Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life” as Want to Read:
Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life

by
4.15  ·  Rating details ·  3,013 Ratings  ·  370 Reviews
"Everything I know about life, I learned from the daily practice of sitting down to write."

From the best-selling author of Devotion and Slow Motion comes a witty, heartfelt, and practical look at the exhilarating and challenging process of storytelling. At once a memoir, meditation on the artistic process, and advice on craft, Still Writing is an intimate and eloquent comp
...more
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Atlantic Monthly Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Julie Christine
A few weeks ago someone dear to me asked, “Are you still writing? I wondered if you’d decided to get a part-time job.” I’ll admit right now, right here, this crushed me. My first novel is still months away from launch and my second novel is out on submission. I recently finished the first draft of a third and I’ve just returned from a life-altering residency and poetry workshop. Yet in the space of fourteen small words, I felt my entire raison d’etre smashed to smithereens. This didn’t come from ...more
Iris P
Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life

A couple of months ago, when I read Goodread's author Julie Christine Johnson wonderful and inspiring review on this book, I had never heard of author Dani Shapiro before. (You can read Julie's review here.)

After reading it, I asked Julie a couple of questions, the first one was:

Do you think this memoir can be enjoyed by someone like me, a person who loves literature but isn’t a writer? The second question was, do you consider writing mor
...more
Sophfronia Scott
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think I picked up this book today because I know I'm on the verge of something. My husband (a teacher) and son (a fifth grader) will both be back to school tomorrow and it occurs to me tomorrow will be, really, the first day of my post-MFA life. (I graduated last month.) I will once again have the house to myself but no packet deadlines and no upcoming residency. I do have a nearly completed novel revision well underway and more projects on my plate. But still I can feel this edginess: will I ...more
David Abrams
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the whole span of my life, I can count the number of books I've re-read on a single hand--ones by Flannery O'Connor, Charles Dickens, Raymond Carver, Agatha Christie. I'm the kind of reader who is always leaning forward, never circling back. There are too many unread books in front of me, from here to the horizon, to "waste time" by retracing my steps through a novel's pages.

I will happily make an exception for Still Writing--not just for the beauty of language, but also for its clarity of in
...more
Julie Ehlers
I didn't like this book at first. I thought the writing was kind of dull and the advice kind of obvious. I'd seen this book likened to Bird by Bird, but I didn't agree with that comparison at all—Bird by Bird is an inspired piece of work, and this seemed more like a contract fulfillment. But what really bothered me about this book was Dani Shapiro's constant references to how awesome her life is. I got tired of hearing about her luxurious chaise longue with its antique blanket, the blazing fire ...more
Mimi Marten
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
I first heard about Dani Shapiro on the Oprah Winfrey SuperSoul Sunday show. Her quote 'If I'm present, I will miss nothing' stuck with me from that show. She said many other thing that resonated with me. She spoke my language.
This book came to me as a Christmas present. I read it in small doses, like digesting in a slow motion. I wrote down many quotes to cherish Dani Shapiro 's wisdom.

She is very honest and raw, sharing her personal triumphs and struggles. As Hemingway said...'Writing at it's
...more
Heather Truett
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Last week, I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Still Writing by Dani Shapiro. I love a good book about writing, especially when I like the writer. I read a novel by Dani years ago and it was very good. I just shipped off a set of rewrites to my agent and, while I wait for him to read, I figured it was a good time to refresh my writer-spirit.

I adored this book. Some writing books are too instructive and some are pretty out there, but this was a good balance of memoir (Dani has led a
...more
Susan Albert
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: about-writing, memoir
I enjoyed (very much!) this inspiring collection of vignettes on writing, storytelling, and the challenges of a creative life. Practice and discipline are the basic principles of her craft. Each polished little piece is a prime example of the short personal essay. Much to learn from here; she has much to teach.
Pamela
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I gulped this book down quickly, enjoying its loose-knit, episodic construction and Dani Shapiro's gentle yet pointed insights, and now I need to read it again more slowly. This is not a how-to book or even a book of advice, really, but an account of the shaping of one writer's sensibility and habits, conveyed in a fashion that allows the reader to see certain universals within them. A confession: I really can never get enough of accomplished writers talking of the self-doubt and frustration and ...more
Jennifer
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
Possibly my new favorite book about writing.
Nancy Freund
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Five stars, five MILLION stars. I knew if I tried to write a review, I'd run out of space, so I YouTubed it. Hopefully the link will work here, but in case not, you can see me wax lyrical on it by searchign YouTube under Nancy Freund and Still Writing and Dani Shapiro. That ought to take you right to it. But if you are a writer of any kind, novice to novelist, or non-fictionist, or any creative type whatsoever, seriously -- treat yourself to this gorgeous little book. It's outstanding.
http://you
...more
Sharon Bright
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very inspiring book if you have any interest in the writing process. Reads like a novel as the author takes you through her personal life and journey of becoming a writer. She is also very realistic about the sacrifices and discipline needed to write a book, but ultimately leaves you feeling that to create is the most rewarding experience you can do for yourself. I may be convinced, now.
Roni Loren
I loved this one so much. It was just what I needed to read right now. I marked so many quotes that this will definitely be a reread.
Angela Risner
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I had never heard of Dani Shapiro before this book. I only found it through a post on Facebook that mentioned it. I will definitely be looking at the rest of her titles.

