I actually found it difficult to title this series of posts I’m writing about the work’s that inspired me to finalize a book. You see, not only did the work’s I will mention inspire me, they also instructed me. I don’t know if this experience is mirrored by any other writers, but I know that I set about completing a novel feeling as though I had no idea what the hell I was doing, but quickly found that work’s, such as the one mentioned here, were able to help me realize that I knew precisely what I was doing all along; I just had to pull my head out of my ass and get to it.
It might be said that the voices that most resonate with us, those we can hear clearest, belong to the members of our family, and primarily, to our parents. I do not mean to insinuate that we immediately take whatever advice our parents offer us, usually we cast it aside as though it is nonsense, but I have found that the blunt and simple advice offered by my parents is perfectly sensible and practical even if I realize it in hindsight.
Bird by Bird written by Anne Lamott is delivered in the same knowing voice that parents so confidently use and children can not recognize. It is the voice that whispers ‘that’s not going to work’ while outwardly saying, ‘sure, try it that way’. Anne Lamott has written a fantastically relate-able and approachable text that bluntly and beautifully helps the budding writer to understand that in order to become a writer, you must write; simple as that. Lamott also daringly and deftly addresses the narcissist in us all immediately by declaring that her students will often ask her about how they should approach a publisher before they have even written one word on a page. In so many words, Lamont is able to persuade the reader into writing because they burn to do so, and that is the greatest lesson she could hope to teach us.
The book is also filled with suggested writing exercises and ideas and opinions related to how one can best structure a story or create complex character, but the message is printed in black and white; write.