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The Writing Life Paperback – November 12, 2013
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This all makes The Writing Life seem a dense, tough read, but that is not the case at all. Dillard is, after all, human, just like the rest of us. During one particularly frantic moment, four cups of coffee and not much writing down, Dillard comes to a realization: "Many fine people were out there living, people whose consciences permitted them to sleep at night despite their not having written a decent sentence that day, or ever." --Jane Steinberg
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Don't judge this book for being something that it isn't. That would be like saying an orange didn't perform so well at being pasta.
As we authors and as-yet unpublished writers sit alone and get RST of wrists and fingers and forearms from incessant pounding of the keyboard, staring out the window at a telephone wire or a bare tree or a garage wall, it's immeasurably helpful to know that Annie Dillard is sitting in a remote cabin somewhere, doing the same thing. It makes it possible to go on and get down to the business of writing for yet another day.
Now: if only I could write as beautifully and with such seeming lack of effort as she does...
Carolyn M. Jupp, fellow reviewer, wrote that she felt disappointed in the lack of practical writing advice. Certainly, this is not a book filled with writing excercises, stylistic suggestions, or even much in the way of encouragement. Rather, it's a peek into the mind of a profoundly talented artist and I found it infinitely more helpful than the dozens of practical writing guides I've read in the past year.
Dillard's book is filled with gorgeous metaphors, and if you look closely enough, and then maybe look up to see a cloud passing by, you will learn from them. I promise.
The Writing Life is comfort for the writer: that "It takes years to write a book--between two and ten years. Less is so rare as to be statistically insignificant". In this book, Annie lays out the long labor of writing good work. It's not a text book, it's not 'writing for dummies'. It is beautifully stark and powerful writing, laced with the same brilliance that fills her novels. She doesn't aim to teach you how to crank out 5 pages a day, 25 a week, three books a year, a career of comfort and success--she stares the word white in the face, says it's useless to tame it, it's useless to expect--and still the words come. She says slow at first, and slow in the middle and end. Always slow, one sentence at a time. She says: "Get to work. Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair".
Tired writers, find some rest here and then move on: inward and upward. This book is so full of joys and wisdom, I read it through once, and opened it again. I'm now on my second read in a week and finding the desire to write ever stronger in my hands and my gut.
It's great. Go read.
It is an autobiography. More, I think it is a message from one writer to another. It's like a "hey, we all go through this."
The book itself is well written. The grammatical errors irritated me at times, but it was written in a casual tone. The practical tone it was written is nice. It's more factual than "you must do this and this and this". I enjoyed the narratives: they have opinions, and hinted ideas and suggestions, but often times you as the reader get to decide.
What i found most enjoyable about this book is actually the ironic humour. It is not "hahaha" humour. It is simply interesting reading about a fellow writer's frustrations. Indeed, Dillard's self-contempt at times can be hillarious.
I would believe that this book is meant more for those who write or have written. It's something for writers to connect with each other. It's like a mountain biker talking to another mountain biker. A baseball player would not be able to fully appreciate the difficulties and the experiences.
This is a great book though. But it's got a certain audience.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I get why the teacher had us read it but it was a bit pretentious at times like
I'm writing to have fun not want to make my suffering into art
If you're looking for a book about insights and struggles of a writing life, this is NOT it.
I got this book as a present from my partner. Read more
I don't like giving 1 or 2 star reviews on other author's books. I usually only review when I can give at least 4 or 5 stars and keep my negative comments to myself. Read morePublished 1 month ago by K.L. Brady
A stream of rambling nonsense that has nothing to teach about writing or anything else.
If you start reading it and tell yourself that " it must get better if I just read... Read more
I really like some of Annie Dillard's essays. That said, I found this book to be boring, repetitive and not needed, other than for Annie Dillard to spout off about how she writes... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Josie Poetess
I like to consider myself a writer. On the good days, that means I write, but mostly I fiddle around and tinker. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. Andrew Joyce
I did like the book, it definitely a very "off the beaten path" book about writing, or at least how writing feels to Mrs. Dillard. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lawrence Mills II
I read this book about twenty years ago and liked it most in the first and last thirds covering the needs for a degree of isolation and analogy with the ocean tides when a writer... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ben J Korgen
Brilliant. Not what I expected, it was better. My copy was the audio book so I had the joy of hearing the beautiful prose read to me. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Book lover