on writing

June 11, 2008

Reading On Writing feels like I just sat down for a beer with Stephen King and had a conversation about writing. I didn’t say much. I just listened as he unloaded his heart, experience, and knowledge right off the page. Of course, he doesn’t seem to drink beer anymore, and I never acquired a taste for the stuff, so the steins are sitting untouched. But otherwise it feels just like that.

Writing is a very personal experience, and you can’t escape that as you read this book. King didn’t just mail in a transcript with some advice for the aspiring writer — he is present in the words. The book begins with a memoir of how he was shaped as a writer even as a child. It ends with a reflection on how writing help him recover from a horrible accident as he was writing this book. Sandwiched in between, he writes about writing in a way that comes from his very self.

I won’t ever be Stephen King…or even the next Stephen King. But it is motivating to read the thoughts of an artist as he describes his craft. No matter what your medium is, I’d recommend On Writing as it shows the soul of an artist at work.

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