The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?


I am in desperate need to get back on the writing wagon. I don't know why I've been so out of it this year, maybe it was graduating from my undergrad in May and immediately starting my graduate degree this week. Maybe it's something else that I can't think of at the moment, so I needed to get into the mind of a writer and read about her thoughts on writing.


Dillard intertwines her daily life and her writing life with ease, sweeping in and out of metaphors with incredible ease. Her thoughts on what writing is and how it impacts your life, how a novel takes years (not months) to be written and many other things resonated with me. However, I expected to find more writerly musings and fewer essays about her life in Washington state. It was easy for me to be distracted at certain points, even if she did paint a riveting picture of the mountains and the fury of Mother Nature.


Still, her wisdom on writing is solid and it's worth reading for that alone.