Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Write! Write! Write!

Written by: on February 8, 2022

On Writing is a memoir written by Stephen King. In his words, it is neither an autobiography nor an instruction manual, but more of a curriculum vitae to form a writer. In describing the art of writing, King compares the fundamentals to a toolbox. There are a few essential items, but the other tools are there just in case. With two theses in mind, King writes,

The first is that good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals (vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style) and then filling the third level of your toolbox with the right instruments. The second is that while it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one.

Undoubtedly, On Writing is an interesting read, especially to better understand “the craft of writing” from such a brilliant author. While the CV was helpful on many fronts, I will also confess that I felt intimidated, fearing King’s judgment that I don’t have what it takes to be a “great writer.” Not that I desire to be a full-time writer, but what I do write, I hope to do well. However, aside from my insecurities, there were several key takeaways from this book. They are:

If you want to become a better writer, read and write a lot! King reads approximately 70-80 books a year and has a goal of writing 2,000 words a day. I thought I was doing well in 2021, having read 40+ books, but it pales in comparison. I appreciate King’s advice to have a daily goal for writing, especially when I am in a season of more robust academic work.
In the writing world, an editor is critical. King says, “to write is human, to edit is divine.” In my writing endeavors for both work and school, I couldn’t agree more.
Write about things that engage your passions and interests. “Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique in your personal knowledge of life.” My spirit rejoices with this sense of permission. A simple yet profound idea.
We all need cheerleaders in pursuit of our aspirations. The encouragement King received from a rejection letter as a 16-year-old struck me. “This is good. Not for us, but good. You have talent. Submit again.” This brief note provided the fuel to continue to write. He later says, “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.” Whether writing, leading, or something else, we all need people in our corner who believe in us.

I am thankful to have read this book for this doctoral program, as it certainly would not have been on my reading list. While King’s genre of writing is not my cup of tea, I have a great appreciation for his talent, brilliance, and wisdom on the subject of writing. Going forth, I am encouraged to read more, and widely, and write, write, write!

About the Author


Eric Basye

Disciple, husband, and father, committed to seeking shalom.

10 responses to “Write! Write! Write!”

  1. Eric, I love the humility you come with to King’s memoir. What have you learned about your writing so far in these blog posts? And, has you have had a strong but encouraging rejection that gave you the fuel to keep going?

    • mm Eric Basye says:

      I would say these blogs (and readings) have helped me think (and write) more critically. That has been good.

      A hard rejection with encouragement? No, but I do often hear from folks who read my blogs, newsletters, etc., and comment on my writing. That always stokes the fire, to both know people are reading what we are sending but also engaging with the text.

  2. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Eric, great points you pulled from King’s book. I, like you, do not read King but was pleasantly surprised at how relevant it was. When you speak of pursuing more writing, do you have something specific in mind? Do you have a book in you? Could your project and experience result in a book about revitalizing communities to thrive?

    • mm Eric Basye says:

      Thanks Roy. Hmmmm… a book? Not sure. Not right now, though I did consider it for the NPO. In some regard, I think it might be easier to write a book on revitalizing communities as opposed to trying and do it!

  3. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Eric: I got a lot out of King’s book, too. His personal revelations were new to me (drugs, alcohol) and I knew nothing of his life story. I liked his writing advice the best though. I am trying to improve my writing and he had several nuggets that helped. I don’t think I have ever read one of his novels, either. Like you, I don’t read that genre but you have to respect his success. He knows what he is doing and so I can learn a lot about writing from him. Do you think he helped your writing? It’s always good to be reminded about active voice -vs- passive voice.

  4. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Eric: I love “My spirit rejoices with this sense of permission” when talking about writing about passions and interest. If you were not inundated with academic work and I’m sure the nonprofit writing you do for work, what would you want to write about?

  5. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    OK…the first thing I thought of when I read your title is what the captain on a dive boat says when it is time to get in…Dive! Dive! Dive! 🙂

    As you consider the toolbox…what analogies can you make between what King writes and what you need as a leader? What similar truths can be said of ministry?

  6. mm Denise Johnson says:

    I appreciate your perspective on these books. I am curious as to how you incorporate your passions into your ministry writing.

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