Stephen King is without a doubt one of the most prolific authors alive today. Over his decades-long career, he has written more than 60 books and sold millions of copies worldwide, firmly cementing his reputation as a master storyteller. While he is best known as the reigning champion of modern horror, King's bibliography spans a wide variety of mediums and genres, ranging from horror to fantasy, from short fiction to screenplays to one (admittedly rather disturbing) children's book.
I'm writing today's post to recommend a different kind of King book, one that has served—and continues to serve—me greatly in my writing career. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is an absolute must-read for both new and experienced writers. Though it is billed as a memoir, it is also a high-level writing guide that provides invaluable insight into the mind of one of the most successful authors in history.
I'm always picky about recommending guidebooks to my coaching clients. There's a tendency for them to push a one-size-fits all approach to the writing process, which has always struck me as counterintuitive—after all, everyone has their own brand of creativity and must find the approach that works best for them. However, I make an exception here, because King never touts his book as anything other than what it is: a deconstruction of his own philosophy and journey to success, complete with candid commentary on his struggles with loss and substance abuse.
On Writing is broken into five sections discussing mechanics, style, audience, feedback, revisions, and the importance of building a regular writing practice... all alongside King's poignant reflections on his relationship with the craft. The great thing about the book is that it's not just a rehash of other writing guides. King's suggestions are accessible, owing to his signature down-to-earth style, and easy to implement. He has a knack for imparting encouragement and inspiration, rather than just telling new writers what to do. He's funny, too. There's an honesty and self-deprecation to the way he writes that makes On Writing a pleasure to work through, rather than a chore.
No matter if you're a seasoned storyteller or just starting out, King's book is great to have on hand, especially if you find yourself struggling to make writing a consistent part of your life. I've been writing for over a decade, and I still find myself turning back to my battered copy whenever I hit a creative roadblock or get lost in the proverbial weeds. Whether you're looking for a practical, no-nonsense guide to the craft or a reminder of the transformative power of words and stories, On Writing is a worthwhile addition to your arsenal.
Until next time,
The Born Storyteller
This post wasn't sponsored. I just really like Stephen King.