Book Review – The Writing Life

Why I read this book:  It’s a book that hits straight to the point on what I am going for in life right now.  I wanted to see the perspective, and it’s rated highly for aspiring authors.

Did I enjoy it: Yes… Although that’s a guarded yes.  It brings some good insights, and clever thoughts, but most of it is a series of musings and ramblings.  In itself, fun to read, but I don’t know how much comfort or wisdom was imparted to me about being a better writer.

What I will do because of reading this:  Have comfort.  I feel like I can’t get the words onto the page fast enough, but I am measuring myself against giants, experts in the field.  She makes a great point of the fact that there are people who eat cars and pull airplanes… In any field, those people exist.  While I may say in other posts I want Rowling level success in my writing, I know that I have to earn it, and you start at the bottom.

The Writing LifeThe Writing Life by Annie Dillard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short book is a fast read for aspiring authors. Dillard intermixes little slices of her own life (some of which includes tips related to writing) with random musings, each placed strategically to help build towards something that writers should keep in mind.
Each chapter possessed one or two points that new authors should heed and leverage… If you are prepared to sift for it. For example, she tells an elaborate story of how she learned to chop wood while being on an island. During the telling of the story, she seems to be rambling with a weak tie towards activities she used to distract her from her writing. In the end, she established that the way to chop wood was to chop for the block and not for the wood. Interesting, but only a weak connection. However, at the end of the chapter, she uses this as an elaborate analogy for writing. There are times that either the metaphor didn’t catch, or there wasn’t one to begin with (Ironically, she tells the story of her writing a short piece about a moth being drawn to the flame that could be a good analogy of this very statement).
Regardless, this is an easy read, something that can be done in a few hours and does help to remind the new author that even the best go through the same hurdles and struggles, and that the pains we feel today are perfectly normal in the writing life.

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