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The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
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The Writing Life (1989)

by Annie Dillard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,673334,286 (3.86)53
Recently added bymarkathompson, private library, Barbieshoe, Elaine2016, jjl320, newnoz, steve.lane, Jessamyd, Lewter, CPI
  1. 10
    Stein on writing : a master editor of some of the most successful writers of our century shares his craft techniques and strategies by Sol Stein (mcgilh)
    mcgilh: I use this book over and over again in my writing. It is a wonderful master writing class, chapter by chapter.
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» See also 53 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
As a writer with only one published novel I am always looking to learn more about the writing life, looking to hone my skills, to improve. I had hoped to glean some rare look into how to write skilfully from Dillard's writing. This 111 page book took me three days to read (normally I would have finished in 30 minutes) however I wanted to absorb each gem of knowledge, and so kept reading intently, taking breaks hoping it would get better the next time I picked it up. Most writers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time doing anything to avoid writing Dillard seemed to spend most of her time avoiding writing about writing, and if that was not annoying enough - I wanted the good stuff - the time she did spend on the writing life was so depressing that if I was reading this book in hopes of becoming a writer I'd have probably gone a slit my wrists. What a complete waste of time this book was.

( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
As a writer with only one published novel I am always looking to learn more about the writing life, looking to hone my skills, to improve. I had hoped to glean some rare look into how to write skilfully from Dillard's writing. This 111 page book took me three days to read (normally I would have finished in 30 minutes) however I wanted to absorb each gem of knowledge, and so kept reading intently, taking breaks hoping it would get better the next time I picked it up. Most writers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time doing anything to avoid writing Dillard seemed to spend most of her time avoiding writing about writing, and if that was not annoying enough - I wanted the good stuff - the time she did spend on the writing life was so depressing that if I was reading this book in hopes of becoming a writer I'd have probably gone a slit my wrists. What a complete waste of time this book was.

( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
As a writer with only one published novel I am always looking to learn more about the writing life, looking to hone my skills, to improve. I had hoped to glean some rare look into how to write skilfully from Dillard's writing. This 111 page book took me three days to read (normally I would have finished in 30 minutes) however I wanted to absorb each gem of knowledge, and so kept reading intently, taking breaks hoping it would get better the next time I picked it up. Most writers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time doing anything to avoid writing Dillard seemed to spend most of her time avoiding writing about writing, and if that was not annoying enough - I wanted the good stuff - the time she did spend on the writing life was so depressing that if I was reading this book in hopes of becoming a writer I'd have probably gone a slit my wrists. What a complete waste of time this book was.

( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
I'm not sure how I feel about this book, overall. There were sections that inspired me, sections that discouraged me, and sections that I skimmed. I might have a different outlook on this book if I knew the author, but I've never read anything by Annie Dillard before. I have another of her books on my shelf, so I'll soon find out if this is her real writing style or not. I'm torn on if I'll revisit this book again... I tend to not like books/stories/articles that glorify writing like it's the most heavenly of art forms, and not everyone can do it, etc. (full review: http://www.allisonwrites.com/2012/02/writing-life.html) ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |


A philosophical viewpoint on writing and the lifestyle of writers, essential for anyone interested in writing. ( )
  LJMax | Aug 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Annie Dillardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, TaviaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
No one suspects the days to be gods. --- Emerson
Dedication
For Bob
First words
When you write, you lay out a line of words.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060919884, Paperback)

Annie Dillard has spent a lot of time in remote, bare-bones shelters doing something she claims to hate: writing. Slender though it is, The Writing Life richly conveys the torturous, tortuous, and in rare moments, transcendent existence of the writer. Even for Dillard, whose prose is so mellifluous as to seem effortless, the act of writing can seem a Sisyphean task: "When you write," she says, "you lay out a line of words.... Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow or this time next year." Amid moving accounts of her own writing (and life) experiences, Dillard also manages to impart wisdom to other writers, wisdom having to do with passion and commitment and taking the work seriously. "One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place.... Something more will arise for later, something better." And, if that is not enough, "Assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients," she says. "That is, after all, the case.... What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?"

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:20 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

With color, irony and sensitivity, Pulitzer prize-winner Annie Dillard illuminates the dedication, absurdity and daring that is the writer's life. As it probes and exposes, examines and analyzes, The Writing Life offers deeper insight into one of the most mysterious of professions.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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