For me, this book serves as a reminder that despite the push toward science and mathematics in our schools today, creative endeavors in writing, art, etc. are still worthy. Not to say that those who love science or math aren't creative - they are. I remember speaking with a computer programmer once and he told me th
...more
Jodi Sh.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft, non-fiction, memoir
Dani Shapiro has written a book for writers. Not about writers, although it is, but for writers, and especially for those who are not lucky enough to have an MFA cohort, or a writing group, or a mentor, or some sort of active writing community. And those of us who do. Because even when you have all the community in the world, writing is a solitary pursuit. "Still Writing," divided into small, reasonably sized chunks that can easily be read on a single subway ride--acts as a companion, reminding ...more
Philippa
This is the first book I've read of Dani Shapiro's and it won't be the last. This is a beautiful book that will have a place beside Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones on my inspiration shelf. It's very different to Bones, in that it's less of a practical "let's get you writing" book and more a meditation on the whole business of being a writer, the craft, the mindset, how you interact with the world. I felt like a warm friendly arm was wrapped around me while reading it, as Shapiro reassu ...more
Denice
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up at my local library knowing absolutely nothing about it or the author, and now I have a new favorite book on writing, surpassing even Stephen King's (for me, anyway!). Shapiro strikes the perfect balance between conveying her own writing experiences, offering compassionate, empathetic encouragement for writers, and sharing bits of her personal story in a way that left this reader with both a sense of camaraderie and an affirmation that an ongoing, satisfying writing life is real ...more
Alana
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Writer's
I loved this book.

Written in a conversational tone, this book is not so much about the craft of writing, but one writer's thought's and feelings about the writing life; what it takes, and what it gives back. Not only is this book full of inspiration, it made me feel connected to a wider community of writer's by showing we all share the same fears and doubts, and the same inexplicable need to write. While reading I was torn between wanting to take my time over it so it wouldn't be over too quickl
...more
Amanda
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books
On Writing by Stephen King and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott are my favorite writing books. Ever. The advice + stories are like nectar, and I love returning to them for insight on almost anything. I've often said writing is a metaphor for living a good life, and that is precisely how Shapiro swan dives into her memoir on the creative life. I devoured her wisdom. Soaked up her stories. And marveled at her execution. All of it stunning + brilliant. After reading only a few words, I knew her book was ...more
LATOYA JOVENA
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Its comforting to know that successful published authors doubt themselves, their work, or their right to write at all. Not comforting to know that the only way to get through it is to keep writing in spite of it all.
Dani Shapiro is brutally honest. Writing is never pretty, not always worthwhile, and often leaves us feeling vulnerable. But writers do it, because they have to.
Kristen
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
I can't stop reading and rereading this wonder memoir on the writing life. Both practical primer and inspirational guide, Still Writing has earned a place on my shelf of favorite books about writing, alongside Lamott, King, and Dillard. Dani Shapiro has done it again.
Julie Timmer
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I *loved* this book. I expect I will read this once/year, starting now. Maybe once/6 months. Highly recommend.
Sheila Callahan
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
I spent this summer reading all four of Dani Shapiro's outstanding memoirs. This one I wish to own, as it promises to serve as perennial inspiration for this writer. In my opinion, Still Writing belongs right alongside the other writing bibles such as The Elements of Style. Thank you for this treasure, Dani Shapiro.
Brittany
Jun 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
It's readable, but if you've ever read any other books on writing, you will get nothing new from this one.
Paula Vince
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The back cover blurb of this book suggests that it should be placed on our shelves beside Anne Lamott's 'Bird by Bird' and Virginia Woolf's 'A Writer's Diary.' This recommendation, along with Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature had my interest piqued. It turns out to be a wonderful series of honest and thoughtful essays under the headings of Beginnings, Middles and Ends.

The book shows how life and writing are two inseparable strands in one rope. Dani Shapiro's life experiences, and the emotions they
...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
She is solid, definitely not fluffy. She knows her stuff, a queen of her trade, a master of the writing craft indeed she is! She opens her life wide open for us and allows us to see the pain of her childhood and how it has beautifully shaped her to be the creative person we all admire today. She writes with inspiration and yet never fuzzy, but if anything, she will give you practical steps you can highlight, jot down in your journal and come back to later and try to act on her precious several p ...more
Erika Robuck
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have several nonfiction books and essay collections on the writing process I've been saving for the right mood (aka: when I need important reminders.) This is one of those times, and for me, STILL WRITING was the perfect balm for a profession that often leaves one hollow or raw at the completion of a work.

