On Writing, by Stephen King

On Writing, by Stephen King

TLDR; I liked this book a lot. Highly recommend if you are a fan of King or thinking of starting writing.

I was never a fan of King and his books. I read some of his novels, and I must say I never liked them. Mostly, I'm not too fond of the horror genre (at least, speaking about books), and that's the main topic where King works. Most of his books could have been much shorter - and he even mentions in "On Writing" that he tends to be over-eloquent.

On the other side, King is one of the most productive and, at the same time, respected authors. So, he definitely should have something to say in writing.

Hence, whether I like the author or not, I decided I should read this book.

The book in three sentences

The first part is about King's life and his interest in writing. The second part is about writing itself. The whole book is an excellent intro to the topic.


It was a pleasure to read this book. It not only teaches how to write, but it also uncovers personal topics - King shows that an author is a human in the first place.

King says that, on average, he spends three months writing a book, but it took a couple of months to finish this one, and he even thought of dropping it. Nevertheless, the book is straightforward to read.

How I discovered it

The book was written in 2001 (if I am not mistaken), but I learned it existed from Amazon just a couple of weeks ago.

Who should read it?

Well. The book is worth reading even if you have no relation to writing.

How the book changed me

I changed my impression of King as an author. I reconsidered my thoughts on being productive.


King is very direct. He doesn't hesitate to use "dirty" words if it fits the situation. And actually, that is one of the tips he gives in the book: if you want to be a Writer, be prepared - many people won't like you. Be real. Otherwise, don't do it at all.

I like this approach.

Would King have used the same language if he wrote the book today? With all this cancellation culture and tolerance etc.?

King is also touching on some personal topics, like alcohol and drugs, that might be treated as too sensitive nowadays. But again, I like this approach of being sincere.

Summary, Thoughts, Notes

  • inspiration (Muse) will come only if you're working hard. If you lost it, don't try to find it in parks, alcohol, deep thoughts, whatever. Just work. And it will come.
  • you should be honest, direct, and real.
  • you should have your Ideal Reader. You're doing it for them.
  • if you don't know what to write about, write about anything. Just keep writing.
  • "kill your darlings"