Tag Archives: Anne Lamott

Just Write

The amount of writing advice one could look up on the internet is endless. Regardless of their level of success, every writer has at least once piece of writing advice to share with their fellow writers.

But without a doubt, the most important piece of advice is just to write.

Is the first draft going to absolutely perfect? Perhaps in a fantasy world, but not in the real world. In her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, (which I highly recommend), Anne Lamott has a chapter called Shitty First Drafts for a reason.  It’s easier to make edits to a shitty first draft than to a page with no text at all.

Over this past holiday season, I made myself a goal. By the time clock struck midnight on December 31st, I would have a word count of 20,000 words for my novel. It wasn’t easy, especially with the distractions that can take one away from writing, but I did it.

My point that writers have to write.We have to turn on the metaphorical faucet and do the work. It’s not easy, but there are few satisfactions that can compare to knowing that you have achieved a piece of writing that your proud of (even if it is in shitty first draft form).



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A Shitty First Draft Is Better Than No Draft At All

I’ve been thinking about something.

Some of you may know that I am a freelance writer on top of my day job. Last night I finished the first draft of an article that is due by the end of the week.

It was not an easy first draft to write, mainly because other writers on this website had written about the same subject and I didn’t want to duplicate their ideas.

But I got it done, which is what matters.

One of my favorite books on writing is called Bird By Bird, by Anne Lamott. It’s not so much of a technical book on writing as it is encouraging the writer to write. There is a chapter within this book called Shitty First Drafts.

That is the perfect way to explain the draft that I finished last night. It’s a shitty first draft. I am more than expecting that the editor will come back to me with changes that she would like to have made to the draft. But it’s done, which is what matters.

It’s a shitty first draft, which is better than no draft at all.

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Bird By Bird Book Review

There are a lot of books on writing. When I say a lot, I mean a lot. It’s downright confusing.

I’ve read many books on writing. As far as I am concerned, there is only one book that should be required reading for every writer, regardless of the genre and the format that they write in.

Anne Lamott’s 1995 book, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life  should pass through every writer’s hands at least once.  This book is not about the craft of writing, but about the process of writing. From the shitty first draft (that is, if you have enough to have a shitty first draft) to the ups and downs of publication. Ms. Lamott does not miss a beat. Funny, sharp, but also providing real world advice to the writer who is stuck with writers block or finds themselves moving away from the natural voice of their characters.

This book is a must read for all writers and I highly recommend it.


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Why I Write

Ask any person who is creative (art, dance, music, writing, etc) and they will tell you that it is not for the potential of fame and fortune (as gratifying as it is, if it comes to pass), but it is for pure self expression.

I’m sure that any writer will tell you that for every story or piece that they have completed, there are four or five (or even more) half started drafts sitting on their hard drive or in a draw if they write via more traditional means.

One my favorite books on writing is called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. She has a chapter called Shitty First Drafts. I highly recommend this book for every writer, regardless of the genre that they are writing in.

Ask any writer and they will tell you that it is not easy. Writing, unless your working with a partner required solitude and concentration, which is not easy in this always on the go 24/7 world that we live in.

Will we all become the next Stephen King or Danielle Steel? Probably not.

But I know that I always feel better after I have written, even if turns about to be just another shitty first draft.

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