Having googled “the best books on writing”, this website came up in the first few web results. Of the list provided there, I chose to start with reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.
The book is systematically divided into five parts. The first part primarily deals with the nuts and bolts of writing, zoomed in when one sits to write. Starting with the most difficult aspect of how to get started, it talks also about the ‘first drafts’, focusing on one aspect at a time, character and plot development, and designing the setting. Parts 2-5 are more on the philosophy of writing and the subtler aspects like listening to the inner voice (and not listening to it when its being mean), doing the research, getting help, dealing with ‘writers block’ etc. Publishing is also included. The final part, the one I loved most, is where she takes it to the highest level, much like a crescendo, motivating you in such a way that you cant help but do the ‘sacred duty of writing’. I believe that bringing out the best in a person is a great thing, and this book does it leaving you feeling expanded and inspired.
All the steps and tools mentioned seem organic and intuitive, as against a ready-made formula of some sort. After all, its important to recognize writing done for the sake of joy of itself, rather than for just seeing ones name in print. It is peppered with interesting quotes and anecdotes throughout. The best part, however, is the humor weaved into the “lessons”, self-deprecating more often than not. As you laugh, you cant help but love her for it. I think, by exposing her flaws to the readers, she destroys any misconceptions of larger-than-life writers/writings, and about herself. That is very generous and magnanimous of her.
All in all, a very comprehensive book and has become a classic on writing for a very good reason. I would highly recommend it for aspiring writers and bloggers alike.
2 thoughts on “Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott”
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