Despite being published 12 years ago, Stephen King: On Writing remains a compass and road map to every pencil-wielding, Starbuck’s-visting, laptop-carrying, self proclaimed wordsmith of varying degree. There exists within every page a refreshing volume of honesty; an amount which may have proven (and still prove) to be far too…well, honest, for some.
Unrestrained by ego or ill-will, Stephen King holds nothing back in admitting the struggles of any who choose to make sense of their world through words, and yet in recounting his past reveals the joys and plausibility of a life spent doing just that.
A mini-biography of sorts, the life of Stephen King was, in the early days, not nearly as grand as any who’ve read his fiction may envision. The arduos challenges, some comical and others dismal, which he reflects upon are entirely human in their vulnerability, and as a reader I found myself experiencing fleeting echoes of what he may have felt; the joy of a father unable to afford medicine for his sick child coming home to an unexpected paycheck/publishing; excitement at the phone call which finally propelled him into the spotlight; pity and pain when, years later, a van nearly took his life.
By all accounts, I am a fan. That much is clear I’m sure. What I mean to get at specifically is exactly what I’ve said in the title of this post: If you write, you read, and you should read this. As one who writes daily I’m forever grateful for the pointing out of weaker areas in my own work, like taking a college course from your favorite professor for all of $16.
If you’ve read and enjoyed any of Stephen King’s work, are interested in what made him who he is, or are looking for an entertaining way to learn how to better your craft, I implore you to pick up a copy of On Writing for yourself.
“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing…the more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.” –Stephen King, On Writing (pg. 150)