Make Way For The King of Horror: The Life Story of Stephen King

To many, Stephen King is an inspiration, the author of the macabre. His name befits him, as he truly is, in a way, the king of fear. He has made millions out of this great talent of his, over 350 million of his books have already been sold worldwide. He has received numerous literary awards and now has an estimated net worth of $400 million. 

But before all these, Stephen King was literally in a dark place. Let's find out how he was able to face his fears to emerge as a champion of his own story.

Photo by Mark Rain / CC BY 2.0

Abandonment

Stephen King was born in Portland Maine, in September 21, 1947 to Donald, a seaman, and Ruth, a housewife. He had an adopted brother David, who was older than him. 

Stephen didn't have any memories of his father. He was only 2 years old when Donald left. He told his wife he'll just be buying a pack of cigarettes, but he never came back. After that, he and his brother were raised alone by her mom. It was a difficult time, and there was often no money.

They moved 3 times before settling at Durham,  Maine, his mother's hometown. There they stayed while his mother took care of her aging parents, until their death.

Starting Young

As a boy, Stephen saw one of his friends get struck by a train. The boy died immediately. Others have speculated that this could have been where his writing talent came from, though Stephen had no memory of it ever happening. 

Reading a copy of his father's book 'The Lurker in the Shadows,' he already knew at a very young age what he wanted to do. He wanted to write books. 

At first, it was all just writing for fun. He did it all throughout high school and even when he finally went to college at the University of Maine, he still enjoyed it. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1970. It was also the same year that he had his first child with his girlfriend, Tabitha. They got married in 1971. 

Trouble Brewing

King found out he was unable to find a teaching job fresh out of college . So he settled in selling some of his short stories and working at an industrial laundromat.

It was also during this time that he started to become an alcoholic which spiraled into an addiction of other substances like cocaine, valium, xanax and a lot of other drugs he would take to feed on his talent.

He was even drunk when he delivered his eulogy for his own mother's funeral after she died of uterine cancer in 1974. 

However, his addictions didn't stop him from writing one successful novel to another. That didn't mean he served as a good role model to his children either.  

Stephen was already selling thousands upon thousands of copies of his books, but he couldn't seem to shake the demons that took up residence in the deep recesses of his brain.

Intervention 

It was the last straw for Stephen's family and sometime during the late 80's, they staged an intervention. His wife gave him an ultimatum that if he didn't sober up, they will all leave him. 

King made up his mind to quit his addiction. Determined not to be left by his family, he sought professional help and eventually came out clean and sober and has remained to be one to this very day.

Lessons From The King

Stephen King didn't just have the natural talent for writing. He had hard determination within him to tackle all obstacles that came his way. That's why he's famous the world over—because he believed in himself even when he was plagued by his own demons. The recipe to success only a king can pull off.

  • Embrace your talent and believe in yourself.
  • Don't let your insecurities overpower you. Learn how to fight it.
  • Learn to ask your family's support—because when all else fails, their love will help you clear your mind. 

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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References:

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