Stephen King’s On Writing — Oh, the Horror!

by Jun 3, 2012Work and Life

Reading Stephen King’s On Writing leaves me at turns inspired and depressed. And no, it’s not the money or the fame! I am deep in the section where he talks about writing and language. His primary metaphor, a workman’s tool box. The earlier sections of the book describe King’s working class childhood, various dead end jobs, and his stint as a (low-paid) schoolteacher. To my friends’ annoyance I often fantasize about being a plumber or janitor. I usually compare such a path favorably to certain prestige jobs I’ve held and hated (and that will remain nameless here!) Truth is: I am a klutz with my hands and would probably suck at a skilled trade. I probably would also be bored. The source of the fantasy is that writing as an activity (including business writing) feels to me more like a construction job than like anything people do in cubicles and suits and matrixed teams. In certain past career experiences, I’ve felt as if I walked in the door to fix the sink only to be escorted to a dressing room, asked to change into uncomfortable clothes, and then expected to adopt demeanor entirely foreign to me and irrelevant to my work.
Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.