Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
It's a laugh-out-loud, get a tear in your eye, underline multiple passage and fold over the edge of the page, honest, endearing, instructional, well-written book. I pretty much want Anne to be my BFF or at least be a student in her writing classes.
I especially enjoyed how she wrote in a real voice. Sarcastic sometimes, or silly, or even ending a sentence with 'ha ha.' I love that. It's how my BBF would talk to me!
As you may know, I write articles for magazine and books. It's hard for me. Lots of chocolate is usually involved to ease the stress. Anne's book spoke to me regarding writing...
Start with a "shitty first draft."
She'd "...write a first draft that was maybe twice as long as it should be, with a self indulgent and boring beginning, stupefying descriptions..." "The next day, though, I'd sit down, go through it all with a colored pen, take out everything I possible could.."
"Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something--anything--down on paper."
Her thoughts are on writing...yes, but they apply really apply to making art.
"...if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own lighthouse. Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining."
and to life!
"It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship."
"..because helping each other has made their hearts get bigger. A big heart is a both a clunky and a delicate thing; it doesn't protect itself and it doesn't hide."