B is for Bird by Bird

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Bird-by-Bird-image1“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.'”

…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. – from Goodreads.com

It’s no wonder that this book is showing up on my list of favorites being that I picked my old and weathered copy off my shelf just last week and dipped into it again.

It’s a book I come back to time and time again when I am having trouble writing, when I am feeling blocked and uncreative and like there’s no point in any of this anyway. Even more so than Stephen King’s On Writing, which is also one of my favorite books on writing and an amazing story in general, Bird by Bird always does a better job of reminding me why I put myself through all this self doubt and struggle.

It reminds me, time and again, that even when I feel like I am a total failure and NOT a writer, well, I actually am.

Read this book if you’re a writer – if you haven’t read it already, I’m honestly quite surprised. Read it too if you are another kind of artist who is struggling to find their way, who feel lost and need some hope and encouragement to cling to.

This year Iā€™m participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge and my theme is: My Favorite Books from A-Z

10 Comments on “B is for Bird by Bird”

  1. One of the things that makes this book so compelling is the author’s humor, the way she can laugh at herself, and by extension, us. I especially love her chapter on writing first drafts and often make blocked students read that one. I had the pleasure of attending a lecture she presented at the Squaw Writers Conference. She is just as inspiring in person!

    1. Oh, that is awesome. I would love to be able to go to an event like that. I saw Neil Gaiman in conversation with Audrey NIffenegger last year and it was so amazing and inspiring!

  2. I’ve not read this, I’ll have to pick it up. Word by word, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph is the only way I survive writing a book. It takes SO LONG, and requires SO MUCH EFFORT. If I look at it all from the perspective of the beginning I’ll panic and never write a word. If I look at it piece by piece, I can whip them out with only minimal bleeding. šŸ˜‰

  3. This sounds like an interesting (and perhaps inspiring) book. I’ll have to check it out (yes, I’m way behind the times–in more ways than one šŸ˜‰ ).

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