Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

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Pantheon Books, 1994 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 239 pages
129 Reviews
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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

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thewestwing - LibraryThing

Really enjoyed this book and it’s full of wise advice and great insight. If you are struggling with being a writer, this book should help rekindle your love for writing. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - et.carole - LibraryThing

Lamott's Bird by Bird reads like advice from a mother who knows what it feels like to write, and also curses and is a bit funny. As good as I hoped it would be when it was recommended to me. Read full review

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About the author (1994)

Anne Lamott lives with her son, Sam, in northern California. She is the author of five books, including the novels Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, and All New People. Her last book, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year, was published by Pantheon in 1993.

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