Stephen King’s ON WRITING


By Pattie Beaven

When I was told about Stephen King’s writing memoir, I ignored the suggestion to read it. Stephen King isn’t my typical genre. I’ve never read his books, and even his fantasy series “The Dark Tower” doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

But when a respected blogger and founder of Optimize Me website, Brian Johnson, gave a Philosopher Note for King’s book, I started paying attention. Brian doesn’t review just any book for his site, he recommends the best life-changing books. So I was curious. What could it hurt to listen to King talk about his journey as a writer?

It didn’t hurt. Not at all. In fact, I have a whole new respect for King, even though I’m still not likely to run out and grab his books off the library shelf and start reading. One may not like King’s work personally, but writers will all agree Stephen King is widely successful, perhaps one of the most successful living writers of our time. So, while you may not read his work, aspiring writers would do well to listen to his advice and his struggles.

King starts his memoir by giving us a background on his life. You know, I’m still not sure how true his poison ivy story is, but it did bring him back down to my level. He was not born a bestselling author. He has made mistakes, he has fears and anxiety. He has felt pain. I can appreciate that.

His advice is quite sound, though. Towards the end of the book, King tells us “You don’t need writing classes or seminars any more than you need this or any other book on writing….You learn the craft through living…You learn the most by reading a lot and writing a lot. The most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

So take it from a well-known writer. Keep up the work. Find your space, your groove, your muse. Get to work and pursue your dream- whether that’s to just finish your story, share it with family and friends, or get published and share your book with the world.

You may not learn the magic secrets of writing by reading books or attending workshops (apparently there aren’t any magic secrets, anyways). But in the process, you will enjoy life and may find something to write about. And isn’t that what we are all about? Encouraging ourselves and inspiring ourselves to keep our sanity while we trudge through the process of being a writer?

Whether you find yourself reading King or Kingsolver, get inspired by our favorites and let their success drive you forward.


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