Stephen King On Writing


I finished reading On Writing by Stephen King. I almost read it in one day, but because I loved it so much I savored the last quarter of the book bit by bit for more than week.

I want to take different parts of the book and discuss it with you. Before we go chronologically, here’s something from the latter part of the book that you need to know in case you don’t make it to the end.

If you’ve taken any classes on writing, you’ve heard this before. I firmly believe we can’t repeat it enough.

Context: Stephen is giving us his take on writing courses and seminars (pg. 283).

“Writing courses and seminars do offer at least one undeniable benefit: in them, the desire to write fiction or poetry is taken seriously. For aspiring writers who have been looked upon with pitying condescension by their friends or relatives. (‘You better not quit your day job just yet!’ is a popular line, usually delivered with a hideous Bob’s-yer-uncle grin), this is a wonderful thing. In writing classes, if nowhere else, it is entirely permissible to spend large chunks of your time off in your own little dreamworld.”

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and here comes the part I’m trying to get at…

“Still —do you really need permission and a hall-pass to go there? Do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word WRITER on it before you can believe you are one? God, I hope not.”

No, you don’t. I don’t either. We don’t have to claim it as our occupation on our tax forms, be published a certain number of times, nor be published by certain esteemed publications before we think we are writers. We just are. You know if it’s a part of you. You just do. What you do with it after you know is up to you.

Get out there and buy On Writing so we can talk about it together

PS. Big thanks to the BootBoyz for passing it around. It went from Chris O’Neill in London to his brother Nick. Then Sean had it and passed it to Ant. After that Chris read it and passed it to me. I’ll get it back in the loop, but first lets keep talking about it.