Bird by Bird

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Description

Amazon.com Review

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.

Product Description

“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.'”

From Publishers Weekly

Lamott’s ( Operating Instructions ) miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight. Among the pearls she offers is to start small, as their father once advised her 10-year-old brother, who was agonizing over a book report on birds: “Just take it bird by bird.” Lamott’s suggestion on the craft of fiction is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. But she’s even better on psychological questions. She has learned that writing is more rewarding than publication, but that even writing’s rewards may not lead to contentment. As a former “Leona Helmsley of jealousy,” she’s come to will herself past pettiness and to fight writer’s block by living “as if I am dying.” She counsels writers to form support groups and wisely observes that, even if your audience is small, “to have written your version is an honorable thing.”
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Lamott (Operating Instructions, LJ 3/15/93) makes her living by selling magazine articles and books. She also teaches writing. Reading this work is like sitting in on one of her workshops. While discussing elements of the craft such as character development, plot invention, and rewriting, she presents much more than an instruction manual in this small text. Writing is by nature a personal and solitary trade, and Lamott offers thorough examples and anecdotes that explain how she copes with self-doubt, writer’s block, professional jealousy, and the discipline necessary to turn thoughts into words on a page. Her work is an honest appraisal of what it takes to be a writer and why it matters so much. Collections supporting creative writing will want to include this because it offers unique inspiration to would-be and struggling authors.
Denise Sticha, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Lamott (Operating Instructions, 1993, etc.) gently explodes the fantasy that writing will solve all of a fledgling author’s problems–an ailing bank account, low self-esteem–and at the same time argues that writing “does turn out to be its own reward.” Beginning with her first exposure to the writing life through her father, Lamott introduces some practical points: shaping credible dialogue; thinking of a first draft as a Polaroid photograph that slowly develops beneath one’s fingers. Her cardinal truth is that there is no secret to writing well other than sitting down to do it every day; she also encourages by noting that even the best writers produce “shitty” first drafts. Offering time- tested tips, such as carrying around index cards to jot down fortuitous phrases and observations and focusing on plot as an outgrowth of character, Lamott intersperses stories and prose from her own experience that delight with insight and descriptive acumen. The incident from which the title and folksy aesthetic have been taken is typical: When, years ago, her ten-year-old brother was panicking, unable to write a report on birds for which he’d been preparing for months, their father calmed him with the advice “Just take it bird by bird.” While she suggests finding a writing partner for feedback and describes her own traumatic escapades in taking a novel through several drafts, Lamott offers no advice about revision–the most important skill a working writer must master. Still, paragraph by paragraph, this humorous, insightful, no-nonsense approach will remind novices why they are writing: to tell the truth, to live from the heart, and to share their gift with others. A writer’s guide that is bound to teach and inspire by example. — Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and  provocative.” — New York Times Book  Review.

“A warm, generous and  hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its  treacherous swamps.” — Los Angeles  Times.

“A gift to all of  us mortals who write or ever wanted to write…  sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately  cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs  and start writing now, while we  still can.” — Seattle  Times.

From the Publisher

“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.'”

“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and provocative.” — New York Times Book Review.

“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” — Los Angeles Times.

“A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write… sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing now, while we still can.” — Seattle Times.

From the Inside Flap

“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.'”
From the Back Cover
“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and provocative.” — New York Times Book Review.

“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” — Los Angeles Times.

“A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write… sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing now, while we still can.” — Seattle Times.

About the Author

Anne Lamott lives with her son, Sam, in northern California. She is the author of five books, including the novels Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, and All New People. Her last book, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, was published by Pantheon in 1993.

http://www.amazon.com/Bird-Some-Instructions-Writing-Life/dp/0385480016#productDescription_secondary_view_div_1460099088716

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