Book Summary - Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott

In the personal opinion of author Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird is a guide to becoming a better writer and to improving your life. Lamott's distinctive approach, honesty, and personal anecdotes make this book a must-have for writers or anyone who wants to be one.

This book is for

  • Professional and aspiring writers;
  • Anyone interested in the writer's life;
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to establish a creative routine.

About the author

Anne Lamott is a writer, novelist and writing teacher. She has published seven novels, including Traveling Mercies and Hard Laughter.

What does this book have? Learn to unleash the great writer in you.

Just Write, Live is a classic guide to writing and to a writer's life. From her unique perspective, writer Anne Lamott wittily and truthfully explains her approach to writing and how you too can find the discipline, commitment, and focus needed to hone your handwriting.

However, Lamott shows that being a good writer doesn't mean just establishing a rigid routine, it means slowing down your observation of the world, looking deep within yourself and your surroundings. Surround yourself with materials for writing.

In the pages that follow, you'll learn how to find the voice of real writers and create unforgettable characters that come to life through your stories. And with this, you can become the great writer you always wanted to be.

In this book, you will also discover:

  • how to deal with and destroy the "rocks" that writers often fear;
  • why writing a “first draft” is so important;
  • How to find your true voice as an author.

Being a good writer means writing about everything that happens to you and happens around you.

While there is no secret formula to becoming a good writer, there are some essential steps.

The first step is to learn to relax, separate from everyone, and observe closely.

Have you ever seen people standing in the corner at a party, watching people? Good writers are often the same: they often choose to stay away from the crowd, observe everything they see, and take notes.

The writer's job is to tell what he or she sees and experiences. This requires great relaxation and concentration. It is important not to rush the process or force anything.

In other words, you must learn to pay attention. Take the time to observe everything around you: the curious passages of strangers, the unique way the morning sunlight spreads over your lover's shoulders, reflections on childhood memories that make you feel see how.

There is another reason why observing and taking notes of the world is so important to being a good writer. The best writing is the one that conveys the truth; The observations you collect will help you tell about them.

It doesn't matter whether you believe your observations will produce good writing material. Your main task is to try to find the facts you have observed and figure out how to use them in the story you want to tell. That way, the truth will naturally find its way into your writing.

Don't be afraid to use past experiences as writing material. For example, take time to think and write about your childhood and other memories. After all, as a writer, you are lucky to see life however you want. You can turn events in your memory into wasteland, and then dig up the truth buried deep within.

It makes sense to take a trip into your memory bank as long as you make sure you consider it carefully and write from your own point of view as honestly as possible. So you need to judge yourself the way you judge everything around you.

To find your own voice, you have to be honest with your readers.

If there's one thing critics agree on about what defines a great writer, it's that writers have a "voice"—a unique style that encompasses not just the details of a story but how the story is told.

The only way you can develop your voice is to be honest with your readers about your true feelings.

You cannot discover your true voice without opening up to your emotions and facing the truths behind them. That's your main role as a writer: uncover and confront whatever emotions those doors might be hiding and speak with words that reflect your emotional truth.

This principle preserves honesty even when you are feeling deep grief or extreme anger. To make sure your voice is reflecting those feelings, the only way is to face them and accept them as you write, especially when you feel like something is holding you back. : for example, when your feelings are too personal or too harsh to judge closely.

To accept your feelings, you must be present in them – in other words, you must be fully aware of how you are feeling at any given time. If you avoid your emotions, or if you just think about them without fully penetrating and appearing in them, you will never be true to yourself or to your voice.

When you embody your emotions, you will understand that your reality – made up of experiences and emotions, both good and bad – is truly your home. It's a comfortable place, and you can be your authentic self there.

Once you accept this, you will begin to feel comfortable with yourself and with your emotions as a whole – and you are and will find your own writer voice.

Have faith in your ability to write, even when you think you're not doing well.

One thing all good writers have in common is that they don't worry if they're good writers or not!

If you believe you should write, write. With time and practice, you will eventually become good at it.

Of course, that doesn't mean writing will be easy. There will be miserable days where you stare at a blank page for hours. But there will also be days when a few clicks and words just flow.

