OK, before she vanished my critique partner recommended that I read On Writing by Stephen King. That was the best thing anyone’s told me in like, years.
The book is phenomenal. It’s helped my writing soo much, I would recommend that anyone hoping to make a career of the written word read it.
Before I started reading it I wasn’t writing much of anything. I was mostly drinking and whining about how I should be writing and wasn’t, hence this charming little pot belly I’ve acquired. But my main drinking buddy has also vanished, and the whole wine drinking at home after work thing got old too, so all that was left was, you guessed it, the writing.
Enter this book. I’m going to gush now, so if that’s abhorrent, click away. King has given me a new perspective, new energy, it’s miraculous. I’ve done some really good work in the past week. More than I’ve done in the past month probably. He’s taken something that was torturing me – ok I was torturing myself but you know what I mean – and given me my joy back. I’ve chopped and chopped and reorganized and chopped some more. It’s felt really, really, really good.
And the killing part about it is the messages he conveys are nothing new. It’s all stuff any reasonably intelligent writer already knows, but the way that he says things, you just want to be better: Down with adverbs! Don’t be self-indulgent, get your writing regimen together and stick to it, plot is overrated (I KNEW that! Right?) read read read. Trust me, that little list isn’t one tenth as impactful as the lessons to be found in these pages. He takes writing very seriously, but doesn’t seem to take himself that seriously. There is no pretention, it’s all about the story. As he shares the lessons he’s learned he relays his own progression as a writer turning the book into a biography/textbook. And his story is just as compelling as the lessons.
He likens being a writer to being an excavator, carefully using every tool in his or her box to dig out hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered.
I adore it. Horror is not my thing, but I may get a few of his books from the library and read them. If he’s had this much of an impact on me just talking about writing, I shudder to think what I might do after actually reading some of his!