bird by bird

This writing book has been recommended to me repeatedly over the years and I had a copy collecting dust on my bookshelf.  I admit it: I buy writing books and then I don’t read them. HA! That might mean I’d learn something and actually commit to writing regularly!

I committed to reading a chapter each night and have laughed out loud repeatedly! Anne Lamott is a gifted storyteller and absolutely engaging. Here’s the most helpful writing advice I’ve learned so far: take it bird by bird. Which now I understand why the book is titled as it is—here’s the scoop:

“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, which 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.”

Anne goes on to share about the idea of short assignments, “…the one-inch picture frame that I put on my desk to remind me of short assignments.

It reminds me that all I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame.  This is all I have to bite off for the time being.”

Here’s my visual reminder to take it bird by bird: Bird