The author also discussed her challenges as a woman writing in a predominantly male genre. “As a surrealist writer, being female isn’t always a picnic,” confessed King. She reflected on years of being mislabeled by publishers, undervalued, and rejected for being too strange or not romantic enough for a female writer: “Apparently my work wouldn’t be as hard to shelve if I thought like women are supposed to think, as if the marriage of my brain and my hands is somehow rerouted through my glands.”
After fifteen years of rejection, King was finally published. Though praise has followed, King insists financial success and glory have never been her motivators. “This is a hard business, but the goal is ultimately to write more books, to make more art, to stay focused on what’s important, to continue to meet my own goals, to reach out," she explained. "And encourage people to share their stories too—that’s a big one.”
King's advice to young writers in the audience was simple: make writing a priority. "I am always writing," said King. "Writing makes me happy," she explained. "I’m a better mother, a better friend, a better writer, and a better person when I’m happy."
Write often, encouraged the celebrated author. Pantsing is one way to do it, said King, but it doesn't work for everyone. "No one writes a book the same way as anybody else," she maintained. "Find what works for you, and write."
King closed her address by revealing what inspires her: “I want to give people a part of myself. I want to write books that come to me. I want to help other people." She put it simply: "That’s what makes me happy.”