Writers are endlessly telling stories, but hearing (or in this case, reading) a writer tell his own story about his journey as an author is a different kind of adventure. It makes my own aspirations seem so much more achievable. No one ever sits us down to tell us “this is how it’s done.” Short of an MFA, hearing a writer say, “this is how I did it” is as good as it’s ever going to get.
On Writing is divided into two major parts. Stephan King begins by telling us the story of his own beginning as a writer and then continues the second half by sharing what he refers to as The Toolbox; the practices he has implemented into his writing technique along the way. There are so many things I learned from this book, but I’ll only share my greatest take away; the rest you’ll have to discover when you read it for yourself.
Stephen King shares the love he had for the tales that inspired him as kid and how they eventually led to the creation of his own stories. By eleven, he was reading, watching, writing, and submitting sci-fi. King has always been a writer, even if he wasn’t always a very successful one. He started sharing and submitting his work so early that he tells of a magazine editor coming to one of his book signings with a story that King had submitted as a young boy that had been rejected by the publication. The editor had kept it and twenty years later he was asking the now well-celebrated author to autograph it for him.
Where was I at eleven? Until I read King’s own story, I had lost sight of it. I was the weird little girl who took her diaries and journals to sleepovers and camp outs. I wonder where all those old journals will end up in twenty years.
Who knew that a little bit of me could relate to a little bit of Stephen King? This book reminded me that it’s in there somewhere. Whatever it is, I’ve got it; that writer magic.
Who should read this book? Anyone who needs to reach in deep and rediscover their inner storyteller, anyone who needs to remember why they write, and anyone who wants know if they’ve got what it takes needs to grab a copy of On Writing.