Want to Write? Read Bird by Bird

One of my absolute favorite professors first mentioned this book, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, to a class I was in back in my third semester of college. So, I did what I always do: used to my trust library card to put a hold on it and eventually checked it out and…

IT TERRIFIED ME.

Very much. Like, my chest was constricting and saw about fifty shades of my future, all of which were dark, dull colors that in no uncertain terms meant that I would probably spend the rest of my life scooping dead deer off the side of road. The book draws you in with anecdotes and hilarity, but it’s also serious at times. Like when Anne Lamott tells her class that the road to getting published is going to be hard.

So, what terrified me? That right there. If Anne Lamott was to ever read this blog, I’d probably die, because she probably now thinks that she terrifies me or that I hate her. But I don’t. I really, really, really don’t. In fact, I’m at a hero-worship stage right now when it comes to her.

After deciding to give it another go, I realized that I was terrified by what I reading. I was terrified by what I was thinking, feeling and fearing. I was terrified of my own self and being a bad writer and dying alone with fifty cats that’ll eat me three days after said death (though I guess I wouldn’t technically be alone alone).

But since that first attempt and before my full read, I’ve gotten some confidence about me, a level head. I know that I’m not going to send out a query to the first agent I find and get a HECK YES! Nope, it’s a process and only the tried and true will make it through, so I’m going to do that. Patiently. So that made Anne Lamott’s book that much easier to read…it changed my life.

She talks about jealousy, which by far was my favorite part. She talks about note cards. She even talks about broccoli and Radio KFKD. Hey, there’s even a chapter on “Shitty First Drafts.” It’s something that you can read and walk away from not with a key to castle, but a view of the castle that’s not quite so dark and doom and Frankenstein or Dracula or Dark Shadows. It becomes more like Disney Land or even Hotel Transylvania. It just becomes something beautiful, something you want to pursue, something you can be a part of with some tiiiiimmmmmeee, effort, and passion. But of course, not it’s just something you (Okay, I) have an open mind going into.

Check out Bird by Bird here: Amazon.com

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