Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird

Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Book - 1994
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"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said. 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'" With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer's life. From "Getting Started,' with "Short Assignments," through "Shitty First Drafts," "Character," "Plot," "Dialogue." all the way from "False Starts" to "How Do You Know When You're Done?" Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses "Writers Block," "Writing Groups," and "Publication." Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive. If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this books for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eves open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life. "An inspiring book about writing as a way of finding the truth -- San Francisco Chronicle "Surpasses all the other books on writing already out there -- even the wonderful stuff by Natalie Goldberg, John Gardner, and Annie Dillard." -- Seattle Times "Well-written, funny, and useful." -- Denver Post "I ended up reading it twice and expect to dip into it again in times of need. I recommend this book to other writers without reservation....This woman is uncanny." -- Marie Winn, Wall Street Journal "A quirky, personal, mordant, down-to-earth guide to fiction writing by a wonderful novelist essayist. Lamott makes writing seem like something you could actually enjoy." -- The Nation
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c1994.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780679435204
0679435204
Branch Call Number: 808.02/LAMO
Characteristics: xxxi, 239 p. ; 21 cm.

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s
spiderfelt_0
Nov 15, 2017

How often did I invoke Anne Lamont while coaching my daughter through the process of writing her college application essay? Every time we sat down. Writing is hard. Writing is work. It doesn't come easy. It gets better with practice. Some of your writing will be garbage and is best thrown away. But it is while writing the garbage that some gems appear you can keep for another day. For the humor, the life lessons and the joy, I recommend this book.

m
mnwritergirrl
May 31, 2017

Best book on he writing process ever written.

b
britprincess1ajax
Mar 28, 2017

I've never read a writing guide quite like this one. Most writing guides are specific about the steps of writing -- you know, research, the first draft, revision, the second draft, and so on and so forth -- with the unspoken goal of publication looming in the foggy distance. That's why it was so refreshing to read Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD, which is a brutally honest and immensely funny look at the truth about writing. She offers real, helpful advice, not all that crap you've heard before that never helped. She says a word about how publication is not all it's cracked up to be and tells you how to avoid libel. She writes in an anecdotal way that makes you feel like you're having a conversation with a friend, rather than being lectured at by a professional. She provides her take, her tricks of the trade, in a confessional way that begs you to lean in and she doesn't shy away from disclosing the details of her personal life to exemplify a point. I now feel like I know her, a chunk of her soul exposed and delivered to me via the words on the page. She's such a fine writer that I think I will search for more books written by her, both nonfiction and fiction. Needless to say, anyone interested in writing will love this book. I highly recommend it.

1
1aa
Mar 23, 2017

This is a book to read, not to use. But its delightful.

JCLBeckyC Sep 01, 2016

I broke down in tears at the end of this book. Not too many writing manuals you can say that about. Anne Lamott is my best friend (even if she's unaware of it) and I truly believe if everyone would read her stuff we could achieve world peace. Here's my favorite quote from the book: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

o
oliviapham
Aug 30, 2016

A warm book filled with advice that relate both to writing and life. I didn't always connect with her voice but I did love the image of how writing a novel is like driving a car in the dark and being only able to see a few inches ahead at a time but how you can get to the end like that the whole way.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

I thought this book succeeded best when Lamott was most serious. The stories she tells which slap the reader across the face, or tears their heart out and makes them weep--those are the ones which most motivated me. Too often, however, she resorts to humor and it falls flat. Or it did for me, anyway. The witty remarks, the obscure pop references, and the constant sarcasm made me think of the insecure person at the party who tries to make light of their situation. Which, when you think about it, describes most writers. It was just too much for me. Otherwise, I quite enjoyed Bird by Bird.

cmlibrary_pturner Jan 14, 2016

I have returned to this book again and again for comfort and inspiration to write. Don't miss this one...it is small, but powerful.

j
JRP65
Mar 11, 2014

This is one of the many books recommended by NaNoWriMo & Camp NaNoWriMo.

m
MarieMarguerite
Jan 04, 2014

Buy it!

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b
britprincess1ajax
May 14, 2017

"If you're not enough before the gold medal, you won't be enough with it."

b
britprincess1ajax
May 14, 2017

"Toni Morrison said, 'The function of freedom is to free someone else,' and if you are no longer wracked or in bondage to a person or a way of life, tell your story. Risk freeing someone else."

b
britprincess1ajax
May 14, 2017

"Having a baby's like suddenly getting the world's worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come to stay with you."

b
britprincess1ajax
May 14, 2017

"E.L. Doctorow once said that 'writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.' You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard."

c
commanderfudge
Jun 18, 2013

Now it might be that your God is an uptight, judgmental perfectionist, sort of like Bob Dole or, for that matter, me. But a preist friend of mine has cautioned me away from the standard God of our childhoods, who loves and guides you and then, if you are bad, roasts you; God as a high school principal in a gray suit who never remembered your name but is always leafing unhappily through your files. If this is your God, maybe you need to blend in the influence of someone who is ever so slightly more amused by you, someone less anal. David Byrne is good, for instance. Grace allen is good. Mr. Rogers will work.

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