The thing to remember is that every day has its own story, as long as you are patient and determined enough to see them.

For young writers, this type of belief is very helpful. While you may not be a good writer in the first place, you can still become good if you persevere.

Along the way, you can also develop a real craving for writing, the same way someone aspires to play sports or music. By believing that you will make a good writer, the frustration of not writing as brilliantly as you believe you to be can be replaced by the sheer love of that act.

Another way that belief is important to writing is that writers have to believe where they stand – whatever they're writing. If you yourself do not believe in your words, no one will believe you.

How to create such trust? Make an effort to understand life, and be interested in it, as deeply as possible. That requires a long enough and hard enough look at the simplicity of life and not just the big, dramatic events.

Write about everything that is important to you. Only then will you feel connected to your own stories and be able to find the right words to describe them.

To be a good writer, establish a daily writing routine.

A common assumption about writers, and all artists, is that they only work when inspiration comes.

However, all good writers often follow a strict routine. If you want to be a better writer, you should too.

Why? Because habit is discipline and discipline means success.

First, find a place to write and go there every day, even if you're not always productive.

Second, go there to write at the same time every day. By doing so, you ensure that your unconscious mind is ready to unleash creativity when you arrive.

The first time you set up this process, you might get a little bored and probably won't be able to write any articles at all.

You will eventually find this habit has a positive effect. You will begin to clear a “writing space” in your head in preparation for the creative work required for good writing.

The idea behind this method is to make writing a daily habit. While there will be times when you struggle to write, your routine will train the book energy to come at the right time every day.

However, even habit and discipline do not make you a great writer. Remember: there is no secret formula for good writing.

However, it is important to understand the importance of commitment to your work. Commitment, along with routine and discipline, is essential to your success as a writer.

The author admits that there are no secrets passed down in her family that can help her write well. She didn't have the password to "break the code" of being good at writing.

Instead, by reflecting on all the good writers she knows, the author has come to realize that they are all fully committed to their work and fostering discipline in their habits.

Writing is a lot like meditation: you have to be quiet in your mind in order to hear your inner voice. Establishing a daily routine, and sticking to it as a creed, makes it possible.

So far, you've seen what it takes to be a good writer. In the following sections, you will learn all about the steps involved in writing a book.

Don't be afraid of first drafts.

Many people think that good writing is entirely formed from the imagination of the writer. If you've ever written an essay in college, you know this isn't true: nobody writes a clear first draft.

All good books are the end result of a series of increasingly good editions, beginning with one person's construction of an idea – or as the author calls it “a lousy first draft”.

Even the most seasoned writers can find it difficult to accept their poor writing at this stage. However, it is important that all writers not only accept the first draft as a starting point, but also accept this stage of the process.

The first draft is a perfect opportunity for you to let your imagination run wild and play with ideas.

Don't think too much about writing at this stage – just write. Overthinking can backfire, stifling your creativity and frustrating you to the point that you might even give up.

Instead, enjoy it! The first draft is where you can get dirty, roll around in your own mud, liberated by the understanding that you can clean up the mess later. No one can judge you by your first draft, so just use it to pour everything you have onto the page.

Once you've created your first draft, you can start editing: develop your work, refine your focus, and improve your writing.

Consider the second draft as an “upgraded” draft, because you are fixing it. Think of the third draft as the “dental” one, because it involves puncturing and writing in the same way that a dentist examines your mouth, checking the condition of each tooth.

A good way to think about the whole process is to imagine you're watching a story unfold through successive drafts, like watching a slowly evolving Polaroid photograph.

Get to know your characters well; The plot and dialogue of the story are related to them.

Every good story has memorable characters and every writer wants to know how to create them. So how do you create unforgettable characters?

To create great characters, you have to get used to them. Then, once you understand them, it's your job as a writer to bring them to life.


Each character, like a real person, possesses an emotional pattern. Think of it as a space where everything that makes up your personality – wants, hates, needs, and loves – grows or thrives.

In your story, it's important to get a feel for each character's emotional appearance. Ask yourself: what acre of land is my character growing on? What is blooming, what is dying. What condition is the land in?

