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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, but inspirational for any writer
This selection of pieces that originally appeared in the Washington Post is a mixed bag - some of the articles are about the writing process, others about becoming a writer, but many of them are inspirational, and will help any writer feel more comfortable about what they strive to achieve. The selection of authors is eclectic, so no matter what type of writing interests...
Published on March 27, 2004 by Kirk McElhearn

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average for the Genre.
I agree that one can find writing inspiration in these pages. Studying the mechanics and practices of other writers is always enjoyable and enlightening. Sometimes one can find tricks and short cuts to emulate which then enhance one's own work, and that is certainly the case with The Writing Life. The problem that I had with it is due to its selection bias. In my opinion,...
Published on February 11, 2007 by Bernard Chapin


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, but inspirational for any writer, March 27, 2004
By 
Kirk McElhearn (Near Stratford-upon-Avon) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
This selection of pieces that originally appeared in the Washington Post is a mixed bag - some of the articles are about the writing process, others about becoming a writer, but many of them are inspirational, and will help any writer feel more comfortable about what they strive to achieve. The selection of authors is eclectic, so no matter what type of writing interests you, you'll find something that fits your style.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Anthology of Writers..., September 4, 2005
This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
Over the years, I've read 'The Writing Life' segment found in many a Washington Post "Book World" section. Last spring, a writing instructor assigned Arana's collection of these articles for our outside class reading. I was pleased to find many of the articles I had previously enjoyed plus plenty I had not read combined in one volume, thus allowing me to purge the accordian file folder where I store such items.

Arana has selected some of the best pieces for her volume, and prefaced each with a short introduction of the author. In some cases I reread segments by favorite authors, and in other cases I had never read the author.

One author I've been meaning to try is Barbara Mertz. Haven't heard of her? She writes under the pen name Elizabeth Peters, and is the author of the the tales of the exploits of Amelia Peabody-Emerson, archeologist and sleuth. Now, I had thought about reading Peters, but had not done so because I have been trying to curb a hopeless addiction to mysteries and force myself to read things that "improved my mind." Peters, i.e. Mertz, says at age 60, she figures her mind "is about as good as it's going to get" and that statement and others she wrote made me laugh. Being from a long line of folks suffering from a bad case of the "Protestant ethic" I've always needed permission to have fun, and now that I am 63 I have it.

I read my first Peters novel (reviewed elsewhere) and ordered 6-7 more. Is this frivoluous, you bet. Will I keep it up, Hopefully!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average for the Genre., February 11, 2007
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This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
I agree that one can find writing inspiration in these pages. Studying the mechanics and practices of other writers is always enjoyable and enlightening. Sometimes one can find tricks and short cuts to emulate which then enhance one's own work, and that is certainly the case with The Writing Life. The problem that I had with it is due to its selection bias. In my opinion, it chronicled far too many journalists as opposed to outstanding writers. Many of the individuals are not people one considers to be luminaries at all. I picked up The Paris Review's Interviews book which is more satisfying in this regard. Obviously though, this text isn't devoid of value, but it depends on what you wish to use it for.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the Story Behind the Writer, September 4, 2006
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This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
This is an excellent compilation of writers and a bit of their story. I know that other reviewer's recommended this book for writers, but Ido not consider myself a writer in professional terms, and I still found it facinating.

Arana provides a backhistory of each writer introducing them, and then each author tells some aspect of how they handle the writing life. I enjoy being able to get "behind the scenes" and understand how a writer approaches their day...where they write, do they use a computer, etc. As she says in her introduction, she invited "seasoned writers to mull the craft" of their writing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, Exquisite, Eclectic, September 26, 2004
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This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
Arana bundles a life tapestry of professional experience, formal education, and school of hard knocks, in a motif of a writer's existence. This work is much more than just a mere compilation of WP Book World excerpts. Clearly, significant thought was devoted to the selection of her WP articles along with fundamentally pragmatic insights that are certain to be invaluable to anyone interested in the profession of writing or editing.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE this BOOK, August 18, 2003
This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
The author and a panel of writers were recently on C-SpanBook. The topics and discussion were so interesting that I purchased and read the book over two evenings. As a (beginning) writer myself I gleaned many a new idea of where to get content for my work in progress. I am confident that this book will move me along with creative ideas and inspiration.
Marie Arana has compiled and edited this book to be packed with useful information that will assist any writer. As I watched C-Span I wondered if this woman is married. Wouldn't it be great to be married and have late night discussions while looking at such beauty.
I've never read any of Maria's "Writing Life" columns at the Washington Post. I am delighted to have surfed to Cspan to have learned about this book. There were no disappointments for me.
My recommendation to you writers (or beginning writers like me) is to buy this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed very much, June 17, 2013
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This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
Read this book a while ago. Enjoyed very much. Love the writing mind. The articles are diverse. It was a pleasant surprise to find each writer offering something quite different about the writing experience. Possibly one or a few did not grab my full interest, but that small distraction is negligible and probably due to my own deficiency.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More Than Meets the Eye, December 13, 2012
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This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
I love reading other authors' takes on "the writing life" and how they cope with or find inspiration from daily life to continue nurturing their creativity, motivation, and changing goals. This book surprised me with an extremely varied mix of writing advice and insight.

From dealing with publishers and the importance of self-marketing to dealing with the slack you get for your chosen genre not being as academically accepted or how to maintain a personal life along with your career...the authors in this collection cover it all. There's enough here to touch on any aspect of writing you may be dealing with or thinking about and will, no doubt, include many surprises you haven't realized you do need more information about.

Reading the collection introduced me to new authors, some with writing styles I fell in love with and intend to read more from, and made me think about so many aspects of the art of writing that I've since realized keys for improving my own novel and new directions I want to go in in my own career.

This is the perfect gift for any writer you know...even if you have no idea what their own writing style or interests are. You'll make a better writer of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, November 20, 2012
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This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
This book was in great condition and it was listed at a really affordable price. I needed this for a college writing course. It had great writing exercises that helped me a lot. It's a great purchase if you want to warm yourself up before writing a big creative paper. Perfect!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Useful., January 1, 2009
This review is from: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work (Paperback)
As a writing major, (non-fiction, U of Memphis), I find myself searching out the lives of writers as much as exploring their work. We writers are geared that way. This book is essentially helpful if you are towards the beginning of your career and are very curious about how other writers work. It's a good book to put in the stack on your bedside table and to read a piece every once in a while. I especially liked the entries by Ray Bradbury (who gets up at 3:30 in the morning, writes, laughs at it, and then goes back to bed) and David McCullough (read as much as he could of what John Adams read. Said it was impossible to read it all). It lends validity to the ideas you have of how best you write--alone? In a cafe? Longhand? With a typewriter? In your mother's basement with the lights out and night vision goggles? And in the establishment of a writing career, that's no small thing.

So if you're an older writer, I'd pass. But younger writers, grab hold, and mine it for what it's worth to learn about your own process.
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The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work
The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work by Marie Arana (Paperback - May 8, 2003)
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