Annie Dillard on Writing – Part 7

Annie Dillard on Writing
7 of 7 parts


the writing life by annie dillard - book coverOne 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 in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.


7 thoughts on “Annie Dillard on Writing – Part 7

    • There is always hope if you let her in. Surprises happen all the time. A simple phrase, a word, a feeling – let it simmer. Write it down. Go back later – see whats developed. Just let go. 1st drafts get you started and from there just let it grow. Practice often, has a way of taking you deeper.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. On the other hand I sometimes come across something I wrote down – an idea, a phrase, a poem begun but not completed – and I discover that *NOW* is its moment. I pick it up and carry it to the finishing line, date it and in due course publish it for others to read.



    Sifting aimlessly and also – let’s be honest here – wantonly
    Through hillocks of accumulation far too cowardly to discard
    Turned up an old page in some ancient long forgotten diary

    Smothered in swiftly scribbled promising thought dreams
    Up-bubbled marsh gas drawn into an eagerly greedy pipette

    So easily distracted back then by each swiftly passing whimsy
    Left them there gasping for breath like beached whales

    A willing rescuer arrives now, years too late, to find them



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