Giving, Publication, and The Last Class

If I could sit in a classroom with Anne Lamott at the board it may take a bit of bribery to coerce me into ever leaving that room. As I finished reading Bird by Bird today I was overwhelmed with sadness. I’m sad to have reached the end of her lessons. I’m sad to be through with her instruction. Instead of sitting here writing about what I’ve learned I feel like unwrapping my old cap and gown and playing a little pomp and circumstance.

Having finished this book hasn’t quite earned me the distinction of a master’s degree, but the amount of information I’ve unpacked from this short book is beyond equivalency to most graduate writing courses.

Anne Lamott is a professional in every sense of the word. Her work is profoundly honest and insightful. So much of what I read in this book will continue to resonate with me for as long as I continue to write. If she wasn’t so attached to her privacy I would send her a letter to inform her of how much this book helped to shape me as a writer on my journey to finding my unique writing voice.

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Giving

The first lesson from today’s reading was about what it really means to be a writer. Writing isn’t about gaining for yourself. To write under the notion that it will solve all of your problems is naive. We write to give. We write to bring peace. We write to put into language what so many people feel, but struggle to express. Writing is about giving to others. Our work is a gift to the broader community around us. It is a gift given first to us. But our gift is also one to be shared with others.

Publication

As an unpublished author I oftentimes fall into the trap of believing that publication is the end goal. If one day I could hold a paper stack bound with a cute cover bearing my name as the author then surely all of my dreams will be realized and I will feel complete. Wrong.

Publication comes with its own sets of trials. To be published is to jump through the endless hoops thrown from agents, editors and publishers. The road to publishing is paved with self doubt and rejection. It’s a daunting road that climaxes on a release date that tends to come and go like any other day (or so I hear.)

In this chapter I was forced to refocus myself. To publish my work would be cool, but if that is my true dream I will be left unsatisfied.

The Last Class

Lamott closed this book with the many lessons she hopes her readers take away from her experiences. For me, I really connected with this quote, “devotion and commitment will be [our] own reward, that in dedication to [our] craft [we] will find solace and direction and wisdom and truth and pride.” (Lamott 232)

Above anything else I will take away that writing is about the process. It’s about sitting down and putting words on a page. Day by day and bird by bird.

**If you are interested in receiving a free ARC copy of Bird by Bird directly from The Ameri Brit Mom please fill out this survey. One person who submits to the poll by Saturday January 7, 2017 will receive Bird by Bird in the mail. 

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Letters and Writer’s Block

This morning I finished the section, “Help Along the Way,” from Bird by Bird. I’m nearing the end of this book on writing and life. Today’s reading is all about inspiration for writing and where ideas come from.

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Letters

One way we as writers can preserve our sacred stories is to record them in letters to our loved ones. Lamott talks about writing to her son, Sam, about what it was like to grow up as a Giants fan and in crafting the letter she draws us sentiments toward the game of baseball itself.

If I were to write a letter to my daughter I might choose to write the story of how I met her father. I would record all the little details from hearing his thick accent for the first time to getting butterflies when my friend mentioned his name after class one day. I might also write a letter to her about my many memories as the firstborn. From being the “trial” child (to say “I get it” when she is really frustrated with me) to what it really means to look out for the little ones would be the biggest themes of that letter.

Part of being a writer is preserving those stories.

Just over a year ago my family lost a gem. My great-grandma was a beautiful woman who impacted me in so many positive ways. After her funeral I sat down to craft a short poem to preserve her memory. I chose to do it in the form of a letter to my great grandma. This was published in November 2015, but rereading this letter today made me smile so here is Frozen Mochas and Fudge Donuts, a Letter to Great Grandma.

I remember the birth of my coffee addiction.

I was around nine or ten.

The frozen mochas stored in their glass containers,

Held in the freezer,

Thawed and served with chocolate fudgies.

The cement ramp leading to your home.

The creaking stairs announcing my arrival,

As I wound my way up to the second floor apartment.

I remember the joy on your face when you welcomed me in.

The way your place felt like home.

Photographs of the ones you loved strewn throughout the immaculate rooms.

The excitement as you led me into the kitchen.

And atop a bright colored place mat sat a ceramic plate;

A doughnut all for me,

And a frozen mocha.

