“You go where the book leads you” Stephen King’s Writing Process

Across the literary world, there are few names more famous than Stephen King’s. King is known for his erratic imaginative stories. However, King has a fairly stable writing routine. The interesting thing about King as a writer is that he believes in allowing the story to go in whatever direction it pleases, however he adheres to a stringent working environment.

The following excerpt is from King’s memoir titled On Writing.

“There are certain things I do if I sit down to write,” King writes. “I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained.

King takes his vitamins, sits in the same chair, and keeps his papers arranged in all the same places. According to King, the ultimate purpose in establishing such a consistent environment is to train his mind. King writes that, “…doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”

King strives to write 10 pages every day, even on holidays. He encourages writers to be fearless in their writing but to also avoid carelessness.

As King writes, “You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart… but you must not come lightly to the blank page.”





4 thoughts on ““You go where the book leads you” Stephen King’s Writing Process

  1. courtneycalderon March 13, 2015 / 5:30 pm

    I can’t imagine having such a strict writing regimen, but it clearly works for him. It’s almost as if he treats his writing process as classical conditioning. He sits, he relaxes, he hydrates and he writes. Always. I wonder if King’s method of writing would be successful with most writers or if its success is exclusive to him. Whenever I try to force myself to write at a specific time, it almost never turns out to be my best work. My best work comes organically and out of the blue. I would be interested to see more of the psychology behind King’s writing success.


  2. jesslangone March 14, 2015 / 3:11 am

    I have read On Writing, and it was very inspiring. It is interesting to hear these things, because I think most people think writers stay up like night owls and vomit words until they have pretty things written.

    I have personally started to follow some of the advice King gives in On Writing, and it is not easy. I try to write at least ten pages a day, most of which turns out to be some sort of garbage, but I think that is okay. I think the idea behind this is to be writing as often as possible so you get better at it.

    Writing a first draft is just that, a first draft, even if it isn’t your best work.


  3. chadprom March 16, 2015 / 12:38 am

    I found an interview with Stephen King on Business Insider and it was phenomenal. Like you mentioned, he produces ten pages a day for three months straight which comes out to approximately 180,000 words. Most novels are slightly less than half that.

    I chose to profile Michael Lewis and his writing habits are quite eccentric as well although not as stringent and scheduled. It is always interesting to learn about different writers habits.


  4. awebb8 March 18, 2015 / 3:54 pm

    I have to agree with King. I think that a routine is a good idea because it helps you, as a writer, become less distracted by the little things around you. For instance, I have my recored player on my computer desk and every time I write I put on a Vinyl. Doesn’t matter if it new, old or classical music, it helps me stay concentrated on my work rather than the sound of silence. Compared to John Green, who I picked, King tends to write so much more. Green writes for at least four hours in the morning and then the rest of the day is for other important matters.


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