#437 Stephen King’s Spikes

Hammering Rejection to the Wall

In our last +1, we talked about my new railroad spike. (You get your own yet? And, most importantly: Have you hammered away at your #1 most wildly important goal yet today?)

Did you know that Stephen King liked spikes as well? Yep.

We’re going to talk about the teenage-version of King and the big spike on his bedroom wall.

But, first, pop quiz: Do you know how many copies his books have sold? What would you guess?

How about 350 MILLION (!!!) copies.


Yes. Stephen King has written over 50 books and has sold over 350 million copies of those books.

WOW. Crazy, eh?

So… On to Today’s +1.

Let’s rewind the clock a bit. Let’s imagine Stephen King as a teenager—way before he sold ANYTHING. Let’s see him hammering away on his typewriter in his bedroom. Now, I’m not sure if he had acne as a teenager, but I’m going to imagine that he did. He definitely had nerdy glasses. And, maybe he skipped his last shower. Yep. I can see him now. (You?)

Now, take your eyes up from our young Stephen King banging away on his typewriter and look up at his wall.


What is THAT hanging on his wall?!

Zoom in and notice that there’s a SPIKE up there on the wall.

A spike? Yep. A spike.

Kinda like the railroad spike I have on my windowsill. Only King’s spike is hammered to the wall and it appears to be holding a bunch of papers in place.

Let’s zoom in even further.

What kind of papers would our young hero want to hammer to the wall of his bedroom?

Oh, my. Wow. Really?

Those are REJECTION letters?


In his epic autobiographical how-to masterpiece called On Writing, King tells us that he hammered rejection letters to his wall with a nail. Until the nail “wouldn’t support the weight of the rejections slips impaled upon it.” Then, he says, “I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”

Who DOES that?

A kid with a growth mindset committed to mastering his craft.

The kind of guy who would get so good at that craft that he’d sell 350 million copies of his books.

All of which leads us to the point of Today’s +1.

Have you ever been rejected in your life? (Hah. Welcome to humanity.)

What if you metaphorically hammered those rejections up to your wall and kept on getting at it? Baring those scars, as Paulo Coelho would say, like MEDALS.

Seriously. What would your life be like if you REALLY (!!!) saw that “failure” was the price of admission to doing great work and creating a masterpiece life?


Let’s get back to work.

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