This reminds me suddenly that Peter asked me about one of the books I have listed there. “Bird by Bird”. This is a great read. Especially for those who are interested in writing, but even if you aren’t you’ll find it interesting. She’s hilariously entertaining first of all. I was introduced to this book through a creative writing class I took several years ago. The instructor was inspired by the book and so named the class: “Word by Word”. The premise is to not get bogged down by the vastness of an entire book. Instead, take it one word at a time. Anne Lamott got her inspiration from her father when he gave similar advice to her brother who was writing a report on birds. Her brother was overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, and asked his father how he would ever get it finished. His father wisely responded, bird by bird, son. Bird by bird. It was advice I took to heart because I tend to get easily overwhelmed.
Shitty First Drafts is another lesson I took from the book. Basically she says that all writers have shitty first drafts. You see, I’ve always loved writing but have never been that good, I thought. One reason is that I never allowed myself to get past that shitty first draft. I had romantic images in my mind of Stephen King (or whoever) happily typing away and their stories simply flowing out of them. What I learned from the book, however, is that writing is often a painful process. It gave me hope that I could perhaps be a good writer one day. So the title, “Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, is aptly named. Peter, I hope that helped and sorry that I didn’t respond earlier.
Now I’m into a new book called The Girls. It’s a fictional autobiography from the perspective of a conjoined twin. So far, it’s a facinating story.