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Bird by Bird

256 pages, 1995



909 books
biographies & memoirs

biographies & memoirs

997 books

Over a quarter-century, more than a million readers—writers and writers-in-training of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s heartfelt advice. And the book’s title comes from a passage written by Anne Lamott’s father—himself a writer—long before she was born. It goes like this: "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. ’"

Start Small

Anne Lamott encourages us to start small, hence the title 'Bird by Bird'. She suggests that we should tackle big tasks one step at a time, just like a bird building its nest. This approach can be applied to writing and other aspects of life.

Embrace Imperfections

Lamott emphasizes the importance of accepting and embracing imperfections. She believes that perfectionism can hinder creativity and progress. So, don't be afraid to make mistakes, they're part of the process.

The Value of First Drafts

In Bird by Bird, you'll find that first drafts don't have to be perfect. They're meant to be a starting point, a place to explore ideas and let your creativity flow. Lamott even refers to them as 'shitty first drafts', highlighting their importance in the writing process.

Writing as a Form of Therapy

Anne Lamott sees writing as a form of therapy. It's a way to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and to gain a better understanding of yourself and the world around you. So, why not give it a try?

Observation is Key

Lamott encourages us to observe the world around us. She believes that writers should pay attention to details, as they can provide inspiration and add depth to our work. So, take a look around, you never know what you might find.

Quotes 5

Anne Lamott's 'Bird by Bird' is a must-read for anyone who aspires to write. It's a guide that will lead you through the complexities of writing with simplicity and humor.

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey - Media executive, Actress

'Bird by Bird' is a brilliant and insightful guide to the craft of writing. Anne Lamott's wisdom and wit make it a joy to read.

Stephen KingStephen King - Author, Horror novels

Anne Lamott's 'Bird by Bird' is a beacon of hope for all writers. It's a book that reminds us of the joy and passion that comes with writing.

Elizabeth GilbertElizabeth Gilbert - Author, 'Eat Pray Love'

'Bird by Bird' is a treasure trove of advice for writers. Anne Lamott's insights are as valuable as they are entertaining.

J.K. RowlingJ.K. Rowling - Author, 'Harry Potter'

Anne Lamott's 'Bird by Bird' is a masterclass in writing. It's a book that every writer should have on their shelf.

Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell - Author, Journalist
Oprah WinfreyStephen KingElizabeth GilbertJ.K. RowlingMalcolm Gladwell


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