Rest is an important part of any writer’s routine.
In the new issue of WSJ. Magazine, iconic horror author Stephen King talks about his new TV adaptation of his book Lisey’s Story, and shares details about the day in the life of a novelist.
“I usually get about six hours a night, sometimes seven. But I also try to take a nap in the afternoon, about an hour,” he says of his sleep schedule. “So I’m going to say I get maybe seven and a half hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.”
Asked if he’s a coffee or tea person, King reveals, “I’m a Diet Pepsi drinker. I drink tea. I hate coffee, so I don’t do coffee. I usually have something to drink close at hand. It might be a Diet Pepsi or it might be just water, that LaCroix water, you know, that has the bubbles in it.”
He also reveals that he’s much more of a morning person when it comes to working.
“It’s always mornings. If I’m under the gun, I can work later in the day,” he says. “But my sweet spot is from 8:30 in the morning to 12:30 in the afternoon. I feel really good at that time. I’ve usually had a walk by then, treadmill, something like that, to get the endorphins flowing a little bit. And then I feel good to go.”
King also talks about adapting his own book for the Apple TV+ miniseries “Lisey’s Story”, starring Julianne Moore.
“I love that book. I held onto it. There were offers to do it as a film or as a limited series in the earlier days of Netflix. The issue would come up, and I always said no because I wanted to do it myself if I could, if the time seemed right for that,” he says.
“The streaming thing is so wonderful because there are no ads to break the mood, to break the dramatic build of the story with dancing toilet bowls or something like that. And you don’t have to cut the thing perfectly so that it fits in a little 42-minute box so the next show can come up,” King adds. “You’re given a little more space, a little more room. I love that, I thought it would be a perfect medium for Lisey. And that’s the way it turned out in my humble opinion, as they say, IMHO.”
Asked about what gets him excited while writing stories, King says, “I’m trying to think of what it was with Lisey’s Story… I’ll tell you what it was. I had pneumonia. It was serious, and I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks with it, and I almost died. And my wife decided once she knew that I was going to get better that she was going to redo my office and clean it out completely and reconfigure the furnishings and everything, so I’d have a nice place to come back to.”
He adds, “When I came back, that work wasn’t done, and I was very shaky on my feet and skinny and still taking various medications and trying to get better. And she said to me, ‘Don’t go up there, you won’t like it.’ So of course, I went up there… and I looked around at this big empty room and I thought, This is what it would be like if I died. Everything would be cleaned out. That was really the kernel of the story.”