This is where I go when I taste the cold espresso today.

My mind takes me back to those visits.

How precious are those memories: my great-grandmother, frozen mochas, and fudge doughnuts.

 

Writer’s Block

Nothing is more discouraging than a good ol’ bought of Writer’s Block. You sit staring at the blinking cursor on the blank page with doubts about whether your writing will ever amount to anything. In the case of running out of ideas the worst possible thing to do is to walk away. To choose not to write in those moments is to give in to the enemy’s voice in your head chanting, “You’re no writer.”

According to Lamott every writer should pen 300 words a day. Some days you may fly through that word count and exceed it. Other days you may produce 300 words about absolutely nothing, but it’s better than producing nothing.

Last year I had the chance to meet accomplished writer, Mindy McGinnis. While talking with her she told me that she believes there is no such thing as Writer’s Block. To her, there is only productivity and laziness. I tend to agree with that statement. As a writer, I view the world with a filter of vivid words and descriptions. The images stored in my brain are enough to inspire thousands of stories. Some days it take a little longer (and a little more coffee) to call up those images, but they are there just ready to be used in writing. There is no shortage of inspiration out there for writers.

Writer’s Block is defeated when we sit down and perform the discipline of writing. When we crank out our 300 words per day we find inspiration. It will not all be perfect writing, but there is something to write each day. Don’t lose heart!

The Ameri Brit Mom 

 

Radio Station KFKD and Jealousy

This week as I read through two chapters of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, the two chapters focused on the inner workings of the writer’s mind. More specifically, both deal with negative thought patterns and how to extinguish that inner critic. Every writer goes through a period of negative thoughts and jealousy so these chapters were relatable.

A few months ago I was feeling a little down about my own writing, and its practices like the ones found in these chapters that helped me remember the purpose in my writing. I don’t make writing a priority so that I will gain infinite success. (Sure, that would be great, but not the purpose!) Rather writing is a natural part of my self-expression and helps me deal with my inner thoughts and ideas. I enjoy creative expression and I feel like God has gifted me with the ability to use written word to encourage and inspire others.

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Radio Station KFKD

This chapter of Bird by Bird is about our inner voice and its tendency to get between us and our writing. It can serve as a confidence crusher or a distraction when it is needed most. According to Lamott, the best way to combat our minds when they try to betray us is to establish writing routines that help us drown out the voices of our minds to allow for the voices of the characters to ring through.

We all struggle with the value of our own writing and oftentimes the same voice in our head that tells us that “no one would ever read this garbage” also envisions what it would be like to hold a book with your name on the cover. The voices are half the battle.

By establishing writing routines you can quickly recognize when the voices are out of control and have some go-to tools for defeating those voices. For me, I like a semi-quiet room, a cup of coffee (or two) and I also like to pray a little bit for distractions to be lifted. It’s crazy what all I can accomplish in such a short time if I adhere to my routines.

Jealousy

This is a natural state for many writers. As each of us works toward goals we have set we see that others get there a little quicker than we do. We watch as writers (who in our opinion are inferior to us) are met with success time and time again. We may even have conversations with these writers where they never fail to bring up the fact that they just got a book deal or have moved on to publish their third book.

Jealousy is real, but it shouldn’t be our natural reaction to others who find success.

As a writer, nothing kills our inspiration quicker than a bad case of envy. If we start measuring ourselves against anyone but ourselves we will quickly become bitter about the craft. Writing while bitter is a tragic mistake.

If you find yourself drowning in jealousy remind yourself about why you write. Do you write to become rich and famous? (I sure hope not…odds are so slim that will ever happen to anyone.)

We write because we have been gifted in this way. We have stories to tell that others need to hear. Success isn’t measured in dollar amounts. Keep in the forefront of your mind that success is when the things that you write touch another. It’s success if five people like your writing. In the end, a true writer should measure success not on movie deals, dollar amounts, or publishing, success is working hard to see a project through and growing in the craft along the way.

The Ameri Brit Mom

The Moral Point of View and Broccoli

This week has been a rewarding one in my writing career. I’ve recently joined an online critique group and have been overwhelmed with the positive and constructive feedback from authors and others aspiring to that title. I’ve met a few writing coaches who have helped me with my letters to agents and I’ve also developed friendships with other writers whose work I admire. Each morning this week I’ve awoken to feedback from people within the group from all over the world. This is something I have needed for a long time. I’ve been longing for a writing community and am so happy to have found a place that feels like home already.

