Why Stephen King Felt Ashamed

Miss Hisler summoned Stephen King to the principal’s office because he had written and sold a horror story to his classmates. He earned over nine dollars in one day. Each copy went for twenty-five cents.

Miss Hisler rebuked the young author for writing trash and made him give all the money back.

“What I don’t understand, Stevie,” she said, “Is why you’d write junk like this in the first place. You’re talented. Why do you want to waste your abilities?”

Image of a sad puppy.

"What I don't understand, Stevie," she said, "Is why you'd write junk like this in the first place. You're talented. Why do you want to waste your abilities?"

“She had rolled up a copy of V.I.B. #1 (V.I.B. stood for very important book) and was brandishing it at me the way a person might brandish a rolled-up newspaper at a dog that had piddled on the rug. She waited for me to answer. To her credit the question was not entirely rhetorical, but I had no answer to give.”

“I was ashamed. I have spent a good many years since, too many I think, being ashamed about what I write.”

“I think I was 40 before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”

That summer vacation Stephen published an original story and sold 40 copies or so. He says in a way he won. “But in my heart, I stayed ashamed. I kept hearing Miss Hisler ask why I wanted to waste my talent. Why I wanted to waste my time? Why I wanted to write junk?”

From, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” by Stephen King.

How will you make someone believe in themself today?

Over 350 million copies of King’s books have been sold. Several have been made into movies: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Misery, and It, for example.