Over the past few years, I’ve read countless books—what can I say? I love reading. Being a writer, (albeit off the grid for a couple years,) lots of those books have been centered around the craft of writing. I’ve read some good ones, some bad ones, and some that fall somewhere in between. But one book stands above the rest without comparison. It shines out of the bookshelf. Seriously. I was considering fitting a spotlight, but this book gives off its own golden glow so I figured I’d save the money…
It took rejection, trouble, small successes, big successes, and nearly being killed by a truck, to get to us, but we sure are glad it did! The book I’m talking about is ‘On Writing: A Memoire of The Craft’ by Stephen King, and today we’re gonna take a look at why every writer should own a copy.
Putting The Fun Back into Writing
Part writing guide, part biography, Stephen King delivers entertaining stories about his childhood, gifting us an intimate look at the kind of experiences that shaped the writer we see today. He builds up from his earliest memories, through his high school years, to his not-so-fulfilling cleaning, journalist, and teaching positions.
We see first hand the kind of binds a passion for writing can land you in. Throughout his journey he’s experienced praise, turmoile, trouble—genuinely funny stories about him getting into trouble—and bleeding out in a helicopter with a collapsed lung and multiple broken bones. But in the face of it all, what we see more than anything, is the love of writing that pulled him onward through it all. The drive to create that outshines everything else. This book is inspirational without trying to be, and it reminds us that writers are writers because they want to be. Because they have to be.
The Writers Toolbox
Through a charming story about his uncle Oren’s toolbox, King highlights the most important tools we as writers have at our disposal. He explains that while carrying the entire toolbox to a simple job may be more tiresome than just taking the one tool, you must always be prepared for the unseen. To be able to deal with whichever other job may pop up around the original job. As a tradesman myself, I can relate to this so much. The amount of times I’ve quickly grabbed my screwdriver just to find out that I really could’ve done with my hammer too is uncountable. It’s infuriating, and bad practice.
Of course he’s not talking about an actual toolbox, but the point is just as clear. As writers, there are a few different levels within our box, and on those different levels are the different tools we call upon in writing. Vocabulary, style, grammar, plot, theme, moral, etc. Not every story will use them all, and of course we shouldn’t try to use all of our tools simply because we have them, but most will use a combination of at least a couple. King perfectly delivers how and when to use them, alongside a plethora of entertaining examples and stories.
An Inside Look
Throughout the book, King delivers an insiders view of the industry, the commitments, and the life. Through his own experiences he offers not only the process of breaking into the market, but inspires you through his love for storytelling. His story is one of blind passion, of an easy commitment to his craft.
In the writing world, It’s easy to get bogged down by what we have to do. I have to post to my blog, I have to revise this chapter, I have to present this to social media. King reminds us of the simpler ‘have-to’s’ of the craft—I have to tell a story.—while sharing his own writing routines and rituals to help us hone our skills and get our thoughts down on paper.
During the reading of this book, you’ll have a blast. It’s funny, moving, and inspiring. You’ll feel something you’ve not felt, or learn something you’ve never learned. You’ll get to the end and want to immediately go back to the beginning to start it again. You’ll laugh out loud in the middle of whatever you’re doing—which is always fun in a medical waiting room—and share paragraphs and chapters with your friends and family. You’ll put the book back on the shelf, and every time you walk by it, you’ll see it. You’ll remember something from it, and you’ll laugh, or feel inspired, and every inch of you will want to pull it back out and open it up again.
Why You Need to Get This Book
I know the whole ‘invest in yourself’ cliche has grown tiresome recently, especially due to the influx of the self-help and coaching industry. I am gonna have to use it here though. I recommend lots of books on writing. But this is the only one you HAVE to own. I can wholeheartedly promise that this book will change your life, the way you write, and the way you approach writing forever. So invest in yourself!
You can buy Stephen King’s excellent On Writing from Amazon by clicking the following link. These links are affiliate links, and help to support the growth and sustainability of this site.
UK Buyers: purchase On Writing here
US Buyers: purchase On Writing here
Have you read On Writing? Let the readers know what you thought of it in the comments below.
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