As I open Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott I am happy to say that the wisdom I took from this week’s reading was received right on time. I had been struggling with a story I’m working on and trying to defeat writer’s block. I needed the reminders from both chapters today which encouraged me to look within myself for the moral point of view of my story as well as to my intuition in order to hear the voice of the character I’m currently wrestling with in my mind. I hope you will find my summaries of these chapters insightful!

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The Moral Point of View

“There is no point gathering an audience and demanding its attention unless you have something to say that is important and constructive.” (Lamott 108)

Within each person lies a moral compass. An internal directive which distinguishes between good, bad, and evil. Within each reader is the desire to interact with characters and conflicts that test that moral compass and strengthen its tendency toward True North.

Writing is an expression of our moral points of view as authors. We write about problems of our world and mask those things behind fictitious characters and settings. Our stories are born of human experience and blanched in lessons of life.

Although setting out to teach a lesson is seldom our goal as writers we become teachers in our craft as we highlight what is important to us in our novels. I love the quote above by Anne Lamott which speaks to the fact that our stories should all in some way reflect this life and apply to the grander scheme of humanity. There should be something to learn or glean from your work. So what are you trying to tell the world with your story?

Broccoli

One of the most important resources in a writer’s arsenal is their intuition. Many of us had our intuition suppressed long ago as children. Things that we were certain of despite their insanity were scoffed at by adults or peers in our lives. As a writer, you really have to reclaim that intuition. To write from a rational mind only is to create dull stories full of true conflicts and characters based on all of your friends (or enemies.)

When you are able to think outside of the rational, your characters begin to take on a life of their own. Your intuition surrenders to their lives and the world in which they live instead of controlling those aspects of the story.

Anne Lamott uses broccoli as a metaphor for her intuition because of an old skit with Mel Gibson when he is told to, “Listen to your broccoli, it will tell you how to eat it.” It’s the same principal with writing. If you try to dictate your characters and plot then you will end up with a drab reflection of reality. Listen to the characters in your mind. Let them have the freedom to write their own stories. Be the vessel that communicates on their behalf. Do not stifle the irrational mind.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Dialogue and Set Designs

It’s been a long week and I’ve accomplished little in regards to writing.

I was looking forward to cracking open Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott all week. Her writing is so relatable. As I am working my way through her book I feel like she gets me. As a writer sometimes I see the world a little differently and Lamott does a fantastic job defining the role of a writer and making me feel like I’m not the only person who memorizes conversations I overhear or constantly writes prose in my mind as I observe the world around me.

Today as I read about dialogue and set designs I got excited about revisiting my novel Encounters on Park Bench and refining both of those aspects. Things are moving forward with my book and I’m currently in the process of getting manuscripts out to agents. I covet advice and well-wishes to help me get through this daunting process. It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of publishing, though, that I lose sight of the value of writing every day. I’m so thankful I have decided to read Bird by Bird, because it is igniting my passion for writing that has been snuffed out a bit by sending out query letters, receiving news of rejection, and waiting.

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Dialogue

Nothing is more telling about the characters in your story than their dialogue. You can describe them and their feelings until your hands fall off from overuse, but dialogue will be just as effective and use much less energy to produce. A character’s voice can reveal so much: how they feel, what they think, where they come from, what they enjoy, what they hate, how they dress, the people they spend time with, etc. The list of things that dialogue can tell us about a character can go on and on.

Something within a reader exhales when after pages of description they find themselves privy to actual conversations between characters. One paragraph of dialogue can reveal more than five pages of description. The beauty behind dialogue is that it can be so succinct, yet so informative.

The hardest part of dialogue is getting it right. Finding a character’s voice is no easy task. A reader will pick up on the inaccuracy of dialogue if it is there so you want to be sure that the voice you give your character is authentic. Nothing is more distracting than poorly written dialogue. Dialogue in a story should be a tool to propel the reader into the body of the character it should not be a distraction to the plot or sequence of events.

