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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing…

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (edition 1995)

by Anne Lamott

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Title:Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Authors:Anne Lamott
Info:Anchor (1995), Edition: 1, Paperback, 239 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:writing, general

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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

advice (26) Anne Lamott (35) Authorship (23) autobiography (34) biography (17) creative writing (42) creativity (50) essay (18) essays (108) favorites (22) fiction (18) how-to (50) humor (80) inspiration (29) instructional (16) lamott (21) memoir (206) non-fiction (594) on writing (50) own (43) philosophy (21) read (82) reference (83) to-read (80) unread (46) wishlist (20) writers (20) writing (1,660) writing instruction (18) writing reference (27)

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Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
Anne Lemott makes me want to stand up and cheer. “Yes!” I shout for her words of encouragement, advice, painful truth. Like the best of us, her painful truths become opportunities for comedic self-deprecation. Admitting to visions of schadenfreude during her moments of literary jealousy, she quotes a Clive James poem: “The book of my enemy has been remaindered.” Admitting to a tendency towards fragility to criticism, she advises that if someone you admire has refused to read your work, “pretend to be friendly, so she won’t think less of you than she already does. Then you can move into a trailer park near your therapist’s house until you’re well enough again to ask someone else.” My favorite bit of advice relates to the problem of using real-life characters in your fiction. In addition to making your character a composite and disguising personal characteristics, she recommends that you “throw in the teenie little penis and anti-Semitic leanings,” and the model for your character is quite unlikely to come forward. Not only entertaining, Lamott’s Bird by Bird is packed with sound advice on writing and many wise tidbits about life. Treat yourself to an uplifting read. ( )
  bookcrazed | Jul 4, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book. It certainly draws the reader into both the author's own spiritual relationship with writing, as well as making one feel that they too could develop such a relationship with same. All of this accomplished without the pretentiousness that could so easily sink a book like this, or make it unreadable to most people. Much more accessible, and at times even vulgar or irreverent in a lighthearted sense.

I take issue with a few small things. One, the above mentioned positive is actually sometimes a negative. I think she pours it on a little thick at times with the whole, "write for the sake of transforming your soul and no other reason". I am a writer, and I feel writing is important, but a few times I felt that nothing ever written could possibly grasp the gravitas she was assigning.

Secondly, it really is much easier for a successful, published author that makes her living as a writer to talk about how publication shouldn't be important, and that writers shouldn't think they can make a living off of it. Except when they do, right?

But those are minor complaints all and all. The book does feel like a late evening, casual yet insightful conversation on a topic significant to the author. It also sometimes gives the impression that one is having that conversation over a beer or to with the author, and that in this case is not a bad thing. ( )
  TyUnglebower | Jun 28, 2014 |
If you create--writing, painting, art, ANYTHING-- Bird by Bird is THE book in my opinion. It's not a how-to guide, but a way of viewing the creative process. My favorite thing by Anne Lamott. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
I've used selected sections of this book in the classes I teach on composition, and I do believe Lamott offers some of the best advice I've ever read on being a writer. ( )
  Seven.Stories.Press | Jun 13, 2014 |
I found it rather useless, and I wasn't impressed by the advice therein. The book comes highly recommended, but I didn't find anything to cull that I didn't know already. Maybe it's for very beginning writers, ones that are starting out for the first time and have first novel jitters. It seems like she takes a long time to say a simple message. Each chapter is a very big piece of bread that you've got to gnaw through to get to the meat inside. Maybe it's because I'm a straightforward guy, but I found that looking on the Internet was a better resource than this book. ( )
1 vote theWallflower | Feb 24, 2014 |
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I grew up around a father and a mother who read every chance they got, who took us to the library every Thursday night to load up on books for the coming week.
…getting all of one’s addictions under control is a little like putting an octopus to bed.
...perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.
I understood immediately the thrill of seeing oneself in print. It provides some sort of primal verifications. You are; therefore you exist.
If you find that you start a number of stories or pieces that you don't even bother finishing, that you lose interest or faith in them along the way, it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately.
…if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse.”
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Book description
I found this book in a library after my life fell apart one rainy day in California. I thought the writing was so clean and simple and straight forward and funny that I almost cried with happiness. Telling the truth is really hard, but writing the truth is almost impossible. After that day, I went back to college for a few decades...so glad I did.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385480016, Paperback)

Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn't afraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott's witty take on the reality of a writer's life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer's block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:11 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A step-by-step guide to writing and managing the writer's life covers each portion of a written project, addresses such concerns as writer's block and getting published, and offers awareness and survival tips

(summary from another edition)

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