Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

"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 book is 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.

Title:Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
ISBN:9780385480017
Format Type:

    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Ernest Hemingway One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, “It’s not ...

  • Jane

    Where I got the book: purchased from Amazon.Perhaps I'm reading this, one of the writing community's most referred-to books, too late in life. Perhaps as a 20-year-old English major (which I never was...

  • LeAnn

    I'm getting to the point where I've read a handful of books on the writing life by authors and I found this one to be particularly resonant at this point in my writing career. I actually found myself ...

  • G

    Ugh. I used to write and then I took some time away from it, and someone suggested this book to me to inspire me. It did exactly the opposite. Lamott makes writing sound like passing a kidney stone, a...

  • J.L.   Sutton

    Ann Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life reads like a collection of anecdotes on writing. The book is easy to read and some of the suggestions are worthwhile, especially the ad...

  • ?Misericordia? ?????? ????

    Q:... 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, which was due the next day. We were out a...

  • Nikki

    I love that she doesn’t shy away from the dark stuff, all the shitty feelings, angry rants, and suicidal episodes. I also love that she's funny. Not just amusing, but actually funny. I love that she...

  • Jason Koivu

    Not new-agey, hippie-esque or nearly as self-help guide-like as I feared it would be when I started listening to the audiobook version as read by its author. Anne Lamott's monotone voice set off the "...

  • Diane

    This is a fantastic writing guide! "Bird by Bird" is one of those books I have been meaning to read for years, and I finally got around to it thanks to the audiobook, which was marvelously performed b...

  • J

    This was fantastic, and I wrote a million notes. For example:I love the description of throwing rats in a jar and watching them scratch. This was a tool for the mind to silence distractors in your lif...