In 1973, Stephen King was a struggling writer on the brink of giving up.
He was living in a doublewide trailer in Hermon, Maine with his wife Tabitha and two little kids.
He was driving a worn-down Buick on its last legs.
Although he aspired to be an author, he hadn’t published any books. He was teaching English at a prep school – a position which left him little energy and time to write outside of school.
Tabitha didn’t have it any better. She was working at a Dunkin’ Donuts.
To make ends meet, King took on extra jobs during the summers, working at an industrial laundromat and as a janitor and gas pump attendant.
Hard to imagine the “King of Horror” cleaning toilet bowls as a janitor. But it happened.
Frustrated, King reportedly threw early pages from a new novel he was working on into the trash.
“I couldn’t see wasting two weeks, maybe even a month, creating a novella I didn’t like and wouldn’t be able to sell,” King wrote in his memoir On Writing. “So I threw it away … After all, who wanted to read a book about a poor girl with menstrual problems?”
Tabitha came home from work, saw the pages in the trash, and fished them out. She encouraged him to keep going. And he did.
That manuscript racked up 30 rejections from publishers. One of them wrote, “‘We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”
But he kept going. Eventually, he found a publisher. Those pages became King’s first published book, Carrie, which sold over 4 million copies in paperback and put him on the map.
Winners Find a Way
There’s a simple difference between the winners in life and the losers.
The winners make it work. [Click to tweet.]
When faced with a barrier or friction or speed bump, winners find a way to make it work rather than making up excuses for why it won’t.
Stephen King had ample opportunities to give up with his first novel. But he didn’t. [Read more…]