In my book Encounters on a Park Bench, finding the voice of my main character, Kurt, was the hardest part of the whole book. In my first few drafts I struggled to nail his voice. What background do I have with homeless men in Chicago? None. But it is through research and combing through my subconscious that I was able to finally hear the voice of my uneducated, broken, recovering alcoholic protagonist. His son on the other hand-an educated journalist-came much quicker to me.

Set Designs

As a writer it is unfair to think that you have to possess extensive knowledge on every type of scene you craft in your books. To expect that you could dream up a perfect paradise in Bermuda without ever having stepped foot on a beach is absurd. To detail the ancient ruins of China without the experience of wandering one Asian street is naive. The good news is that just because you haven’t been to these exotic or notorious places doesn’t mean that you are confined to only write from your personal experience. The Good Lord gave us friends, phones, and the internet as resources. Writers should write as much as possible on their own experiences, but then they may turn to resources when it comes to things beyond their knowledge. That’s what friends are for.

In this chapter, Lamott discusses a novel that she wrote about a woman who loved to garden. Like me, Lamott characterizes herself as a plant killer. Her knowledge of gardening is small and her experience minimal. In her strife to write about gardening she turned to a local nursery and partnered with a gardener to write and describe a lovely garden in her novel. Together they designed a set that was so accurate that Lamott’s readers were astonished to discover that she does not possess a green thumb of any kind.

Designing sets for our characters can be a daunting task especially if we limit ourselves to our own travels. I could never write a story on my own about a wealthy person living in California or a tale of a homeless man in Chicago.

As a writer, lean into your resources. Develop relationships and work with others to refine your work.  Dream up settings that you could never craft and work cooperatively with another to design that set. Writing is not a solo project.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Character and Plot

I love my Saturday mornings soaking up the advice and wisdom of Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird. Her wisdom challenges me as a writer and gives me things to think about to refine my own pieces. As many of you know, I’ve written a book, Encounters On a Park Bench,  which is currently being marketed to agents and publishers. I will continue to edit and process this work until the day press meets paper. I’m also working on a second book, A Walk from Winleigh, which will be a young adult story. As I read through Bird by Bird I am compelled to strengthen my own writing and to heed the valuable advice from such a celebrated author. Today, I spent time thinking about the importance of character development and a character-driven plot.

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Character

The lifeblood of any work of fiction rests on the characters of that tale.

Characters are not developed over night. As a writer, it takes weeks, months, or even years to fully grasp the ins and outs of a character. To truly know the characters in your story you have to get down to the minute details and learn what makes them unique, why they act the way they do, and many other assorted details.

In my book, this was one of the most time consuming parts of writing. I started with an idea. I knew I wanted my protagonist to be a homeless man, but it took two years to really understand the many facets of his personality. His dialogue has been the most challenging bit of the whole book. As an English teacher, I’m a devout grammarian, but the thing with dialogue is that  it is an opportunity to further develop the personality of a character. Which means my homeless protagonist better sound like a homeless man not an educated instructor of secondary English. Refining dialogue is really all there is left to do in my story. I dread it the most because I know that much work still lies ahead.

A book will only be as strong as its narrator so be careful to develop a narrator that piques the interest of your reader.

Plot

Nothing makes a more compelling story than a plot driven by the actions of your characters. Sitting down to write shouldn’t be a task in which you know what will happen every step of the way. It does help to plan ahead a bit, but if you allow your characters to drive your plot it is impossible to know the climax from the start of the project. If you let your characters interact naturally the conflicts of the story will arise and the climax will form all on its own. It is glaringly obvious when an author pushes too hard his or her own agenda in a story. Focus on developing your characters and allow them the courtesy of moving the plot along.

“Your plot will fall into place as, one day at  a time, you listen to your characters carefully, and watch them move around doing and saying things and bumping into each other.”-Anne Lamott

As a final note on plot, Lamott gives the formula ABDCE (which comes from Alice Adams).

A-Action

B-Background

D-Development

C-Climax

E-Ending

This formula is meant more for short stories but can be tailored to fit the format of a novel as well. It’s a good starting point if you are a beginner, but it is also important to note that tethering yourself to a formula for writing will almost ensure that your story is plot driven as opposed to character driven. The latter is the goal.

