I think that of all the reading we’ve done this semester, Stephen King’s On Writing has been my favorite – for a lot of reasons.
I enjoyed how approachable his writing is, something that I completely did not expect from a bestselling fiction writer. King stays down-to-earth and tells it like it is, and I admire that. Granted, as a pseudo-memoir, it’s kind of expected that King will share things from his life that most of us probably didn’t know. But I find his candor in relating his addictions to be refreshing. He seems like a real person, like somebody I might bump into on the street if I lived in Maine, not a hoity-toity celebrity writer. This makes On Writing even more valuable because it shows a reader that (while not everyone will be a millionaire fiction writer) anyone with the tools and commitment to do so can be a competent, good, or even great writer. Knowing that King doesn’t have some big secret to his writing makes writing seem much more approachable to the average Joe (or Jane). Reading this book has me itching to pick up some more of King’s novels.
As others have mentioned in their blog posts, King’s emphasis on reading a lot is obviously an important one. I enjoyed his booklist and knowing that even great writers read outside of the canon. Overall, I most appreciated King’s honesty; anyone can write, but it takes knowledge, commitment, and a little smidgen of talent to make a good writer. Knowing that King struggles with writing at times, and knowing that he makes himself work through it, allows me to look at writing in another light; after all, if it isn’t easy for the masters, I can’t expect it to be easy for me. Perhaps I need to clean out the spare bedroom and create my own writing space as King suggests.