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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Library Binding – 4 Oct 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Library Binding: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Paw Prints; Reprint edition (4 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439558167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439558164
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 430,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" Superb writing advice... hilarious, helpful and provocative." -- "New York Times Book Review,"
" A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer's world and its treacherous swamps." -- "Los Angeles Times,"
" A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write... sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind -- a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing "now," while we still can." -- "Seattle Times,"

"Superb writing advice... hilarious, helpful and provocative." -- "New York Times Book Review."
"A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer's world and its treacherous swamps." -- "Los Angeles Times."
"A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write... sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind -- a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing "now," while we still can." -- "Seattle Times."

"Superb writing advice... hilarious, helpful andprovocative." -- "New York Times BookReview."
"A warm, generous andhilarious guide through the writer's world and itstreacherous swamps." -- "Los AngelesTimes."
"A gift to all ofus mortals who write or ever wanted to write...sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternatelycranky and kind -- a reveille to get off our duffsand start writing "now," while westill can." -- "SeattleTimes."" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

"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.'" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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!) and get it published, but people tell me the book reads like a novel, with the sound of my voice warm, clear and engaging throughout. This is the greatest reward ---a non-fiction book that came from my soul and that people can connect with. (ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT, 1998) Thank you, Ann LaMott, and thank you Bird by Bird. I highly recommend this book to anyone who struggles with writing.
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Format: Paperback
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 the title itself: Lamott's young brother had, in a single evening, to complete a school project on birds which he should have been writing over the previous three months. "Just take it bird by bird, buddy," was the sensible advice offered by their father.

Lamott herself, however, takes a different line: "just do it my way, buddy". She (presumably; like so many people who write books about how to write novels, I've never even seen one of her novels in a book shop) writes character-driven novels. Therefore, so should we all: don't worry about plot, or settings or anything else, just let your characters do their thing. This is doubtless very good advice for those who also write character-driven fiction, but if you're like me, and begin with a plot and then wonder what sort of people would get into such a ridiculous situation, Ms Lamott is not going to help you much.

I could have dealt with the book and found some useful insights in it were it not for the second problem: "... and Life". Lamott believes in God. Very much. There is far too much stuff here about what God wants for each of us and what each of us wants from God, for this to work for me, or anyone else who doesn't not share or wish to share Lamott's faith. If I wanted a book about fluffy Christianity, I would not have bought a writing book.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up after hearing an audiotape of Anne Lamott talking about creativity and writing. I am not a writer or writter wannabe; I just liked her story telling. In reading "Bird by Bird," I discovered the same entertaining, laugh-out-loud story telling, used to teach her own particular brand of "how to write." It also became clear to me that the principles and techniques she was presenting are universal - they apply not only to writing, but to any pursuit or activity in life. The book is, in fact, a guide to living (intended? unintended? who knows, and who cares...). So whether you're looking for specific techniques for writing (in particular, fiction), looking for an entertaining read, or want to have your thinking provoked, I highly recommend "Bird by Bird." (Incidentally, as a result of reading the book, I was inspired to do some recreational writing...)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely adore this book. Sure, if you're after a book of writing advice about plotting, dialogue, characterisation, etc, this probably isn't going to help a huge amount. I would recommend 'Novel Writing - a Handbook' or 'On Writing' by Stephen King, for more practical instructions and advice. What this book is really good for - and I would say unparalleled in anything else I have read - is providing inspiration, comfort, reassurance, and motivation. The front cover says tips 'for writing and life' and it is exactly that - I often dip in and out of it when I want a little lift of positivity. It is corny in parts, but I actually love that; reading a few pages injects me with a feeling of being in love with life and with writing. It doesn't tell me how to write a story outline or realistic dialogue; but it does have me chomping at the bit to reach for the pen and get my thoughts down.
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Format: Paperback
This is a lovely book written by someone who obviously 'gets' and adores writing.
I too am always at switch off point when God is mentioned but he is here in a 'and my Mum says' type way.....never forced into the readers face.
This woman is someone you'd meet in starbucks and you'd get talking to her and then inspired by her thoughts on writing.....lovely
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Format: Paperback
Reading Anne Lamott is like sitting
down with a close friend who shares all of your idiosyncracies and insanities, as well as
your warped sense of humor. Bird by Bird gives Lamott's view of the writing life and
confronts all of the little details and major crises faced by anyone who's ever wanted to
write. Filled with warm and witty anecdotes from her own writing career and from the
classes she teaches, Lamott takes you gently by the hand and then proceeds to push, pull,
or drag you to the pencil or the keyboard because you suddenly feel that you have to write
something, right now! This is a book to keep next to the bed or the computer,
or wherever else you're likely to be when you need a nudge to keep going and a major
dose of inspiration. Read this book with a highlighter grasped tightly in your sweaty palm,
because you're going to want to come back to certain lines over and over again. Highly
recommended.
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