I was recently reading On Writing by Stephen King. It’s one of those books you dip in and out of and even re-read. While I love his candid style, it is something else within this book that I want to reflect on.
The importance of nurturing young minds
I have always been a reader; my earliest memories are of sitting with my head buried in a book. People would buy me books, my mum in particular bought me a huge number as gifts. I would read my favorites over and over again. I was never much of a writer when young though, and it wasn’t until I left university that I started to dabble in writing myself.
Whenever we come to the writing life, whether as a child, a young adult, or an older adult, we come to it with a measure of vulnerability.
“She (his mother) said it was good enough to be in a book. Nothing anyone has said to me since has made me feel any happier.”
~Stephen King, On Writing.
We all need someone to believe in us.
One someone is usually enough.
Someone whose opinion holds weight, whose opinion matters.
That doesn’t mean feedback should be sugar coated. It must be genuine, and better if it comes from someone who is circumspect with their praise. Most people, young or old, have an inbuilt detector for the disingenuous. False praise will fall flat, but the praise we have worked for will lift us up to a special place.
It’s also about timing. We are all vulnerable at times in our life, and that maybe when we are young like Stephen was when his mother read his first story, and it might equally be when we are older.
So, I am going to amend my above quote and say that there is an importance to nurturing all minds.
All writers are equal and different
I realize everyone is different, and that some writers might need greater nurturing than others. Some might even be comfortable with their own magnificence and need very little nurturing at all.
I think most writers are imperfect perfectionists who are never really satisfied with what they produce and are always seeking to do better.
And I think all writers need someone to believe in them. I know if someone offered me an option to have a hundred dollars or a hundred reviews from people who enjoyed my work, I would pick the reviews every time.
It doesn’t matter how many books you have written or how successful you are as a writer. Success is subjective, after all. But I love that Stephen Kings greatest source of writerly pride was getting a quarter for his first book from his mother.