Synopses & Reviews
"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.'"
With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer's life. From "Getting Started," with "Short Assignments," through "Shitty First Drafts," "Character," "Plot," "Dialogue," all the way from "False Starts" to "How Do You Know When You're Done?" Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses "Writer's Block," "Writing Groups," and "Publication." Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive.
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's 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.
"Lamott's miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight....Lamott's suggestion on the craft of fiction is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot." Publishers Weekly
"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." Kirkus Reviews
"An honest appraisal of what it takes to be a writer and why it matters so much." Library Journal
"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...[S]idesplittingly 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 several books, including the novels Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, and All New People, as well as the nonfiction Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year.