With her elegant phrasing and straightforward organization, Shapiro can be relied upon to not only give voice to the messy feelings one has throughout the writing process, but also offer solu
...more
Rebecca
Dec 24, 2014 added it
Shelves: about-writing
I'd read a lovely interview with the author a while back, and after hearing many people rave about this book, I thought I'd check it out.

Shapiro's writing style is lovely: lyrical, yet clear. However, as the book progressed, I found myself disagreeing with her more and more. I found much of her advice based on individual tastes and preferences, yet presented as global. There were many things I could agree with, and even bits I jotted down in my notebook because I hadn't read them before and thin
...more
Michael Hughes
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for books about writing by writers, and this one was composed mostly of short essays, some of them deeply personal, others more oriented to advice and craft. It veered a little too much into yogic-Oprah-ish stuff at times, but otherwise it was a very solid slice of life from a full-time writer. All of us writers have an interest in our compatriots and how they manage to navigate all the ups-and-downs, so if you like this sort of thing, Still Writing won't disappoint.
Jessica
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic, 2014, 5-star-reads
Amazing. This is my new favorite book about the creative life. I highlighted so much that spoke to me, and I want to copy some passages and put them near my desk, so when I'm feeling blue and alone in it I am inspired anew. Highly, highly recommend!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Still Writing Giveaway TODAY! 1 12 Aug 31, 2014 07:49AM  
  • Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir
  • Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
  • The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity
  • The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life
  • To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
  • Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir
  • Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers
  • You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction--from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between
  • The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language
  • The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
  • Naked, Drunk and Writing
  • Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction
  • Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
  • The Art of Memoir
  • Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew
  • World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down
  • Escaping Into the Open
  • Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the Writer Within
476 followers
Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. She lives with her family in LItchfield County, Connecticut. Her latest memoir, Inheritance, will be published by Knopf in January, 2019.

Nonfiction Deals

  • The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Life Lessons from Matthew
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace
    $9.99 $2.99
  • My Mother Was Nuts
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Final Vows
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Chosen by a Horse: a memoir
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made
    $17.99 $1.99
  • John Quincy Adams
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match: 70 Recipes to Pair and Share
    $15.99 $2.99
  • By Myself and Then Some
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery (A Toltec Wisdom Book)
    $9.99 $2.49
  • Shakespeare Never Did This
    $6.99 $1.99
  • No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Wish You Happy Forever: What China's Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains
    $14.74 $1.99
  • The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
    $12.74 $1.99
  • People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful
    $13.49 $0.99
  • The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Supreme Gift
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered One Mom's Small Prayer in a Big Way
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why
    $9.99 $2.99
  • How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain
    $5.99 $1.99
  • But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner
    $18.50 $3.99
  • The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Life Lessons from Ephesians
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Marriage in Dog Years
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Trusting God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotions
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Founding Mothers
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (Kindle Edition)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Ida: A Sword Among Lions
    $8.24 $2.99
  • Unsinkable: A Memoir
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
    $7.95 $2.49
  • Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On Becoming a Novelist
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe
    $17.99 $1.99
  • SACRED JOURNEY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR
    $9.32 $3.49
  • The Devil Soldier: The American Soldier of Fortune Who Became a God in China
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate
    $9.99 $2.99
“Everything you need to know about life can be learned from a genuine and ongoing attempt to write” 22 likes
“Still writing?" I usually nod and smile, then quickly change the subject. But here is what I would like to put down my fork and say: Yes, yes, I am. I will write until the day I die, or until I am robbed of my capacity to reason. Even if my fingers were to clench and wither, even if I were to grow deaf or blind, even if I were unable to move a muscle in my body save for the blink of one eye, I would still write. Writing saved my life. Writing has been my window -- flung wide open to this magnificent, chaotic existence -- my way of interpreting everything within my grasp. Writing has extended that grasp by pushing me beyond comfort, beyond safety, past my self-perceived limits. It has softened my heart and hardened my intellect. It has been a privilege. It has whipped my ass. It has burned into me a valuable clarity. It has made me think about suffering, randomness, good will, luck, memory responsibility, and kindness, on a daily basis -- whether I feel like it or not. It has insisted that I grow up. That I evolve. It has pushed me to get better, to be better. It is my disease and my cure. It has allowed me not only to withstand the losses in my life but to alter those losses -- to chip away at my own bewilderment until I find the pattern in it. Once in a great while, I look up at the sky and think that, if my father were alive, maybe he would be proud of me. That if my mother were alive, I might have come up with the words to make her understand. That I am changing what I can. I am reaching a hand out to the dead and to the living and the not yet born. So yes. Yes. Still writing.” 15 likes
More quotes…