Book Writing

The 11 Best Stephen King Quotes

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Stephen King is an American author who is a master of his craft in every respect. As one of the world’s great horror authors, King has made us reach into the depths of our soul and confront our fears and dark places. Perhaps King’s greatest talent is to make his characters relatable and to bring them to life, as it is with other writers such as Toni Morrison and CS Lewis. Let’s explore some of the best Stephen King quotes to get a glimpse into the mind of a writer and his ability to form that special bond with his readers. 

Stephen King’s life story

Stephen Edwin King came into this world on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. He was the son of a merchant seaman. His birth name was Pollock, but he changed it to King as an adult. His mother was Nelly Ruth King. During King’s early years, his father left and his mother would have the task of raising her two boys alone. The family experienced great hardships and would come to depend on relatives for their support. 

King was raised Methodist, but later lost his faith in organized religion, but he still retained his belief in God. As a child, King witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, an event of which he has no memory. It is thought that this event might have inspired some of King’s darker works in later years. King graduated from Lisbon Falls High School in 1966 and was an early fan of the sci-fi and horror genres. King graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maine. While in college, he and his wife Tabitha Spruce met, and they would marry in 1971. 

What would later become a lifelong passion and career was launched in 1967 with his first professional publication, The Glass Floor. Stephen King published several of his works under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. He also published several collaborative works and performed a spoken introduction to the song “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. The number of awards and achievements by Stephen King are too numerous to mention in this short space, but his impact on the craft of writing is perhaps his greatest contribution to date. 

Stephen King’s most notable works

Stephen King is best-known as an American sci-fi author, but his works extend well beyond his most famous works in this genre. As one of the great horror authors of all time, it would be impossible to list the entirety of his works in this space. His list of accomplishments includes novels, collected works, short stories, collaborative works, books made into movies, audiobooks, and many more.

Here are a few of King’s most notable works. 

  • Salem’s Lot, 1975
  • Carrie, 1976
  • The Shining, 1980
  • Creepshow, 1982
  • Cujo, 1982
  • Pet Sematary, 1989
  • Misery, 1990
  • The Stand, 1994
  • Thinner, 1996
  • Storm of the Century, 1999
  • Rose Red, 2002
  • The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, 2003
  • Under the Dome, 2014

11 best Stephen King quotes

Stephen King’s long list of works and accomplishments is a testimony to his talent and dedication to the craft. As writers, we can appreciate his perspective and words of advice that we can use to help us all grow in our own work. It does not matter if you are a fiction writer, a blogger, journalist, or content creator of any type, we can all learn something from the words of a master. Here are some of my favorites. 

1. “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”- King’s memoir about the Craft

Any piece of writing that you create, from a podcast to a product description, should take the reader into another world for just a moment. Connecting with your audience is your greatest challenge and your greatest asset once you can do it consistently. 

2. “Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.” – Stephen King, unknown source

This is true with anything that you want to learn to do. Getting good at what you do takes practice, focus, and effort. 

3. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

We have all faced this as writers, but only those who have learned to conquer this fear actually become writers in the end. 

4. “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

The greatest challenge to overcome in anything that we do is getting over ourselves. We usually find that things get easier once we get started. You don’t have to have it all planned out because you will adjust as you go. Just get started, and know that it will come. 

5. “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Always keep your audience in mind in every piece of writing that you do. This is especially true in copywriting. You have to paint a picture that they can relate to in order to get the clicks and get the sales. 

6. “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King, source unknown

This is another quote that can apply to anything. You cannot expect to be a success overnight. Behind every success story that you see is a lot of hard work, failure, and courage that you do not see in the final product. 

7. “Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.” – Stephen King, source unknown

That is true with anything in life. Never be afraid to fail because our failures can lead to lessons that become our greatest successes down the road. 

8. “When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’” – Stephen King, source unknown

Getting overwhelmed by the entire project leads to procrastination. It is important to only look at what is in front of you and to break it down into small sections. 

9. “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” – Stephen King, source unknown

The best way to get good at your craft is to read good authors and learn from them. If you are a copywriter, find ads that draw you in and spark emotion. Break it down, and see what you can apply to your own writing. 

10. “And as a writer, one of the things that I’ve always been interested in doing is actually invading your comfort space. Because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Get under your skin, and make you react.” – Stephen King, source unknown

No one can deny Stephen King’s ability to get under our skin, but this is also the key to any other writing that you do. You have to spark an emotional reaction and a connection to what you have to say.›

11. “I had a period where I thought I might not be good enough to publish.” – Stephen King, source unknown

I think this is his most important quote. We all doubt our talents from time to time, but it is good to know that even the world’s greatest authors have their moments, too. 
There is no denying the impact that Stephen King has had on the world and the craft of writing. This collection of some of the best Stephen King quotes is like a blueprint for good writing, regardless of the type of writer that you are. The bottom line is that to be good, you have to read, and you have to write because nothing comes without practice and hard work. I hope that you have enjoyed this little glimpse into the world and works of one of the great horror writers of all time. Check out the best CS Lewis quotes while you’re at it!

Chris Craft

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Founder of InspireFirst and Nao Media.