I read the book, The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard for the first time in 2001 and again in 2015. I just finished it again. (I mark the date inside the cover when I read a book because I often re read them)
This book is like a lot of books written by accomplished and skilled writers. The comments of the critics written on the back cover of the book reveal a common thread to these type of books. "A kind of spiritual....". "For non-writers, it is a glimpse into the trails and satisfactions.....". "Anyone hoping to see inside the process of literary artistry....", are some comments from "The Critics Praise".
Looking at how many of these books flow, it seems to me that they both pontificate and at the same time evangelize the life and thought processes of the writer.
The New York Times said "Annie Dillard is a wonderful writer and "The Writing Life" is full of joys." She is a great writer but the book doesn't push her joys as much as it suggests the struggle of writing.
It talks of laying out words. Words written and discarded and the long time it takes. Writing in an isolated place sometimes a cabin or special room. When it mentions things like cabins, rooms or typewriters it goes into great detail. Daily routine is always included and is explored in great detail. The routine seem to suggest that a process is like marks on a trail that have to be found to get to the destination,
After detailing out the processes and everything that has popped into their mind, these "Writing Life" authors seem to get to the same point. The plot and story just happens. The characters sort of tell the author what to write. Well learn that well defined characters can have thoughts of their own. Sometimes the words just pops into the writers mind. Creativity just happens when perhaps you are living the life?
Steven King's book, "On Writing" is similar in some ways. He has his routine and tool chapters, but the writing itself seems to demonstrate what great writing can be.
PS: New Post in What Matters Section...............The Picture section consists of pictures I took or like and have made me think.