The Ameri Brit Mom

School Lunches and Polaroids

The next two chapters in Bird by Bird are focused on the beginning drafts and inspiration for writing. So many of Lamott’s antecdotes resonate with me and have helped me as I begin to develop my first draft of a new story. Lamott inspires me to see the writing material in the every day moments of life and to focus on small projects: page by page, chapter by chapter, bird by bird.

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School Lunches

The single hardest element of writing is finding the inspiration for your story. At times ideas may come to you in dreams or visions, but other times it takes a little soul searching to nail down a subject. In this chapter of Bird by Bird, Lamott discusses that inspiration can come from the most mundane of ideas. When students come to her struggling with what to write about she generally points them toward the universal experience of school lunches. She tells her students to describe their lunch in detail. Before long, the writers have launched themselves into a memory-filled writing session equipped with sensory images and details that were just waiting to be unpacked. While some like Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) would advise an exercise in zen to get the creative juices flowing, Lamott would prescribe a good old fashion visit to your childhood to fuel your writing.

Polaroids

“Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can’t-and, in fact, you aren’t supposed to-know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing.”-Anne Lamott

When we sit down to write oftentimes we are paralyzed by the unknown. Most writing sessions have a purpose and we know where we are headed, but the road to get there may seem unclear. There are days when this is exciting, and days that we cannot seem to lift off because we let uncertainty plague our minds.

As someone who has finished an entire novel let me say that there were days that I sat and stared at a blank screen. I set out to work on Chapter 6, but had no idea what would happen in that chapter. Sure, I had a basic outline, but so much of a first draft is letting your characters speak for themselves. It’s about stepping into their world and letting them introduce themselves and their problems. As you begin to write you should see the story slowly develop the way a Polaroid picture develops. At first it may be unclear, but with time the images will begin to emerge. This chapter was a beautiful metaphor with which I could identify.

Just a reminder for those of you interested in purchasing the Five Minute Friday book (which includes a poem written by yours truly) use my link to purchase a copy on Amazon and all profits will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe–so we’d love to sell as many books as possible to impact these fantastic ministries!

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The Ameri Brit Mom

First Drafts and Perfectionism

As I begin my second week of reading through Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott I am taking a look at the chapters “Shitty First Drafts” and “Perfectionism.” In the writing world, I’ve heard “Shitty First Drafts” referred to time and time again. This statement has become commonplace amongst writers, but really took off from the pages of Bird by Bird.

Warning! This post is extremely honest and raw. Proceed with caution!

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First Drafts

Let’s be real for a moment. The first draft of anything is total and complete garbage. For the longest time I put off working on my own novel because I had the expectation that great novelists and authors naturally write well all the time. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. According to Lamott we write “shitty first drafts, good second drafts, and terrific third drafts.” After being through this process myself I must agree.

The first draft is all about getting your ideas on paper. You have plenty of time in consequent drafts to fine tune your writing, but the first draft should just be the place where you gather your thoughts and get your ideas hashed out.

Last winter I wrapped up my first draft of a book. I felt invincible as soon as I put the last period in its place. But those feelings of accomplishment were short lived. I went all the way back to the first chapter, and to my horror it was junk. I struggled with just deleting the entire manuscript I had spent two years writing. Luckily, I walked away from it that day. I let it simmer and a few days later I returned to it armed with a colored pen and a strong cup of coffee. For nine months I pushed through my second and third drafts. It was hard, but fun at the same time. And now that book has several query letters out to agents and may one day be a published book.

I found myself relating well to this entire chapter by Lamott. Somedays we have to push extra hard against  the inner critic and remember that nothing we ever read was written well in its first draft. It takes us several attempts to make an articulate piece. Give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft.

Perfectionism

Something I had to tackle early on in my writing was the major road block of perfection. Prior to starting this blog I only wrote for myself. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a writer. Ask my parents about the state of their basement and they may tell you that 3/4 of the boxes still housed there contain notebooks that I filled while growing up. I wrote stories of fiction and also about events in my real life. To crack an old journal open and begin to read would make me cringe because of it’s raw lack of perfection. But also sprinkled amongst the stories about Homecoming and crushes you may also find a rare gem.

As an adult I’ve continued to write. And when my blog became public in 2014 it was one of the scariest things I had ever done. The most horrific part of sharing my writing with the world was the knowledge that it would never be perfect. I was releasing my errors, my garbage and words into the world. Quickly I accepted that there would be haters. Some people out there would catch every single one of my typos and judge every honest thought I published. I’ve even had people message me with their own “critiques” of my blog.

