Bird by Bird
Some Instructions on Writing and LifeBook - 1994
Presents a personal guide to living a writer's life, and discusses dialogue, plot, character, setting, revision, point of view, writing groups, writer's block, and publication
Blackwell North Amer
"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 "Writer's 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 book's for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eyes open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life.
The author of Operating Instructions presents an intensely personal, inspirational, and witty guide that shares step-by-step pointers on how to live a writer's life. 35,000 first printing. Tour.
From the critics
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"If you're not enough before the gold medal, you won't be enough with it."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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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