The Pageturner: Stephen King Delivers Knowledge “On Writing”
October 11, 2019
I first picked up “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King because Lori Vincent, AP Language Arts teacher, did a book talk on it during the class I peer facilitate in. She said she enjoyed it and, as I had never read anything by Stephen King, I found myself more tempted to read the book each day.
The beginning took me a bit of time to understand. I had to go back and read multiple parts over until they clicked. But, once I gained an understanding of what King was saying, I became submerged in the book and reveled in every word.
The memoir is broken up into multiple fragments, which makes total sense to me because he gives a lot of information on how he transformed into the writer he is today, his life as a writer and even his struggles as a writer.
A writer myself, seeing King’s transparency regarding his struggles gave me an odd sense of contentment with my own.
One of my favorite sections of the book is an excerpt about a “writing toolbox” he has built for himself and encourages the readers to do as well. He got the idea from a literal toolbox that his uncle carried around when King was a child.
I found this part particularly interesting because I had never thought about needing my own “writing toolbox,” but, once King addressed it, it made sense to me. I realized that I definitely need to constantly keep this on my mind as I write.
The writing toolbox is not the only helpful technique that King suggests using. For the remainder of the book, King talks about things like writing style, dialogue, the writing process as a whole. He also gives a few tips on things to do that can make you a better writer.
Overall the book was brimming with knowledge that I now see myself referring back to in order to make my writing better as I go along.
However, I will be completely transparent here. The book took me a long time to read. As someone who can usually finish a book in a two or three days, reading “On Writing” for nearly four weeks was not normal for me.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” King said.
There were plenty of times that I thought I could not finish the book because I became so overwhelmed with what King was saying. It was not that what he was saying was wrong or bad, his words simply held so much information that it sent my brain into overdrive.
So I compromised with myself (yes, you read that correctly) and decided to take breaks from reading so that my mind had time to refresh. I also took notes and tried his practices myself in a few random pieces of my own writing.
Upon finishing the book, I found myself excited to write more. I wanted to try more of King’s advice and hopefully see improvements in my writing.
Despite the small challenges I faced as I read the book, I definitely learned a lot from it and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys writing.