A review by yellow_star
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott

hopeful informative relaxing slow-paced


This is maybe THE classic book on writing novels in the US at least, but it's not the most useful book for me. At the end of the book I'm now reconsidering the wisdom of learning about writing novels from someone who barely wrote a handful of them. It's also a bit of a memoir of the writer's life, which is a pretty boring way to get writing examples unless you enjoy reading memoirs.

I think this is for people who want to write, but are too scared to ever get past writing chapter one of their first book. If you have courage in your writing, though, you can understand everything you need to from the front flap describing that the title is based on the author's childhood wisdom to write a seemingly impossible long school report on birds "bird by bird". Then for a bit more info read the table of contents- just that had enough info for me. 

If you really want to read the whole thing though skip the introduction or you'll approach writing as something done between bursts of alcoholism and depression even though in real life that will throttle your output and creativity as well as quality of life. The rest of the book also shows a totally outdated approach to writing as well, if you become an author you'd be completely broke if you took an incredibly long three years to write each new book.