This is an excellent resource for a writer. If you're just beginning to write, read this; it emphasizes discipline above all else in writing. Write every day. Every day, even if you have a headache, even if you're too tired. Ms. Dillard makes a wonderful case for this and tells you, in so many words, that if you're not disciplined enough to write every day, you maybe should consider another line of work. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever considered writing or currently is.
I came across Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" in The Norton Book of Nature Writing and was so enchanted I wanted to read more of her works. This particular one, "The Writing Life", does include bits of nature but mostly it's about the writing process itself and the inevitable distractions. One would think a writer of nature would have to be surrounded by it in order to produce, but no, nature is in itself a distraction when a deadline looms. At these times Ms. Dillard is sequestered in lonely, windowless rooms and tries to discipline herself to finish something - a sentence, a paragraph, a page, anything. An example: "The horizon of my consciousness was the contracted circle of yellow light inside my study - the lone lamp in the enormous, dark library. I leaned over the desk. I worked by hand. I doodled deliriously in the legal pad margins. I fiddled with the index cards. I reread a sentence maybe a hundred times, and if I kept it I changed it seven or eight times...I had forgotten all of wide space and all of historical time. I opened the blinds a crack like eyelids, and it all came exploding in on me at once - oh yes, the world".
This book has something of interest for practically everyone. Stories about writing on lonely islands, libraries, in a cold cabin in the middle of winter, and even escapades involving daredevil pilots.
My book has a different cover but it's this book.