This book was utterly fantastic. Part autobiography and part handbook for writers, it follows Stephen King through his journey to becoming an author and his writing process after he gained his international fame. I felt like I was seated front and center for a masterclass taught by none other than the King himself.
King wrote this book a year after an intense hit-and-run van accident that left him crippled and distraught. He give readers and unobstructed view into the challenges he faced recovering from the accident and throughout his life leading up to the moment he began writing from the book; from lack of motivation to heavy-hitting issues like addiction, he humanizes himself and shows how his work is so much more than just words on a page.
Pieces of advice are scattered throughout the book that I think could help authors at any stage, but are especially helpful to people like myself who are just starting out. He places heavy emphasis on his hatred of adverbs and advises that your second draft should be your first draft minus 10 percent. I found this nifty infographic floating around the internet that summarizes some of his best pieces of advice:
I think this was the perfect book to use as my starting point; it quickly became a staple in my library that I know I'll reference for years to come. Aside from all the advice, perspective, and anecdotes, On Writing concludes with something a lot of budding writers might need: a permission slip. "You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will." King writes. This book showed me that I already have a lot of the tools I need to write and the others can be developed. King didn't get to where he is today by playing it safe. Writing, this book taught me, is about breaking the rules, and more than anything, finding happiness and satisfaction in yourself.