Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By Stephen King
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Review: I don’t read nonfiction often, and I hadn’t read any Stephen King books before On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. After reading this masterpiece, it became apparent that I’ve been missing out on both fronts and A LOT.

I hesitate to use “life-changing” when describing books because I think it’s a term that’s easily overused, but there’s zero hesitation when I say that On Writing was a life-changing book for me. Not only is King’s writing advice delivered in a manner that’s encouraging and never pedantic, but I feel like I’m also a better reader thanks to this book. Looking back on the times when a book just didn’t click with me and I couldn’t quite nail down why, now I could probably go back and figure it out because of King’s brilliant guidance in On Writing. I had so many aha moments while reading this. King’s conversational prose makes it seems as though you’re just hanging out, talking about writing. He gently walks you through his writing process without imposing it. This is what’s worked for him, but by no means is the reader compelled to follow it.

The book opens with a look at the life experiences that shaped King into a writer, and if he ever pens a full-length autobiography, sign me up. This memoir section of On Writing is mesmerizing; I’d only read a handful of pages when I realized that I should have picked up King’s books a long time ago. His storytelling prowess is incredible. The odds of me finding a nonfiction book difficult to put down are slim, but I found it difficult to put this nonfiction book down. I even stayed up late to finish it; I can’t remember the last time a book motivated me to fight off the siren song of sleep.

King emphasizes the importance of writing with honesty, and he leads by example here. Again, reading his prose is like having him chatting by your side. Every word on the page seems effortless. He imparts an astonishing amount of invaluable writing wisdom in just under 300 pages—truly the work of a genius.

I wish that guides on every subject were as engaging, inspiring, witty, and exquisitely crafted as On Writing is. This is the type of book that offers something fresh with every reread, and I absolutely see myself rereading this many times over.

All in All: Essential reading for anyone thinking of becoming a writer. I don’t think I can ever read another book on the subject because this one is perfect.


  1. Yeah, On Writing is a real classic. I need to reread it soon.

    1. I definitely plan on rereading it, too. It's become my go-to writing reference book.


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