Next, let's take a closer look: What are your characters doing? What happened to them?

You cannot be too protective of your character. You have to let bad things happen to them. If they live an ideal life and behave perfectly, your story will become normal and flat – just like everyday life.

In the end, you have to find the voices of your characters. One way to do this is to emulate your character's personality with someone you know in real life, as this will give your character a "real voice". This is essential because – as readers – we want to believe that fictional characters tell us the truth.

Bringing characters to life also means allowing plot and dialogue to emerge from them. To do this you must understand them. From this understanding, your plot and dialogue will develop naturally.

Consider how your characters will talk to each other in different scenes – like on the train or at the mall. Bring them challenging situations and imagine how they would react.

Remember that dialogue can reveal more about a character than a lengthy description.

This refers not only to what the character says, but also how they say it – their pronunciation, speed, and manner of speaking.

Finally, to create a good dialogue, read aloud to check the level of reality and pay attention to how real people talk. Listen closely – are they using their words correctly? What distinguishes the way they talk?

Pay attention to details to create the atmosphere of the story.

If you've ever been smitten with a novel, you know how important details are to storytelling. Because detail makes a story more tangible and believable, a writer uses details to bring the reader "inside" her story.

An important detail is how the story is set up. A good setting can bring your story to life, making your characters' worlds more multidimensional.

As a writer, you have the ability to adjust any setting to suit your story and character.

For example, a forest where a crime took place will inevitably be depicted using deeper, more somber details than a sunny forest in which a happy family has a happy life. afternoon picnic.

A character's personal settings can also reveal a lot about them. The character's relationship to his space can shed light on certain aspects of his personality. For example, if a character wanders around his big house every day, this may indicate that he is a rich man.

Great details can manifest themselves at any time, so a good writer always has his eyes open and a notebook with him so he can jot down useful details as he writes.

But what kind of details? For example, if you're at a grand mansion for an event, note how many steps are on the main stairs, or figure out how long it takes to walk from one end of the mansion to another. From there, you can turn the character into a rich person in solitude just like the real thing.

Focusing on details can help shape your story structure. Usually, when a writer wants to check if his narration or plot is good, he will write a plot investigation – a detailed list of everything that happens in each chapter of the story. book.

When you have a solution, any lost details or absurd parts of the story will become obvious to you. For example, if a character dies in the first chapter but reappears one day in the last, you'll realize you've got a problem - unless you're writing about zombies.

First drafts, memorable characters, and vivid details can help you write well. But what happens when you run into trouble while writing?

When the writer stumbles on a rock, take a break and breathe so that you can find confidence.

This happens to every writer: suddenly, you simply have no idea what to write. In other words, you've been hit by the rock that the average writer encounters.

Feelings of creative emptiness can be debilitating, just like shame and frustration.

Fortunately, though, there are things you can do to get around this.

The first step is to accept you are being blocked (by the rock). Just admit to yourself that you're not in the creative mood right now.

However, make sure you stick to established routines and write at least one page a day – no matter how difficult the task of constructing sentences.

Ultimately, what will help you get over this rock is your confidence – that is, knowledge that soon prompts you to rewrite. In this way, confidence is like a pillar of support that keeps you upright.

But what happens when you lose confidence and inspiration?

This is a tough situation. But you can regain your confidence by listening to your intuition and trusting yourself. Try to stay calm, steady your mind and breathe – and listen to your intuition. No panic, you'll be connected and eventually back on track.

However, don't forget that if your intuition says that the story you're blocked from is simply not good enough, you still have to observe and respect that information.

The writer's block can leave a really great story incomplete. However, sometimes you will find yourself blocked – fighting because the paragraph, chapter or story you are writing is too poor.

So how can you be sure that you have to struggle or allow yourself to let go? Only your intuition can guide you.

Look at your weaknesses with humor and generosity, and then write about them.

We all deny our own feelings. For writers especially, rejecting one's feelings can lead to a great loss, since the value of what we feel lies in what we learn from those feelings.

This is true even when it comes to potentially dangerous feelings – like jealousy.

