Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Bird by Bird
I finished reading Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird - Some Intructions on Writing and Life, over the weekend. As a writer, it's one of the most inspiring books I've read, next to Stephen King's On Writing. Lamott covers everything, with wit and honesty, on the writing process from writer's block to the jealousy we're bound to feel when everyone else around us is getting published. I felt like she was writing specifically for me and helped me feel a little less crazy, or better, reassured me that all writer's are crazy and I'll fit right in with my "hideous conceit and low self esteem in equal measure."
Lamott has so many gems in this book that I've practically underlined and earmarked every page. Whenever I tell people I'm writing a book I get a mixture of annoying responses and awe. More annoying than awe, but those that are impressed always say, "Wow, I wouldn't know where to start." The fact is, everyday when I sit down to write, I don't know where to start. I loved this paragraph in her chapter titled, Shitty First Drafts:
Very few writers really know what they are doing until they've done it. Nor do they go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled. They do not type a few stiff warm-up sentences and then find themselves bounding along like huskies across the snow. One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, "It's not like you don't have a choice, because you do- you can either type or kill yourself."
Or... rearrange your wardrobe, do some online shopping, break in your new shoes...