the Franklin Castle and other local places where people have reported strange and ghostly occurrences. More.
MONDAY: James Balog. October 17, 2016 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, University Of Dayton Kennedy Union Ballroom, College Park Avenue, Dayton, OH. A decorated photographer, avid mountaineer, and climate change researcher, Balog is the founder of the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most wide-ranging photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. All UD Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. No tickets required, but seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking is available in B and C lots only. Parking in any other campus lot requires a permit. More.
WEDNESDAY: Breaking bad writing with ‘Breaking Bad’ class kickoff with Katrina Kittle, $165. October 19, 2016 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Starbucks, 2424 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419. One of the most critically acclaimed series ever produced, Breaking Bad unfolds like a great novel. Much about the craft of fiction can be learned from studying this five-season, ground-breaking, multi-award winning show. Each night of this five-week course, we will view and focus on an iconic scene from the show, and will use those scenes to dissect and discuss the brilliant use of dialogue, character arc, symbolism, foreshadowing, character voice, and amazing lessons in plot—how to start and finish a scene, how to end a “chapter,” and more. Wednesdays through 11/16/16. More.
WEDNESDAY: Open Mic Story Slam, $5. October 19, 2016 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Wiley’s Comedy Joint, 101 Pine St, Dayton, OH 45402. We follow The Moth story slam rules. 5-6 minutes, true stories, told in the first person and related to our monthly theme. October’s theme is Campfire Stories. Tell us your story about camping, outdoors, fall or sitting around the campfire. No story to share, bring a friend, grab a drink and enjoy great true stories told live by other folks. Cash bar. More.
THURSDAY: Readings for National Day on Writing. October 20, 2016 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Sinclair Community College Library, 444 W 3rd St, Dayton, OH 45402. Hear readings from Flights, Sinclair’s literary journal (from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.), and hear selected readings from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize fiction and non-fiction finalists (from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.). More.
THURSDAY: Celebrate National Day on Writing. Tweet why you write with the hashtag #WhyIWrite\Dayton on Twitter.
THURSDAY TEEN EVENT: NaNoWriMo Prep. October 20, 2016 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – Brookville Branch, 120 Blue Pride Dr, Brookville, OH 45309. Determined to give National Novel Writing Month a try? This Katrina Kittle workshop will give you a clear roadmap for your novel!
SATURDAY: Dayton Ghosts. October 22, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – Northwest Branch, 2410 Philadelphia Dr, Dayton, OH 45406. Join us as author Karen Laven recounts her experiences while researching local haunted places for her book Dayton Ghosts. Karen is also the author of Cincinnati Ghosts and Other Tri-State Haunts and has also authored or co-authored nine books. She has also been an actress on stage, TV, cable, and in feature films. More.
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