Anne Lamott`s ‘Bird by Bird’

I am currently rereading a book by Anna Lamott that is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a memoir/ instructional book on writing for writers. If you have never read any of Anne’s stuff I think you’re in for a real treat.  The book, “Bird by Bird,” is one that I reread as often as I can, especially if I need to be inspired.  Anne is down to earth, funny, and very insightful as to what it takes to write in a way that captures the reader.
There are many of us out there who love to write. We are even good at it. We know grammar and syntax, we know how to construct a sentence, but, we don’t know how to make the fickle reader turn the page.  Anne does not go into the constructs of writing a sentence or where to put the dreaded comma; rather, she tells the writer how to catch the attention of a reader, and, how to enjoy what we do—write.
In her book, Anne touches on the all-consuming dream of becoming a published author. She tells her own stories of whoa and frustration in regard to her first published work and how exhilarating, and yet, exasperating it was.  She said she never made enough money to live off her writing until her fourth publication and laughs at how prestigious all writers think they are when they become “published.” She said she felt as though she was finally vindicated when she saw her first work in print; however, she also alludes to the fact that many writers never really make it big, and most, never even make a good living.
I love one part in the book where she tells her students–in a writing class she taught for over 10 years–these brutal truths. She say’s, quote: “My writing friends, and they are legions, do not go around beaming with quiet feelings of contentment. Most of them go around with haunted, abused, surprised looks on their faces, like lab dogs on whom very personal deodorant sprays have been tested.”
I busted a gut on that one. Man…could I relate. I published my book “Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems,” in August of 2011. I had arrived. I was published. I was validated. I soon learned the lesson that all published authors learn, it is quite a different matter between publishing a book and selling a book.
My book has done well for my first run. I self-edited the book, and I still see grammatical errors when I read it—oh well. I sold some copies but then I read Anne’s book for the first time, and I made a decision. I decided it was much more important to be read than to make money at this point in my career. I went on the site and changed the book price to free–downloads of my book started pouring in.  My book has stayed in the top ten of free eBooks under poetry for over 6 months now. It is climbing the list of the most downloads rapidly (currently on page 6).  I have not made any money on this book; however, I have made a name for myself and readers have responded well.
I wanted to write this post today to speak to my fellow writers who know that feeling of working so hard on your dream. I know what it is like to want to be read, to have someone say that your words touched them—this is why we write. Hang on, don`t give up, keep writing, and make the commitment to become the best you can be. Anne says anyone can learn this craft, some are better than others, it’s true, but, keep writing.  She tells the story of her father, a published author, telling her to write every day—every day! I hope you will pick up this book and read it; it is so worth your time.

S.W. Biddulph

Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir. ******** Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design of their books. ******** Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider. He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch. ******** ~ "I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul—to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real-life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told." ~ ~Scott Biddulph~


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm in complete agreement. I want to be read. If I make some cash on the side, it's a benefit. I don't tell stories to become rich (though I'm not going to say no 🙂 ). I write because it is a necessary as breathing.


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