Instead of letting the fears of imperfection paralyze me I decided to move forward. So much good has come about in my life as a result of making my writing public. I’ve been given multiple opportunities that a closet journaler would never have. I’ve connected with thousands of people I would have never met. I’ve had work published in magazines and also now a short poem published in a book. I’ve become an affiliate for Stitch Fix and get paid to share my love for fashion. And, because of the love and support so many have shown me I’ve finished a novel and am currently marketing my book to agents.

Perfectionism may seem like a strength to some, but I learned through my personal journey that perfectionism is actually just a facade for fear. Being afraid of making mistakes or sharing imperfect words is truly the definition of perfectionism. Writing has made me stronger as a person and has led me to a place where I could care less about rejection or judgment. I’m happy with who I am and I recognize that my writing is never perfect. But I let that weakness become my strength as I power forward just like Anne Lamott speaks about in this chapter.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Getting Started and Short Assignments

This week I’m beginning a new book study on a writing book that I’ve been looking forward to reading. The book is entitled Bird by Bird and it is written by Anne Lamott. Bird by Bird is a collection of writing advice from a national best seller. If you are unfamiliar with Lamott she is known for her raw retellings of actual events in her life. My husband introduced me to some of her other books a few years ago which he found in the Religion section of the library. Bird by Bird has made its way onto many must-read lists for authors. It felt so good this morning to finally open this book. My fingers danced along the crisp edges of the pages as my mind raced with excitement during these first two chapters.

As a writer there are a lot of things about me that others don’t understand. Ann Lamott gets that writers see the world differently. We notice the tiny details and are always on the lookout for inspiration. I’m excited to get to know Ann better and to receive her pearls of wisdom in this book.

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Getting Started

Flannery O’Connor once said that anyone who survived childhood has enough writing inspiration for his or her life. The problem is tapping into these memories. Some days we come to the table ready to write, but we have no clue where to start. In this chapter, Ann Lamott advises starting with your own life story and letting that guide your inspiration.

In addition to drawing inspiration, this chapter also addresses motivation for writing.

According to Lamott if you write with the sole goal of getting published you will likely burn out and writing will lose its luster. A true writer puts pen to paper because they want their voice to be heard and they have a story to tell. Whether or not those words make their way to the physical page of a real book should have no bearing on your view of yourself as an author. You write because you love to and not because you want to be rich and famous. (I’ve actually done a little research here and even some of the most successful writers are not rich. Well, almost most of them. I’m pretty sure J.K Rowling is sitting pretty, but she’s an outlier with a million dollar movie deal.)

Find enjoyment in your writing. Even if no one else ever sees a word you write-do it for you!

Short Assignments

This chapter was exactly what I needed this morning. I woke up a little early, brewed an extra strong pot of coffee, and came prepared to start knocking out chapters of my second book. My idea is there. I’ve even created an outline. The problem is…I have no idea where to start.

I can remember when I wrote my first book. It took me days to get off the runway. I sat with a pen and paper and just stared at the idea and outline in front of me. The fear of not knowing how it would end and what sort of subplots may come to be throughout the pages overwhelmed me into paralysis. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to tackle one small part of that book at a time that I was able to see progress. I didn’t let myself think about the fact that it may take two years to finish, I just focused on page by page, chapter by chapter, and bird by bird.

In this chapter Lamott discusses the namesake for the book Bird by Bird. It is the idea that you shouldn’t focus on the big picture as your work to accomplish a book. Break your project up into many short assignments. With a much smaller goal it is easier to trek along and you see progress every time you write.

Right after I publish this post today I’m opening up a new word document. I am going to start with describing my main character. If that’s all the further I get today I will be happy. Writing a book isn’t about sitting down and getting it finished in one month. It’s a slow process with several small milestones. I’m choosing to focus on those milestones instead of letting myself feel overwhelmed. I’m really excited about my new story. It’s a young adult novel set in a futuristic war torn England.

In summation of these first two chapters of Bird by Bird I leave you with these two thoughts:

  1. Write about what you know.
  2. Focus on one small assignment at a time.

The Ameri Brit Mom