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. Continue reading