- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (Sept. 1 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385480016
- ISBN-13: 978-0385480017
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 136 g
- Average Customer Review: 226 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Paperback – Sep 1 1995
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Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn't afraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott's witty take on the reality of a writer's life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer's block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.
From Publishers Weekly
Lamott's ( Operating Instructions ) miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight. Among the pearls she offers is to start small, as their father once advised her 10-year-old brother, who was agonizing over a book report on birds: "Just take it bird by bird." Lamott's suggestion on the craft of fiction is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. But she's even better on psychological questions. She has learned that writing is more rewarding than publication, but that even writing's rewards may not lead to contentment. As a former "Leona Helmsley of jealousy," she's come to will herself past pettiness and to fight writer's block by living "as if I am dying." She counsels writers to form support groups and wisely observes that, even if your audience is small, "to have written your version is an honorable thing."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Lamott personalizes her journey as an author, mother, and teacher. By sharing her experiences, she’s made the writer’s many ups and downs instantly relatable. It was like combining a distance education class with a candid discussion over a glass of wine. Lamott’s chapters on getting started were especially useful to me, as was the section on the importance of characters driving the plot.
You’ll want to refer to Bird by Bird often. In fact, it’s one of the best books on writing I’ve ever read, and trust me, I’ve read more than a few. Oh, and one more point: read the introduction. It’s an absolute delight and provides interesting backstory about Lamott’s life. Even if you’re not a writer, you’ll find her insights to the uncertain and all-too-often agonizing process an eye opener.
Bird by Bird is simply one of the three best books on the angst of writing and being a writer that's ever been written. The other two are Writing Down the Bones and S. King's On Writing. But the three books are very, very different. King's is actually pretty weird in spots, as he is, but for the most part it's all about philosophy. Natalie Goldberg's 'Bones' is very instructional and inspirational.
But Lamott! Oh, Annie's book is just as outrageously honest and funny and true and painful in the telling as it is in actuality to be a writer.
Wonderful, wonderful book; highest recommendation.
If you're a writer, you'll get some advice from a master on how to cope with (or not) self-doubt, writer's block, and jealousy. But read it anyway, even if you're not the least bit interested in being a writer but just happen to like her other books; you won't be disappointed.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels discouraged about what they are writing or for those who think they could write but just haven't tackled it yet. Give it a shot!
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