Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Word By Word” as Want to Read:
Word By Word
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Word By Word

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  722 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Author of Bird by Bird, Traveling Mercies & Operating Instructions.In this workshop, Anne Lamont's animated, witty words take you beyond her book Bird by Bird. Good writing, she says, slow you down, opens your heart and teaches you who you are. Good writing arrives through your fingers, knowing what. But you must endure terrible first drafts and use short assignments to ge ...more
Audio CD
Published June 1st 2004 by Writer's Audio Shop (first published 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Word By Word, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Word By Word

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  722 ratings  ·  92 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Word By Word
Bon Tom
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rarely feel envy, but I do right now. Because verbal capabilities of this woman are beyond of whatever I'll be able to achieve during my lifetime. I'm not sure how good I can write, but I'm sure of how good - or bad, I can speak. I have one of those long tongues capable of licking the tip of my nose (which doesn't end too close to my face itself, by the way), but limited to confines of my mouth, it will more likely get bitten by my own teeth or get in the way of producing the coherent word tha ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: how-to, audio
I stumbled across this at the library. Well, not literally. It wasn't lying on the floor waiting to trip me. Anyway, it's an audio program of a workshop Lamott did as an outgrowth of her book, Bird by Bird.
This is not technically a book. It's not available in print. I'm adding it here anyway because I know a lot of you are interested in writing.

Anne Lamott is a very entertaining lady, and her humor comes across much more effectively in her speaking than in her writing. There's not a great deal
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Really whet my appetite for "Bird by Bird." It's high time to FINALLY READ IT! ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to RuthAnn by: Elizabeth Ivie
This recording of a lecture is a distillation of Lamott's wonderful Bird by Bird, which is one of my very favorite books about writing. And now I'm all messed up from the thought that writing is really about questioning how alive I am willing to be. THANKS A LOT, ANNE. (No, but really, thanks.) ...more
Vannetta Chapman
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm a fan of Lamott's influential book on writing, Bird by Bird - so when I saw this audio of her conference in Austin, I jumped right on it. And it doesn't disappoint. Lamott shines a candle in the darkness for every person that has a dream of writing.

Much of what she says focuses on using the experiences and joys and pains of our own personal life to fuel our writing. Personally--after nearly 40 books published, I'm not sure I do that much. I'm not sure I ever have. Occasionally, of course, I
Marcia Rodney
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I am a huge fan of Lamott's Bird by Bird ever since I discovered it while sitting on the cool tile floor on a hot summer day, checking out my poet aunt's bookshelves. So I was just delighted to stumble across this while browsing the Overdrive for Ipod downloadable selections at the also very cool Louisville Public Library. Word by Word is an afternoon seminar, handy to listen to while procrastinating instead of writing, bicycling instead of writing, deadheading insteading of writing, in short, t ...more
Robyn Jones
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read Bird By Bird in college in a writing class that rocked my planet. I loved the book, loved the class, loved everything about making up stories. It's one of those writing resources that has taken and will take years to get certain lessons. Word by Word is on the same level, except it's Anne Lamott talking to you and you feel like you finally dished out the money to go to a writer's conference. I've gone to a few author talks and writer's conferences and Word By Word and Stephen King's On Wr ...more
M. J.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This audio of Anne Lamott is of her presentation addressing people about her novel Bird by Bird.

This audio is a beautiful pairing after reading the novel and adds to the relevance of how vital her stories are for writers who are at any stage of their career and especially a must for aspiring writers.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: listened
I found myself smiling and laughing out loud and feeling encouraged and so glad there is this extension of Bird by Bird. (And to be able to respond this way to anything right now feels like the best gift.)
Mary Desive
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I listened to this on cassette so much that the tape broke and I now need to replace it.
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a recording of a talk given. So there are a lot of 'um's in it. I'm excited to read bird by bird now

otherwise I enjoyed the idea that you have to get to know your characters in order to make them interact - not figure out a plot and then bend the characters to it.

"The reward is in the daily getting your work done. And if you get your work done on a daily basis you're going to feel like you're living up to something. And if you get your work done on a daily basis you're going to have guil
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this audiobook! So many great tips for the writing life. Especially enjoyable since Anne, herself, narrates.
Jackie St Hilaire
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good advice from a seasoned author

Anne Lamott is a good mentor to help us on our way to writing.

Her best advice is not to get caught up in the publishing of the book. This only leads to anxiety and writer's block.

Go with the characters and build on it, no need to have a "plot" before beginning.

If you are patient and work diligently it will all connect.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really great audio book if you are into writing.
Amy Formanski Duffy
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you stumble upon a book right when you really need it. I was just browsing for a downloadable audiobook that was available from my library and I found this. I've been trying to motivate myself to write fiction again, and Lamott has some helpful nuggets of advice. She says that you have to give yourself permission to write shitty rough drafts, to steal great lines from your funniest friends (as long as they aren't writers who use them for their own material), to acknowledge that your ob ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Prospective Writers
This is an audio-only book because it's the recording of a workshop she did after the publication of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

She gives some excellent advice, most notably she stresses that B+ is a good grade (highlighting that things don't have to be perfect) and that one should work on short assignments to get practise in the art of writing. She recommends that one write 300 words a day (so basically a page) and over the course of a year, you'd have a draft of a nov
Jan 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Good supplement to Anne Lamont's classic how-to-write novel, Bird by Bird. Clearly as talented a speaker as she is a writer, Anne Lamont proves to be a wealth of information as she lectures and conducts a Q&A in a University setting. She adds just the right amount of humor and biographical information to her lecture on motivating writers everywhere. Some of the lessons I took from this audio book, such as the index card technique, will be long remembered on my my journey as I continue to practic ...more
Katrina Sark
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
"Writing is about learning to pay attention to the world and you probably have to slow down to do that."

