Bird by Bird Book Summary - Bird by Bird Book explained in key points
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Bird by Bird summary

Anne Lamott

Some Instructions on Writing and Life

4.5 (138 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is a must-read for all aspiring writers. Lamott's witty and honest advice on writing provides practical tools and insights on the writing process, emphasizing the importance of taking it one step at a time.

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    Bird by Bird
    Summary of 11 key ideas

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

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

    The first step is learning how to relax, stand apart from people and observe closely.

    You know the kind of people you notice standing in the corner at a party, watching everyone? Good writers are a similar breed: they often choose to distance themselves from the crowd, observing everything they see, and take notes.

    The writer’s job is to articulate what she sees and experiences. This requires an ability to relax and focus so that nothing escapes her notice. It’s important not to rush the process, or force anything.  

    In other words, you have to learn to pay attention. Take time to observe everything around you: the curious gait of a stranger, the unique way the morning light catches a lover’s profile, how thinking about a childhood memory makes you feel.  

    There’s another reason that observing and noting your world is critical in becoming a good writer. The best writing is about conveying the truth; the observations you collect will help you to tell it.

    Whether you believe that your observations will make good material isn’t important. Your main task is to try to find the truth in what you’ve observed, and figure out how to use those observations in the story you want to tell. That way, the truth will naturally find its way into your writing.

    Don’t be afraid to draw on past experiences as your main material. For example, take the time to reflect on and write about childhood and other memories. After all, as a writer, you’re lucky enough to look at life in any way you want to. You can turn over events in your memory like fallow earth, digging for the truth that is buried deep within them.

    Taking a trip into your own memory bank is justified as long as you make sure to look carefully and write from your own viewpoint as truthfully as you can. Thus you need to examine your self in the same way you examine everything around you.

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    What is Bird by Bird about?

    Told from the personal perspective of author Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird is a guide toward becoming a better writer and improving your life along the way. Lamott’s distinctive approach, honesty and personal anecdotes make this book a must for writers or anyone who wants to become one.

    Bird by Bird Review

    Bird by Bird (1994) by Anne Lamott is a must-read for aspiring writers and anyone looking for inspiration and guidance in the creative process. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • Lamott's honest and relatable storytelling draws you in, making you feel like you're having a conversation with a friend who understands your struggles.
    • The book offers practical tips and techniques for overcoming self-doubt and cultivating a writing practice, providing actionable steps towards becoming a better writer.
    • With its humor and vulnerability, the book navigates the ups and downs of the writing journey, reminding readers that mistakes and imperfections are part of the process.

    Best quote from Bird by Bird

    The truth of your experience can only come through in your own voice.

    —Anne Lamott
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    Who should read Bird by Bird?

    • Aspiring and professional writers
    • Anyone interested in learning about the writer’s life
    • Anyone who wants to learn how to establish a creative routine

    About the Author

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

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    Bird by Bird FAQs 

    What is the main message of Bird by Bird?

    Bird by Bird is about embracing the messy process of writing and finding joy in the journey.

    How long does it take to read Bird by Bird?

    The reading time for Bird by Bird varies, but it takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Bird by Bird a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Bird by Bird is worth reading as it offers practical insights and encouragement for aspiring writers.

    Who is the author of Bird by Bird?

    The author of Bird by Bird is Anne Lamott.