For a writer, being jealous of other writers is dangerous and has diminished potential. There is simply nothing positive to be gained from it; it just makes you paranoid, miserable and lonely.

Whether you pursue writing as a career or as a personal goal, jealousy can be a familiar feeling. For example, if your best friend's book was published for review while your founders were all the way up to Chapter 6, you might be jealous and decide not to talk to that friend. However, if you let negative emotions develop, they can extend to all writers, and even to you and your own work.

This is the poison that envy does: if you don't control it, it will poison your character and your writing life.

Regardless of your feelings – whether envy, grief, or fear – don't hesitate to avoid them. Instead, use the writer's eyes to see them and try to describe the beauty within. Completely experiencing your own emotions and capturing them in words will help you grow both literary and human.

Of course, dealing with your own emotions is difficult. Things like love, pain, and loss can be incredibly difficult to spend endless time with.

But in the end, when you come to terms with your emotions, you'll feel stronger, you'll rediscover your sense of humour. Crying and laughing are two sides of the same coin and over time, what seems to be the end of the world can end up being one of the more profound moments in your life.

As a writer, you can use all of these emotions to explore certain traits in yourself and in others – and then incorporate the characters in your story.

Find the right people and share your work with them.

The world is full of stories. There are so many people out there waiting to share their own stories, looking for the right writer – like you. All you have to do is talk to them!

Of course, writing is often a solitary endeavor, and for that reason many writers end up isolating themselves.

Try to avoid this in your writing life. After a long period of time at your desk, crushing all your work, you may start to show signs of dissociation – to the point where you can't distinguish fact from fiction.

Don't wait until you reach this level to reach out to others! Instead, look for inspiration in the lives of others. For example, you can create a conversation with a stranger while you are resting in the park; Their stories can inspire you. Who wants to miss the chance to tell their story?

Another way to draw inspiration from the “outside world” while you are writing is to share and discuss your work with other writers.

If you don't have a friend who is a writer, you can join a writing group. Creativity classes and writing sessions allow you to discuss your work with others who also live a writing life.

But beware: some of these groups have a reputation for being ruthlessly critical, and your work could be ripped apart by both instructors and other writers, causing you to lose confidence.

So when you feel like you need attention and you want an expert opinion on your work, try to find someone who can provide support and feedback.

Being a good writer is more important than being published.

Why are so many writers obsessed with publishing?

Sure, writers need readers. No one wants to write in a void.

Writers also want to assert their talents. For many writers, though, the desire to get published, find an audience and, ultimately, enjoy widespread acclaim can turn into an obsession.

And if you expect publishing to bring you fame and wealth, you will quickly be disappointed.

If you're lucky, your book gets published, you get some favorable reviews, some people come to you at the reading, and your agent can send you flowers.

But chances are, you won't get famous or rich from publishing books. The most important thing to remember about publishing is that if you weren't a good writer before publishing, you won't be a good writer afterwards either. Being published doesn't make you a good writer.

However, getting published means that you have achieved what every writer wants. It also means that the writing community applauds you, that you did well.

At the end of the day, what matters most is the journey you experience as you write – both the process of putting words on the page, the personal transformation, and the emotions you experience while doing the work.

So think of publishing as a special treatment. The real reward for all that hard work is living the life of a writer – achieving a handful of small goals each day and caring deeply about your work. When you think about it that way, publishing is merely a tool to help you gain readers, and nothing more.

And ultimately, writers choose to do what they do because reading and writing broaden their sense of life and feed their souls.


The main message of the book is

Being a good writer means learning how to be a good observer, learning to take notes about everything that happens in your life, and the desire to manifest the truth. Writing also requires discipline – best nurtured by establishing a writing habit and sticking to it on a daily basis. Once you're in the flow of the article, don't be afraid to create "early drafts," as this is the most effective way to start a project.

Give advice:

Don't escape your emotions; evaluate and use them at work.

If you want to be a good writer, you can't avoid your emotions. You have to confront them so that you can express your feelings as honestly as possible in your writing. But just thinking about feelings is not enough. You have to really feel them. While this can be painful, many writers find that the experience of writing about their own feelings often eases the pain that arises.