Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Front Cover
Anchor Books, 1995 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 239 pages
134 Reviews
"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.'"

"Superb writing advice... hilarious, helpful and provocative." -- "New York Times Book Review."

"A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer's world and its treacherous swamps." -- "Los Angeles Times."

"A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write... sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind -- a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing "now," while we still can." -- "Seattle Times."

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Neferemi - LibraryThing

I received a new copy of this for Christmas 2009, and have been rereading and re-enjoying it. This book is the best book I could recommend for any writer at any stage in their career. I also recommend ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Excellent book for anyone, but particularly for aspiring writers. Real-world advice delivered with great humor and spiced with many moments of "been there myself and I know exactly how you feel". I thought I was the only arrogant loser out there who had those "I'm a genius/I'm a hack" moments before I read this book. How less-than-comforting to know that even if I have as much success in the future as Ms. Lamott, that lovely demon will still be there by my side. At least he'll have good company as I'm sure a dog-eared copy of Bird by Bird will be right here with him, errrr.... I mean us.  

All 8 reviews »


Getting Started
Short Assignments
Shitty First Drafts

29 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1995)

Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; Operating Instructions, and the forthcoming Hallelujah Anyway. She is also the author of several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.

Bibliographic information