Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing: A Memoir Of The CraftOn Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was gifted to me on my birthday last March by a friend of mine who said: “I know you’re already a published writer, but I heard this book is very good and you might learn something from it?”
To answer that question: “Yes, I did learn a thing or two by reading this book.”

On Writing is essentially a three-parter. First Stephen King tells us his entire life’s story, up to the moment where he had a terrible accident. To be fair, I knew little about Stephen King’s personal life. It was quite a story, and I loved it, every bit of it. It just made him seem so much more human. Usually we have a way of romanticising celebrities, thinking they’re living the easy life. This was definitely not the case for Stephen King. His struggle with alcoholism, and making a living early in his life. It was open and honest. It was as if you were sitting in the same room with him as he opened his heart to me, the reader. I loved it.

The second part of the book concerned itself with tips for writers. The part I was originally given this book for. I have to admit that I learned a lot from it. I even made some notes, so I won’t forget. The good thing is, now, whenever I’m writing, I constantly remind myself of some of the rules and advice that I was given from this lovely book. It’s sound advice, and I believe any (aspiring) writer will at least pick up a few things by reading this.

There was one thing that struck me as a little odd, however, somewhere in this part of the book Stephen King says: “You don’t need writing classes or seminars any more than you need this or any other book on writing.” When I read that sentence I was thrown off-guard for a minute. Here I was, reading this book on writing, only to be told that it’s basically all bollocks and I should probably follow my heart? I just thought it was weird to state something like that. Other than that, I loved every single bit of advice and I’ve taken most of it to heart.

The last part of the book is all about Stephen’s accident and how he managed to survive and overcome it. It’s a great relief to me that he still lives, because he will continue to inspire others, like me to continue down this road to becoming the writer we wish to be. I know I’m most certainly inspired by it.

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