Jesse Booth's Reviews > Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
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's review
Apr 01, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2015

Ok. I finally read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. For years I have had writing friends tell me that this is a must read. I'm glad I finally got to it! It's a very quick, informative read.

My only issue with the book was the constant finger pointing at all writers being insane, almost schizophrenic and paranoid. There were several moments where my brow furrowed and I told myself, "Yeah, that's not me at all. I don't think like that. I'm not always angry, and the characters I write are not the voices in my head." I had to take a step back and realize that this is her interpretation. This is how she writes. And you know what? That's perfectly fine! I'm a completely different person, I write in different ways. The good news is, most of the stuff Lamott touches on is extremely relevant. Here are 4 items that struck me through the reading:

1. Bad first drafts - I take comfort in knowing that first drafts are meant to be bad. Over the years, I've learned to enjoy the revision process just as much as the writing process. I have been able to go over my first drafts and discover my weaknesses and how to work on getting better. Don't try to make a first draft perfect. Just write and keep writing, and don't stop or interrupt your flow!

2. Focus - You need to focus. Whatever works for you, calm yourself down, think/ponder/meditate then start writing! It makes a big difference!

3. Write a minimum of 300 words per day. This shouldn't be too lofty of a goal, but I still find days I don't end up writing a single word.

4. Utilize personal experiences as well as the people involved in those experiences in your writing. Make appropriate changes so the characters aren't identifiable.

This is a good read for all authors, beginners and experts. It's a good summary of basics. Do I agree with everything in this book? Nope. But there is a lot of value between the covers. If you are a writer, or are interested in starting to write. Check it out.

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Reading Progress

April 1, 2009 – Shelved
February 4, 2015 – Started Reading
February 5, 2015 –
February 6, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015
February 6, 2015 – Finished Reading

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