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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got Me Past Writer's Block to Publication
When writing my first book, I hit an all too familiar wall which was a lifetime of writer's block that had paralyzed me many times before. A friend recommended I read Bird By Bird. I did, and through reading Ann's words, with all her wisdom and practical advice, a door to my inner voice opened up and the book flowed. Not only did I complete the book (on deadline!)...
Published on 7 Feb 1999

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151 of 170 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If only she'd stick to writing about writing...
I bought this because I was writing a novel in a month with Nanowrimo, and so many people on the forums recommended it. People who write novels in a month ought to know an inspirational book when they see it, I thought. Wrong, wrong, wrong...

The subtitle, "Some Instructions on Writing and Life", ought to have been a warning. But I was overwhelmed by delight in...
Published on 14 Nov 2005 by S. Bailey


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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The unbearable truth, 23 Jan 2007
This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
This book is a very true portrait of what your inner life is like if you are a writer, how the writer's mind really works and what it is really like to try and live this way.

If you are a writer you will probably be inspired. If you are not you will probably be enlightened. And a little bit frightened.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best writing advice EVER!, 26 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
This book spoke directly to the writer in me who didn't know where to start...This book turned the key to let all the information and ideas and characters stored in my mind to spill onto the paper...She says just the right things to help dispell fears and writing blocks...This book has changed me forever.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Anne Lamott. Now., 8 Feb 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
This, like "Operating Instructions" and "Rosie" is a wonderful book by the amazing, funny, incredible A. Lamott. No writer I've read so thoroughly exposes herself with every word she writes--and, she does it with so much humor and grace that you feel you've known her for ever.
Even if you aren't looking for a "writing instruction" book, you'll find this great book is a good how-to for Life too.
When I give friends a copy of Lamott's "Operating Instructions" it invariably becomes the most cherished gift they've recieved. "Bird by Bird" is the same.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written and useful, 5 May 2014
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S. J. Garrity (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
This book is brilliantly written and easy to understand. I found it engaging and there was lots of useful information that I haven't read in other books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Witty Common Sense, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
All the great points in this book are pretty basic. There's nothing new or eye opening covered. But that doesn't make the great points any less great. It's simple stuff: write every day, take it one step at a time, love the process not the outcome. But it's refreshing to read nonetheless, both for writing and life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Half about writing, half about the everyday., 17 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
If you can stand Lamott's religiosity and folksey, doe-eyed sentiments, you may just find a few gems inside. There really are some useful ideas for approaching the writing task, and some anecdotes worth reflecting on. There are a few poignant moments amongst the schmaltzy ones. Overall I'd say this book is a curious mix of the odd and mundane; half biography, half do-it-yourself writer's manual.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sometimes painful - but always true, 1 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
Recommended! I can't think of another book that describes the ups and downs of the writing process as clearly and honestly as this. OK, Anne Lamott can sound sceptical to the point of bleakness, her references are mostly American and were often lost on me, she refers to her own drinking (and other human failings!) with glaring honesty and humour, there's some 'god stuff' in there and some of her stories take a while to get to the point. But, well, we speak the same language (more or less) and share the same cultural references. When she started with: 'the very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth' I was hooked. There are sections on 'Giving', on 'Jealousy' and on 'Writer's Block' and it's a pleasure to see these subjects discussed properly (I almost said 'seriously'. That's not quite it. They are taken very seriously, but written in a way that makes them memorable and funny. The images are wild and witty. There's a lot of self-mockery). Of course not everyone will like this book. Not everyone wants to hear that, in the final analysis, the real joy of writing is there in the writing itself. But that's a more valuable and longer-lasting lesson than you'll get in many a how-to book. But two copies - one for yourself and one to give to your writing friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 22 Jan 2014
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Sophie Neville (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Paperback)
I loved this book that inspired me to keep writing and reach our beyond myself. I immediately ordered 'Travelling Mercies', which I enjoyed even more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A few life lessons, some writing wisdom but not enough, 2 Jun 2013
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This book was recommended by so many people I lost count. As a new author and long time lover of memoirs, it seemed a good book choice for me. In fact, I read it while working on my first collection of short stories. I folded down a few corners, nodded sagely along with some of Anne's observations but I found it dipped into Anne's idiosyncratic habit of self-deprecating too much, which in itself is a little ironic. In fact, the most important messages in her book - just write for love - was somewhat shrouded by how much emphasis Anne put on the ever-present role that her pity/paranoia/self-doubt still plays in her writing life even after becoming a best selling author. I think any writer will know this already - you never lose the self-doubt - but surely there's more to the joy of writing? Tell us about that...

That's not to say there isn't value in Bird by Bird. There is and some of it can be hugged to you like a long lost friend. I also appreciated how poignantly she painted certain relationships in her life (I may now read her memoir Operating Instructions). With regard to other reviews, I found that she wasn't as "forceful" about her faith as other readers described, but yes, of course this book isn't for someone who is uncomfortable with an author discussing church and God.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you read this book twice, 14 May 1998
By A Customer
Buy this book and read it twice.
The first time, all the way through.
The second time, slowly, with highlighter pen in hand.
Then, as Henry Miller said, find a place to "plant your ass" and begin writing.
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Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life
Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (Paperback - 1 Jan 1980)
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