Monthly Reading: March

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Last week I wrote about how important it is for a writer to read and how I always try to read one book a month. So here is what I have been reading this month; ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King.

I actually read this book back in December but I think it is too important for me to pass over.

If you want to be a writer or love to read or have even just googled the word ‘writer’ then you’ll know who Stephen King is, if you don’t then I’m sorry but you live under a rock.

With over 50 novels published in his career, it’s no wonder that Stephan King is one of the most prolific and successful writers of this generation and the previous one. But when it comes to mainstream authors we tend to think of them as being born as being born with a talent and a story in their head but that’s not true at all. Just like the rest of us, mainstream authors had to work to get where they are and that is what this book is about.

‘On Writing’ is part collection of tips for writers and part biography. I’ve read many different books on how to write but none of them were as effective as ‘On writing’. I guess that this was mostly because the other books were by writers that I had never heard of but Stephan King is a household name. It was more effective coming from someone who had made it, opposed to some author I had never heard of before.

The biography part is the one that I want to talk about. This section of the book is not so much a biography of Kings’ life but a biography of his writing career. He covers everything from his childhood up until he had ‘Carrie’ published. This book is a must have for an aspiring writer; if you want to know what it takes to be a writer then read this book.

Stephen King has had his fair share of rejected writing before he had anything published (He used to keep his rejection slips on his desk as a visual reminder). His story is a real eye opener into the real world of writing and what it takes. It shatters the fake illusion of what a writer is and gives the reality to you pretty brutally.

Everyone needs someone like that in their life; someone who will break the illusions and give you a dose of reality. When I was in high school all I ever wanted to be was an archaeologist but when it came to finishing school, reality hit me and I realised that I needed to choose a more practical career.

This book is must have for a new writer. I think that reading this book is the first thing that any new writer should do. I know that if I had read this book at the start of last year then it would have definitely helped me along my journey as a writer.

I’ve heard many different methods of how you ‘should’ write but at the end of the day it comes down to whatever method works best for you. Whether you slowly and meticulously plan out each stage of the book or write it off of the top of your head; whatever method works best for you.

Stephan King is a great inspiration for me as a writer. Being able to read through his life journey from school teacher to mainstream author is inspiring and I hope that one day people will be saying that about my autobiography.

-Chris Gutteridge

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