Writing – Bird by Bird

After participating in and winning NaNoWriMo, I wanted to learn more about the writing process and how to become better at it. One of the books that kept popping up as a recommendation was Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

Let me start by saying that I rarely read books that are not fiction. So it was a big deal for me to voluntarily read a book that wasn’t about a dystopian future with vampires or witches dealing with demons in the ever-after or some sort of manga. (I added links to these series are below, because I love them and feel they are good examples of well-written stories.)

Back to reading about writing and Bird by Bird…

When I was in high school and college, I had romantic notions of being a writer sitting on a beach typing away as the words would flow with beautiful fluidity from my brain to the page while I sat in peaceful bliss writing the great American novel that would be published and sell millions of copies allowing me to make a living doing something I love. Then I tried writing some poetry that was really bad, got annoyed, and gave up on it.

Ms. Lamott’s writing felt like a friend talking to you honestly about writing and the life of a writer. It’s not always romantic. It’s not always easy to get the words from your brain to the paper. It’s not always peaceful bliss. It’s not easy to write the great American novel. It doesn’t always allow you to make a living.

But the reward of dealing with the crappy parts of it and working at it is worth it.

Finding your voice is worth it. Being able to say what you feel like you need to say and tell the stories you need to tell are worth it. Helping others by telling your stories is worth it. Stepping back and looking at life differently as a writer is worth it.

Can you tell I felt a little fired up about writing after reading this book?

As for the advice on writing, a couple of my favorite points were to just take a little bit at a time and to silence the negative radio station that tends to play in our heads. Both of these were also my favorite pieces of advice for life in general.

I laughed a lot while reading this book. There was also one part where I had to put the book away because I started sobbing. Other than that one part, I mostly laughed.

While I no longer have the romantic notions about the life of a writer, my love of writing was reignited during NaNoWriMo and I am ready to pursue it at least as a hobby. If I could make a living out of it, that would be awesome. But my goal is to just enjoy the process and go with the flow.

If you enjoy writing and would like to learn more about the craft, I highly recommend Bird by Bird. Next on my reading about writing list is On Writing by Stephen King and Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.

Do you have any recommendations on other books or sources? If so, please share them below in the comments.

 

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

 

I Highly Recommend these Series:

Extremely Well-Written Vampire Apocalypse Story
The Passage (Book 1 of The Passage Trilogy)

Witches, Vampires, and Demons… Oh My!
Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows Book 1)

Only on Book 5 and I Love this Series
Attack on Titan 1

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