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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As we authors and as-yet unpublished writers sit alone and get RST of wrists and fingers and forearms from incessant pounding of the keyboard, staring out the window at a telephone wire or a bare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
In The Writing Life Annie Dillard has shared a glimpse into what it is to be a writer. She doesn't share how-to tips or exercises, instead she shares what it means to write and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by H. Lam
I bought this book when it was originally published and over the years it was lost. Imagine my delight to find a replacement for this important work.Published 1 month ago by Dakota
Not laMott's Bird by Bird or King's on writing, but a nice meditation on what is part of the life of a writer....Published 2 months ago by R. Gurley
I am a fan of Annie Dillard, but not of this book. There is little to be learned about writing in this short, overpriced volume which is little more than a pamphlet.Published 2 months ago by kendle p
A few (and I mean a few) worthwhile insights on the craft, but dry, dry, dry. Self absorbed and precious too, even conceded. Read morePublished 3 months ago by kylan