On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

This is one of my most favorite books, ever. I ADORE it.

I remember going to a so-called writing “Masterclass” taught by a so-called “pro.” His advice was centered around money. He told everyone to lie about how they got their writing ideas, to make it something “magical.” “And if you want to sell more books,” he said, “write from the perspective of a man. People prefer books where the main character is a man.” And I thought, That’s not how writing works! You don’t twist things to fit other people’s expectations! Where’s your integrity?!

And then reading On Writing, it was like walking out of a musty cave and into fresh air and sunshine—like discovering truth. It’s PRICELESS. King’s whole foundation is that you write because it makes you happy. You write what’s honest. Be TRUE to your story and to the characters regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Be true to the story you’re unearthing! I literally shouted, “Yes! Exactly!!” so many times while reading this book. It gave me so much hope.

I read this at a time in my life when I needed it most—funny how that happens. You know those moments that completely derail your mind, and you feel like you’ve been thrown into the middle of a deep well. And every time you try to climb out, you slip on mossy stones and fall back in. And as you’re wondering how to keep your head above water, you happen to listen to Stephen King read about how he was hit by a van. When he needed something to keep his head above the waters of pain and despair, his wife set up a space where he could write comfortably. And then you hear him say:

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”

And then you burst into tears, because you know that’s the answer you’ve been looking for. That’s how you’re going to make it. Because, as he says:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.


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