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Top 16 Stephen King Quotes To Inspire Everyone

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Top 16 Stephen King Quotes To Inspire Everyone

I first became interested in Stephen King not by reading his novels, but by reading his book On Writing. I was in my late 20s and finishing up my bachelor’s degree in education. I had an English minor with one more composition class to take. To fulfill this requirement, I found myself in a creative writing class.

I wrote to my heart’s content in that class, until I finally confessed in my journal that I had always wanted to be a writer but was talked out of it. That was when my professor gave me Stephen King’s book to read and I eagerly devoured it. I learned then that King has a lot of wisdom for aspiring writers, but the truth is that he also has a lot of relevant quotes for everyone.

The quotes that I am about to share can be found—with many other words of wisdom from Stephen King—on the Chris Jones Blog, Positive Writer, and Brainy Quote. Here are some of my favorite Stephen King quotes:

1. “I have spent a good many years since―too many, I think―being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or 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.”

This quote speaks about writing, but it also says a great deal about the lack value that society sees in escapism. Reading fiction is an escape. It can be a much more vibrant escape than watching television or movies, and a much healthier escape than drugs or alcohol. There are times when all of us need a break from the world, to give our minds a rest. A great novel can do just that.

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2. “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

This is an excellent quote, because, again, it speaks to the value of fiction. We often think of fiction as “just stories,” but every story tells a lesson about life. Often, the messages behind the stories that we read are more powerful truths than anything we read in the newspaper.

3. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.”

Stephen King said some wonderful things about writing, and this quote is especially powerful. Writing is first and foremost about the writer. It is a need that a person has, and it is a passion that enriches the writer’s life. Of course, this has the fringe benefit of bringing growth and happiness that is contagious. When we read something that is written from the heart, we can’t help but be changed by it.

4. “Let me say it again: You must not come lightly to the blank page.”

This quote is about writing, but it applies to all of life. It is about acting with intention.  We should think about what we are doing at all times and move with a purpose. So often we travel through life mindlessly, and in doing so we miss out on the opportunity to create something amazing.

5. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

Many times in life, we find ourselves standing on the diving board, ready to jump into the pool. This moment before we jump is terrifying. Once we begin, once we start taking steps toward our goal, it is much less scary.

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6. “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Again, starting is half the battle. Being willing to take that leap is the move that takes the most courage. After doing that, persevering through obstacles is nothing. If you are willing to take the leap and willing to never give up, you will eventually experience success.

7. “Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”

Failure is such an arbitrary and meaningless concept. Who decides what constitutes a failure or a mere setback? We are ultimately the ones who declare “failure,” and we definitely have the option see things differently. If we view failure as yet another obstacle to overcome, learn from whatever went wrong, then get back up and try, we will be once more on the road to success.

8.  “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”

The only monsters that exist live inside us. They are those voices in our minds that tell us we can’t do it, that we aren’t good enough. They are the voices that compare us to others, the voices that become jealous. But, what we don’t understand is that these voices are saying what they do in misunderstanding. If we clear up the misunderstandings that our minds have, then the monsters will never win.

9. “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

Art exists because of life, but art also influences and enriches life. The goal of anyone who creates is to make something that will challenge the views of the person seeing it. Sometimes, this is a comfortable experience, and sometimes it is not. If something that has been created causes you to feel anything—joy, happiness, sadness, or even anger—then the creator has done their job.

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10. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

When you want to do something, the key is to just get up and do it. So many people have great ideas for starting businesses, writing books, creating websites, and more. And so many of these people have not even taken the first step toward making their vision a reality. The perfect moment will never come. The key is to just get started anyway.

11. “Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

Persevering is key in life. There will be days when you don’t want to get out of bed, when you are in the mood to just walk away from it all. But to be successful, you have to keep moving. On these days, the answer is to focus deeply on what needs to be done and just keep taking one step after another.

12. “The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.”

There is a danger in being too trusting, in not questioning all that you see and hear. Not everything that is published is gospel truth, and not every word that is spoken on television should be believed. The most vulnerable people are those who are easily misled. Take the time to check the facts, and question everything that does not seem right to you.

13. “Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.”

We all want to protect those we love. Sometimes, that means telling white lies, or even larger lies, in an effort to keep them from getting upset. This is how relationships work, and it is our expectation. Sometimes, it takes an “enemy”—someone who senses no duty to protect your feelings—to tell the cold, hard truth. Hearing the truth can be a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes it is what we need to hear. Sometimes that wake-up call comes from the most unlikely of sources.

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14. “The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings — words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.”

Words are powerful, but there are so many experiences that defy explanation. Explaining to someone how much you love them, expressing condolences, or advocating for a cause you believe in can be extremely difficult, because finding the right words to convey the passion that is in your heart is nearly impossible. As incredible a tool as language is, it can’t come close to expressing the experiences that make up this thing that we call life.

15. “We make up horrors to help us deal with the real ones.”

Fiction is escapism. We read and we create in order to help us escape from the challenges in life, and sometimes we choose to read and write tragic and horrific stories to help us deal with the horrible events that occur in reality. It doesn’t matter how difficult or easy our lives may seem on the outside, the truth is that each one of us has lived through the worst experience that we have even seen. All we have is our experience, and sometimes taking our mind off it can help us to cope and to process.

16.  “A lot of us grow up and we grow out of the literal interpretation that we get when we’re children, but we bear the scars all our life. Whether they’re scars of beauty or scars of ugliness, it’s pretty much in the eye of the beholder.”

Nobody gets through life unscathed. We are all affected by our experiences, and we develop vulnerabilities and misunderstandings as a result. We can choose to see ourselves as “damaged,” or we can choose to see ourselves as survivors who are learning and growing everyday. Whether our scars are physical or emotional, we can choose to see them as scars of beauty, rather than as scars of ugliness.

Everybody has a great deal to teach about life, if we are willing to learn the lessons. Stephen King teaches not only through his stories, but also through the wisdom that he shares directly. I am grateful that I read that book in college, and that I chose to learn the lessons found within.

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Featured photo credit: Public Domain Pictures via publicdomainpictures.net

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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