Book Review: On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft
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 “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.” ~ Stephen King

Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft always comes up in articles, forum conversations, and books written by other writers and creatives who talk about the art of writing.

Non-fiction and fiction writers, bloggers and indie writers all praise this book. So, in June of 2016, I purchased the paperback from Amazon.

But, didn’t pick it up to read until December 6, 2016. It took me 10 days to read using my 30-minutes a day habit.


This article is an unbiased, unaffiliated book review of On Writing by Stephen King. I am in no way affiliated with Mr. King or any of his publishers, nor am I getting compensation for this review.

I am, however, providing you with a link to the book on Amazon via my Amazon Affiliate link.

Should you use links to the book in this article, you will be directed to Amazon. If you use my Amazon link to purchase On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, I get a small amount of money at NO CHARGE to you.

It would be great if you use my link to purchase this book.

What On Writing Talks About

On Writing was published in 2000 and updated in 2009. I had no idea how old this book was when I bought it, but it’s surely on the way to being a classic read.

The book takes you into the world of Stephen King and everything he has to say about being a writer. You’ll read about the experiences and life circumstances that shaped Stephen as a little boy and the experiences that helped him become a profound writer.

Stephen often refers back to Strunk’s Elements of Style and gives examples of what good writing looks like and how to avoid bad writing. The best part is that he does this book in a humorous and personal way that you can’t help but to feel closer to the master. You will enjoy this book.

Although he concentrates on writing fiction, every kind of writer will benefit from the lessons, tools, and techniques he shares.

Who This Book is For

Fans as well as haters of Stephen King. And definitely for anyone who wants to be a writer.

If you want to write good fiction, this book is a must, as you’ll learn how to develop your story and let your characters make decisions for you. Turns out, you’re just the vessel in which the story uses to get out into the world.

What Didn’t Work For Me

The only thing that didn’t work for me in this book were the sad parts. I’m a wuss when it comes to reading about sad and/or horrible events.

What Touched Me the Most

My favorite part of the book was that Stephen made no effort to explain away his flaws, missteps, and failures. In fact, he embraced them and attributed them to his best work.

This put greatness in the hands of every person willing to persevere and continue to work at their craft. It’s a fact that you can learn how to write well, just as long as you’re not willing to sell out.

Because of this, I see that it’s not luck that makes a writer great, it’s the grit he or she is willing to go through to write well and to make it worth their readers’ time.

Seeing how Stephen struggled as a young writer makes my own writing aspirations attainable. He is just as flawed as you and me, and that’s what makes him so great. He gives the best advice about being a writer because he’s been there, at the bottom.

This is my first Stephen King book. I’m not a fan of horror and my mother, an avid Stephen King reader, told me as a kid not to read them because they were scary books.

As an adult, I’ve seen some of the movies that were made from his books but never picked up his novels.

After reading On Writing, I’m a new fan of the man who mastered is craft.

This is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~ Stephen King

What Others Are Saying About On Writing

Amazon readers give On Writing, 10th Anniversary Edition a 4.7 out of 5 stars with 2701 written reviews. Readers love this book!

Goodreads members give On Writing a 4.3 out of 5 stars with a whopping 139,432 reviews for all editions of this book.

This book as its fair share of naysayers, but most people regard this book as one of the best resources for anyone who is a writer or wants to become one.

My Final Two Cents

This book has helped me see that fiction writing is not a talent someone was born with. It’s something anyone can do, and do well.

Since finishing the book, I’ve wanted to try my hand at fiction. It’s on my mind every day. I read the news or listen in on a coworker’s conversation, and story ideas appear. This book has inspired me!

I’ve also been thinking that writing fiction could be a better outlet for my troubles and tribulations than non-fiction writing and journaling could ever be. I could develop characters for every problem I have and put them through situations and see what comes up.

Everyone who has an interest in writing should read this book. You’ll be amazed, surprised, saddened, and laugh out loud at the things Stephen King talks about and it’s an overall pleasure to read.

I’m glad I bought the paperback version instead of the eBook as I’ll be going back to reference some of his writing techniques throughout the year.

Your Turn

Have you read this book? Share your thoughts about it in the comment section!



Down to earth, personal, and humorous, you get to know more about the man behind all those scary novels, and learn how to write good fiction.


Sad parts and some horrific parts.


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