I came across this book while reading a book on scientific writing. A few passages from Anne Lamott were quoted, and that was enough for me to decide I needed to read it. So I did, and now I’m recommending it to everyone, even those who aren’t interested in writing. It’s ostensibly a book about creative writing, however it’s more of a humorous, insightful collection of stories on her experiences as a writer, than an instruction manual.

Bird by Bird

The book covers such things as how to start writing when you’re stuck or anxious or have nothing to say, it talks about plot and characters, publishing, reviews, editing and reading drafts, among other things. It covers a lot of topics that would interest anyone who wants to write.

Lamott writes from experience, in a personal and often funny way. She writes about her family, her son, her first book, and getting bad reviews. You won’t find a step by step guide on getting published, or world – building. What I did find inspired me though, and captured how I feel about writing, about my characters. This is why I think even non-writers would enjoy this book, to understand how it feels to write, why people write. I’ve recommended it to my husband.

So many times I’d read a passage and feel, ‘yes, this is why I want to write.’ I’ve finished the book, but I think I’ll keep it as something to refer back to, particularly when I’m getting too caught up in the idea of getting published. She has a lot to say about that: if you’re not enough before getting published, you won’t be enough after.