Skip to content

Review: On Writing by Stephen King

““Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon the publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.”

What I thought:

Part of me is appalled that this is the first book by the King I’m reviewing, but I suppose we all have to start somewhere 😛

I didn’t expect it to be so hilarious, honest, open, and encouraging. I feel like I can come back to this any time I’m stuck with my writing or feel bad about any part of the writing process, and it’ll lift me up. It’s such a wonderful book, friends. I can’t believe it’s sat on my shelf for a few months before I finally read it!

Someone – I can’t remember who, for the life of me – once wrote that all novels are really letters aimed at one person. As it happens, I believe this. I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?’ For me that first reader is my wife, Tabitha.

I’m not entirely sure how to review it beyond that, besides telling you that, if you’re a writer, you need to read this. We writers tend to put ourselves under a tremendous amount of pressure and self-doubt. It’s so important you see that every writer struggles at some point, even legends like Stephen King. You want the encouragement you get from this. And you will learn something. I’ve made so many notes I had trouble deciding which quotes to include and which ones to leave. Once I’ve got a bigger shelf (or just a second shelf would do, actually) I will have a separate space for inspiring books, and this one will be right up there at the front.

At one moment I had none of this; at the next I had all of it. If there is any one thing I love about writing more than the rest, it’s that sudden flash of insight when you see how everything connects.


Have you read On Writing, or do you need more convincing? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

Published inBooks I Love

2 Comments

  1. Great review, Sarina! My first King was the Gunslinger and that completely blew me away! Hope you get a chance to read more of his works 🙂

  2. My Mum bought me this book a few years ago. The best writing advice book on the market! I love how informal it is.

Get a tea and a cookie, and let's chat!

%d bloggers like this: