There are many books that people consider a “must read” for aspiring writers and it seems like everyone has their own opinion on where those books rank amongst the other of hundreds of books written for the purpose of giving advice to young readers. I’m no different, I have my own opinion of what I think is a “must read” for ALL writers, and to me, that book is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft written by Stephen King.
In this book, King takes the readers through his life as it pertains to where he is (or was at the time of the book being written and published) as a writer. He speaks on everything from his childhood, to his parenthood, from his alcoholism to his drug addiction, King lays it all out on the table and really exposes himself.
Of course, a section of the book deals with him becoming published and signing big contracts, putting out an (what some people would call) exorbitant number of books. But, what I think is more important than the success of him getting published, is the lesson he gives early in the book, when he was young and dealing with the numerous rejection letters that he was receiving from editors. King talks about how he pounded a nail into the wall about his desk and hung every rejection letter he received on that nail, each one as motivation for him to continue writing. This section of the book has always reminded me of one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan. Although Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, he continued to practice, to build his skill, to perceiver despite the nah sayers and eventually became who he is today. And I see King the same way, he took all of those rejections and used them to fuel his writing fire and he eventually became probably the most recognizable author in the world, with some of the most recognizable novel and movie titles in the world. Although I have no aspirations to become or delusions that I could become an NBA star, when I am feeling down about where my life is, from a writing stand point, I always remind myself that someone out there rejected Stephen King, and someone cut Michael Jordan, and look at them now. A rejection letter does not mark the end of the world, just the beginning of a new opportunity.
I suggest buying the book, it is well worth the money, but here is the PDF for Stephen King’s On Writing: