There are some books on writing that teach you more than just writing, Stephen King’s On writing is one of those. I stumbled across this book a few years ago and dutifully bought myself a copy, where it lived on my bookshelf (with a few others of its kind) just collecting dust. Last year I decided to get serious about my writing – and learn more about the craft.
The hype around the book is true, King has created a masterclass into some of his key points about writing and has given the reader an insight into his writing career. Through the highs and the lows of his life.
You sometimes forget that even King had to start somewhere – I particularly appreciated the way kept his rejections letters as a reminder.
I know there have been various posts on why this book is a must read for King fans and for writers – I will caveat this as this advice may not be suited to you. There is no right or wrong way to write- as long as you write.
The top three points that resonated with me- trust me, this was a hard pick, and to be truthful, this points work for me now. The next time I re-read this book, other points may jump out.
- Write with the door closed.
Give yourself time to create your world. Don’t worry about the rejections and the judgments that you are continuously imagining. That comes later. It will not be perfect, but you can’t edit a blank page.
- Have an ideal reader.
Not everyone will love your writing. You will have people who wont like your genre, your characterisations or your plot. It is not your job to be a people pleaser. I adored the fact the King’s ideal reader is his wife Tabby, and that she critiques his work.
3. Write, write write, read, read, read.
Do you have a draw full of half finished manuscripts and stories? It was only when I did my recent move (with my parents urging me to take the last of my boxes) that I realised I had a handful of notebooks with half written stories a reminder of how I had spent my teenage years. It also reminded me of why I wanted to write. Daydreaming about far away worlds and kickass heroines was a big part of my childhood. And who doesn’t love losing themselves into someone else’s world.
Have you read On Writing? Do you have any takeaway points?