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on January 24, 2016
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
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on January 19, 2016
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. He knows I love books about writing craft, always looking for ways to hone and improve my skills.
I read this book on a flight. It's only 111 pages long and I was certain I will still be able to watch a movie on my 5 hour flight. I had to put it down several times and it took another 6 hour flight to finish it. It was like a love and hate relationship, hoping it will get better. It didn't.

I'm always respectful and supportive of other authors. With all do respect to Annie Dillard, I often wondered if she was high? I wouldn't recommend this for aspiring writers.
For me, this book was a collection of journal entries, full of contradictions, procrastinating and her writing life borderline depressing. It's autobiographical with poetic tone and very self-absorbed.

The part that I liked was the metaphorical comparisons, some bits of humor and some memorable quotes.
I would sum it up with the great master Ernest Hemingway "Writing at it's best..., is a lonely life."

Anyone looking for little more optimistic read about writing life check out Anne Lamott 'Bird by bird"
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on December 29, 2015
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. I'm giving this three stars and under any other circumstances I wouldn't have left a review at all. But I'm writing this because I want to save someone from buying a book that won't appeal to them. Put simply (as no single sentence in this book was), this book is a reflective look at the writing process and largely meant for literary snobs. The writer almost says as much in her overt diss to commercial Writers in chapter 1. If you're looking for a Stephen King "On Writing" experience--THIS. IS. NOT. FOR. YOU.

If you're looking for a more conversational exploration of the day-to-day ins and outs and struggles involved the writing process and insights--THIS. IS. NOT. FOR. YOU.

I read a lot of books on the craft of writing, especially when I'm getting energized to write my next book. This book is as pretentious as they come. It does provide some insights (if not profound) but they are buried in purple prose and metaphors. The author suggests it should take two to five years to write a book. It would take me at least five years to take such simple observations about the writing life and convolute them to the point that they are barely discernible. From metaphors on inch worms, hummingbirds, starfish with broken rays, log cabins, Zulu warriors, sparrows, and cows, it felt more like a Discovery Channel-inspired dissertation than a book intended to enlighten inspiring writers on the writer's life.

If you like this kind of thing, and many do judging from the reviews, then go for it. As a writer of commercial fiction, it wasn't for me in more ways than one. It's probably the only book on writing that I will struggle to finish, if I finish at all.

The best thing about this book is it made me want to stop reading and go finish my friggin' book. Off I go to write...
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on December 26, 2015
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 a little further", you will be disappointed.
On the bright side - the existence of this book proves that anyone can become a published author - anyone
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on October 26, 2015
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 and what she believes the writing life is and how she practices it and that writing is freedom and...If her name was not Annie Dillard, this book would have never been published.
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on August 13, 2015
I like to consider myself a writer. On the good days, that means I write, but mostly I fiddle around and tinker. I had hoped that Writing Life would be the silver bullet, all of a sudden I’d understand how to write, and the heavens would be opened and I’d sign six-figure book deals (this didn’t happen). Annie Dillard did a phenomenal job with Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and she’s one of my favorite writers, so I figured I could do little better for a book on writing.

But rather than being a handbook on how to write, The Writing Life is a collection of stories accumulated during the writing of several books. Annie Dillard does not explain how to write books — she explains how to live a life in which you write, all day every day, and try to create with words on a page. There are few techniques here; rather, the book is filled with stories of how it feels to be stuck in a spot in the book (been there) and why the end product is never quite what we’d imagined starting out (felt that).

Mostly, The Writing Life tells you what to expect if you’re going to write books. It teaches you how to see stories with your eyes so that you can transfer them to your medium: the printed page. For me, it stirred a few deep thoughts, reminding me that I really couldn’t give up writing — and that’s what the writing life is. Closing the back page left me wanting to run and work on my writing from years ago. If you’re a writer — or wondering if you ought to keep trying to be a writer — The Writing Life will tell you.

Like any other of her books, Annie Dillard fills this one with many ridiculous stories and illustrations that capture her point. Her books are like a million sparks that fly up from a burning log: filled with many individual, unique stories. And here’s where the similarities to Pilgrim begin. Much like that book, the stories in The Writing Life made me want to follow in Dillard’s footsteps. This, I’d guess, is exactly why the book was written.

I’d recommend The Writing Life if you are looking at being a writer, are a writer, may someday be a writer, are married to a writer — if you’re at all connected to writing, you’ll enjoy the stories and message of this book. And if you’re not sure if you’re cut out to be a writer, give this a read: it’s only 120 pages. Maybe, like me, you’ll find out that you can’t not write.
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on August 3, 2015
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. This is a book that is a little advice and a lot of reflection.
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on August 2, 2015
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 is unproductive and losing ground, then reverses and is swept toward success but after two passages in opposite directions is often is back at a starting point rather than at success. The midsection seemed like a lot of filler in the form philosophizing about what it's like to be a writer. The last third was about how writing is analogous to being a stunt pilot who looks cool, calm and collected before a performance but takes on the persona of someone in a state of heightened awareness, in pain with a frozen face and without a personality. I just finished it a second time and my impression reversed. I thought the start and ending were filler with the real gems in the middle. I think chapter five without anything else is worth the price of the book.
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on July 27, 2015
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. Thank you, Annie Dillard for writing such a memorable book about The Writing Life.
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on July 24, 2015
This book has moments of brilliance... and a lot of random stories... I kept hoping for more of the brilliance.
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