I have finished reading Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But it was different to what I expected.
The book is part autobiographical and part instructional, with a number of anecdotes and chapters covering some key moments in King’s life that helped form his writing and the difficulties and set backs (and successes) he had in his early writing career.
Some of the best bits i found where King’s descriptions on the anxieties he felt as a young writer trying to get his work published and start on the road to where he is now. The way he coped with rejection, using it to enforce his writing rather than hamper it, and his work ethic on how to become a writer all struck cords with me and i’m sure many other readers as well.
Overall the book is a great read, the insight into King’s early life and the latter half of the book that gave some useful tips on tightenening up your writing, making it more succint and have a greater impact was very useful too. Although it’s a bit scary when reading Kings insistance that you writers generally fall into 3 main categories bad, good and great; and ascending out of either of the bottom two is nearly impossible. Still not sure whether i wholly agree with that, but can’t think of a counter argument against it.
You don’t begrudge him his success or feel sorry for any of the harships he felt either (maybe a little when hit by a truck!), as they are all used to show how he was shaped as a writer and bacame what he was today (or was when he wrote it over a decade ago). And by the end of the book you feel like you’ve learnt something (i did anyway) and you could do worse than only coming away with King’s mantra that to become a good writer you need to read a lot and write a lot. Although i’m yet to hit his 2000 words a day target it has inspired me to concentrate my efforts more and show that despite other things in life writing can still take place and, if you’re lucky and work hard, something you’re successful at.