On Writing came to my attention through an interaction with a friend. I have always loved the creative process of writing, both fiction and nonfiction. However, I have never really dedicated myself to writing anything of any substance. I find myself paralyzed at the beginning, unsure how to start, even though I have what I consider to be a good idea for a story. This book gave me a lot of ideas and tools for how to move forward and perhaps actually finish something for a change.
The first half or so of the book is an autobiography. Reading it, I realized that I have never actually read anything by Stephen King, I have only seen the movie versions of his books. That is definitely going to change now, because his style is something that jelled with me. Understanding his background and how that influenced his writing was useful to hear.
Many of his ideas on writing were eye opening to me. I would not say they are revolutionary, but small things about focusing on the story and starting from a situation, are quite useful to someone who often gets mired in the details. I have heard from other authors that they try to get a feel for the language of their characters and then just listen to what happens in their head. He did not necessary say this in so many words, but his process is one of letting the story tell itself. He compared the creative process as akin to unearthing a fossil. It reminded me of Michalangeo describing sculpting as his letting the statue that exists inside the marble out rather than him imbuing his own structure. The idea that what you are trying to create already exists and you are merely reveling it resonates with me. I have felt that in other areas before and it is a wonderful feeling. This book has inspiried me to really give writing a serious go rather than continuing my existence as a dilettante.