Review: Bird by birdEditorial Review - 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.
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Excellent book for anyone, but particularly for aspiring writers. Real-world advice delivered with great humor and spiced with many moments of "been there myself and I know exactly how you feel". I thought I was the only arrogant loser out there who had those "I'm a genius/I'm a hack" moments before I read this book. How less-than-comforting to know that even if I have as much success in the future as Ms. Lamott, that lovely demon will still be there by my side. At least he'll have good company as I'm sure a dog-eared copy of Bird by Bird will be right here with him, errrr.... I mean us.
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In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott gives poignant and sometimes funny stories of her own life and writing to illustrate her many points. Anne begins by telling the story of growing up with a writer as a father and the scorn or popularity it may entail. One time, her older brother had procrastinated on a report on birds that was due the next day. He was breaking down and close to tears at the prospect of writing about all those birds in one night. Their father then gave him the advice that names the book: “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
These stories of childhood, friends, family, and motherhood only garnish the trunk and stems of the tree where the birds sit. The book mainly focuses on how to write and Anne’s own experiences with it. She talks about how to treat your characters, why not to be frustrated with a first draft, why you should write for the sake of writing, not just to get published. All of these items of interest will render the reader satisfied.
Anne is a very blatant writer in that she gets her point across quickly and skillfully. If she thinks her first drafts are shitty, she will come out and say it in stead of holding her tongue. On the other hand, she is very poignant and thoughtful with her words. Her son, Sam, is an underlying topic to most of the book and her journey with him outlined perfectly. Overall, her ideas and feelings are a joy to read and I think anyone would appreciate this wonderful meditation.
Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeUser Review - Nora - Goodreads
Much more sentimental than I'd like, and not nearly so practical. There were a few techniques that seem useful, and a couple of one-liners worth writing down, but most of the book is circuitous and ... Read full review
Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeUser Review - Aryn - Goodreads
I wish I had read this book when I was younger. The thing I think I really take away from this is the idea that being published is not the reward. Writing is the reward. Aside from that the book ... Read full review
Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeUser Review - Gary - Goodreads
Bird by Bird is an entertaining way of wrapping your brain around the concept of writing. As a novice in the field I found this book to be very approachable, easy to follow, and full of takeaways. At ... Read full review
Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeUser Review - Sarah Altman - Goodreads
This is, by far, one of those most endearing and insightful books on writing and how to live in a world that doesn't cater to eccentrics and creatives. Read full review
Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeUser Review - Sumangali Morhall - Goodreads
Genuinely inspirational, in that it's honest and thorough, written from hard experience, but with a generous helping of humour. Highly recommended for anyone brave and crazy enough to attempt the feat of putting life into words. Read full review
Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeUser Review - Sarah Boyette - Goodreads
Loved it! Read full review
Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeUser Review - Jessica - Goodreads
Great read for wanna-be authors. I appreciate the authors honesty and details throughout her book. Read full review