"The reward is in the writing. In getting the work done on a daily basis."

"Without bad things happening, there is no story. We want to see our lives reflected in the stuff we're reading, we want to see people who have had the bad thing happen and who have lived to tell."

Start a Writer's Group with 4-5 people:
1.Make a list of your 10 favourite words
2. Write a description (300 words) of yours
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
I came across this as an available library download and I'm glad I gave it a lesson. There were times I laughed out loud and I really hadn't expected that from a tape of an oral seminar she'd given. I wish I could impress upon my about getting started with her writing projects and feeling a certain amount of comfort with " short assignments and sh*tty first drafts." This is a book I'd recommend to her when she's in high school to help her get through some of the drudgery she seems to feel about ...more
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
I listened to this via Audible over two commutes. It's short and packed with wisdom.

In my own writing, I strive to follow Anne Lamott's advice; and in my teaching, I recommend "Bird by Bird" to everyone who wants to write. This workshop presents so much valuable perspective, and it's fun to hear it straight from Anne's mouth.

But in listening to this work, I discovered that I would rather read Anne's voice than hear it. I love the way her words play on the page, and I like to savor her messages b
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-writing
this "read" is an audio of a seminar ms. lamott gave in austen texas. it is filled with humor and fast talking and excellent suggestions on how to keep on writing despite any unkind messages the brain may send out to the soul. as margaret robison said in the long journey home "i am a writer because i write." publishing has nothing to do with observing and writing. and ms. lamott's thoughts -- word by word, albeit delivered in fast-speech -- are excellent and funny. she's a jewel, imo. her sugges ...more
gwen g
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a recording of a talk Lamott gave almost a decade ago. She says a lot of things I don't necessarily want to hear -- that publishing a book doesn't automatically make you happier and more fulfilled, for example -- but she's Anne Lamott, so you know it's all OK in the end.

It was great to hear her speak extemporaneously, rather than just reading one of her audiobooks aloud. She's really talking off the cuff. A lot of it was familiar from Bird by Bird, but this had a bit more edge and bite
Edwin B
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Writing comes from a place of inner stillness, where word by word flows effortlessly, says Anne Lamott in this recording of one of her seminars. It thrives on a sense of wonder about other lives, other places and other things. It follows characters and stories, unfolding of their own accord, without manipulation by the writer. It's good when it touches the heart. And it is its own pleasure. ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
This lecture was a good reminder of some of the principles Anne Lamott sets forth in her wonderful book Bird by Bird. If you're looking for writing advice and inspiration and haven't read that, I suggest that's what you should seek out instead. This lecture contains much of the same advice, but leavened with more anecdotes and a bit more insight into Lamott herself. ...more
Dana Nield
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a lovely audiobook to knock out while driving today. Taking notes while listening and driving perhaps wasn't my wisest move, but there were so many great little quotes and anecdotes! I read Bird by Bird a couple years ago, and this audiobook was filled with great little inspiring reminders. Anne Lamott is gorgeous to listen to. I would recommend this audio. ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This audio is a talk by Anne Lamott at at writer's workshop in Austin, Texas. She shares her thoughts and advice on writing with the same personal, humorous, intimate style that we love in her books. Worth listening to, even if you aren't a professional writer. We all want to write with greater clarity and depth, ...more
Holly Booms Walsh
Compact and entertaining, this is a an audio recording of Anne Lamott as she presents a writing workshop to a group. It's loosely based on her how-to writing book Bird By Bird, in a introductory and very approachable format. It'll make you want to check out the full book and do some of her writing exercises. ...more
Chris Doelle
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This is not really a book. It is a collection of interviews - really, snippets of interviews. While I loved some of them and like others, it was not what I expected.

In researching Lamott, I think what I was expecting was more of what she delivered in Bird by Bird. Because of that, I will be looking to give that a read.
Nov 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: writer-reads, 2008
This came across as more of a speaking engagement/ pep talk for a writing group. Anne Lamott is engaging and witty. She also comes across as down to earth and very real.

As one who writes, I may revisit this one if I need a cheerleader.
Jul 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This is an audio of a lecture given by Anne Lamott about writing. She tells a number of entertaining and (some) informational stories and provides some "point solutions" for writing. Her casual tone helped the story. Practice, practice, practice. I liked her Bird by Bird a bit better. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World
  • Dream More
  • The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life
  • Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between
  • Writing into the Wound: Understanding trauma, truth, and language
  • What Now?
  • The Mountains Sing
  • Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices
  • The Psychic Pathway: A Workbook for Reawakening the Voice of Your Soul
  • Moldavite: Starborn Stone of Transformation
  • You're Not Dying You're Just Waking Up
  • Pray and Prosper
  • This Thing Called You
  • The Hiltons: A Family Dynasty
  • Reiki Healing for Beginners: Unlocking the secrets of aura cleansing and reiki self-healing. Learning reiki symbols and acquiring tips for reiki meditation ... reiki psychic (medical intuitive Book 1)
  • Power Animals: How To Connect With Your Animal Spirit Guide
  • The Substitute
  • The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
See similar books…
Anne Lamott is an author of several novels and works of non-fiction. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, her non-fiction works are largely autobiographical, with strong doses of self-deprecating humor and covering such subjects as alcoholism, single motherhood, and Christianity. She appeals to her fans because of her sense of humor, her deeply felt insights, and her outspoken views on topics such ...more

Related Articles

Anne Lamott, the beloved writer of memoirs including Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies, once said, “You own everything that happened to you....
62 likes · 22 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »