Bird by Bird Book Summary By Anne Lamott

*This post contains affiliate links, and we may earn an affiliate commission without it ever affecting the price you pay.

At Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott offers readers the perfect guide for becoming a better writer and improving their life in the process.

But this is not like your standard writing book — Lamott takes a unique approach that includes personal experiences and honest stories.

This makes it unlike any other resource on writing out there and also ensures it’s a must-read for anyone looking to become a better writer.

Lamott’s stories are woven together in this book, which provides you with insights into how she became inspired to start writing.

The book is filled with tips and advice that have been tailored to every level of writer, from novice to experienced.

Whether you’re an aspiring author or aiming to improve your everyday writing skills, you'll get something valuable from reading this book!

Bird by Bird

Book Name: Bird by Bird (Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

Author(s): Anne Lamott

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Communication Skills

Author Bio

Anne Lamott is an acclaimed writer, author and educator.

Having written seven novels, including the beloved 'Traveling Mercies' and 'Hard Laughter', her works stand as some of the most prolific in American literature.

She is also a beloved writing coach and mentor, having shared the knowledge presented in her popular books with aspiring writers the world over.

With an expansive and impressive portfolio of works, Anne Lamott stands out as a much-beloved teacher of great literature.

How To Find Your True Writer’S Voice With Anne Lamott’S Bird By Bird Guide

 Anne Lamott'S

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott provides a comprehensive approach to writing and exploring the writer’s life, giving you the tools necessary to become the great author you were meant to be.

Through wit and honesty, she shows how you can cultivate the discipline, commitment and focus required to hone your craft.

Furthermore, she explains why you need to slow down, observe the world around you and delve deep into yourself for material – this is key to unlocking your true writer’s voice.

Lamott offers tips on dealing with writer’s block, importance of producing a “shitty first draft” and techniques for creating unforgettable characters that come alive in your stories.

In her book Bird by Bird, she shares how, with determination and dedication, anyone can unleash the great writer within themselves.

The Essential Steps To Becoming A Good Writer: Observance, Reflection, And The Commitment To Truth

Becoming a good writer requires more than just knowledge of the craft.

It’s also important to have an inquiring eye and take a close look at the events happening around you and to you.

Good writers often stand out at parties; they observe keenly, distancing themselves from the crowd, taking in all the details and jotting down notes.

To convey their experience correctly, they have to learn how to relax and focus on their surroundings.

A writer should pause and take time to really notice everything that is unfolding before them – from each stranger’s peculiar gait, to every ray of light that caresses someone dear – without rushing or trying too hard.

This sort of observation helps to uncover truth, which is critical for good writing.

No matter what kind of material is gathered from these observations, writers need to hone in on the truth behind the story they want to tell.

So it’s not about what you can use for your story per se but rather recognizing when it’s there by using your own lens of interpretation – truer than fact – as your source.

Furthermore, delving deep into personal memories also provides fodder for great writing; let yourself plough through events like fallow fields with intent accuracy, as this stirs up powerful thoughts and emotions which can be used in your work properly articulated.

Writers are granted this special privilege and thus it is necessary to scrutinize oneself with equal effort as one examines everything else going on around them.

How To Unlock Your Authentic Writing Voice By Embracing All Of Your Feelings

If you want to find your unique writing voice, then being honest with the reader is non-negotiable.

You need to be open and true to yourself about your feelings – no matter how personal or uncomfortable it may be.

It’s only by confronting these emotions that you can truly capture the spirit of your words.

The key to expressing yourself honestly is through self-awareness: understanding and accepting the full range of your own emotions.

Without that presence and recognition, you won’t be able to express whatever is holding your words back — hindering your progress towards discovering who you really are as a writer.

By being present in every moment, even when faced with painful grief or anger, you’re able to adapt to emotional changes quickly and efficiently.

That acceptance will bring peace and balance that allows your voice to flourish freely, without limitations.

By becoming comfortable within your reality — all the experiences both good and bad —you’ll have a safe space where authenticity can flourish from all directions.

Have Faith In Yourself And Your Writing: The Key To Becoming A Great Writer

Becoming A Great Writer

When it comes to writing, it’s important to always have faith in yourself and your abilities.

Even if you feel like you aren’t doing a great job right now, with some practice and determination, you will get better at it.

You need to understand that there are going be days when everything clicks and the words just flow, but there will also be days when you stare at a blank page for hours.

If you believe with all your might that you should write, just do it– don’t worry about whether or not you’re a good writer just yet.

Put in the hard work and time to learn the craft and eventually this belief can lead to real passion for writing.

It’s something unexpected but valuable, similar to playing sports or music!

In addition, having faith in your ideas is essential.

Belief in what you’re writing is contagious – if you don’t believe in your words then no one else will either.

To do this, try and understand life and express what matters most deeply to you.

Don’t just write about dramatic events; take a look at even normalities too because they can mean something too!

The Key To Good Writing Is Discipline, Routine, And Commitment

It’s no secret that to become a good writer, you must establish a daily writing routine.

Many assume that writers are inspired and successful only when inspiration strikes, but the truth is that all good writers have formed a strict routine for themselves.

This way, you’re cultivating discipline which leads to success.

First of all, find a place that’s comfortable for you to write in and go there each day, even if you don’t always feel productive.

Then naturally start to arrive at the same spot around the same time each day – this gets your unconscious mind prepared for creative work.

You may initially feel bored or like nothing is happening while you sit down to write but eventually your routine starts having a positive effect on your writing process.

It helps clear mental space so you can create something meaningful and complete projects efficiently.

Remember though that even with a dedicated routine and commitment, what makes someone truly successful as a writer isn’t necessarily one secret ingredient or code – it’s their will-power and dedication combined with disciplined work habits and perseverance through difficult times.

Writing takes time just like meditation; it needs concentration and focus in order to bring out your unique voice on paper which comes easiest when done regularly at the same time every day.

Embrace The Shitty First Draft For A Better Writing Process

It’s natural to be scared of your writing when you are staring down that infamous “shitty first draft”.

But you can use the time to explore and get creative with no fear of judgement.

It’s perfectly okay to not have it perfect right away!

Just let your mind wander and freely dump all your ideas onto paper.

Many people think that you need an amazing plan or perfect wording for something good, but that isn’t always true.

Instead of getting bogged down in trying to make everything perfect, view the shitty first draft as a stepping stone and relax into it- knowing that you can clean it up later on.

The second draft is what really makes your writing shine; this is the phase where everything starts coming together and fixing errors from earlier drafts.

And finally, consider the third draft as a way to really fine-tune every single word and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

How To Create Unforgettable Characters: Get To Know Their Emotional Acres, Allow Bad Things To Happen, And Find Their Voice In Plot And Dialogue

Emotional Acres

As a writer, the most important thing you can do to create unforgettable characters is to get to know them on an intimate level.

Think of their emotional acre as the space where their wants, hates, needs, and loves grow and develop.

To understand your characters better, think about what they do and how bad things affect them – don’t be too protective!

Next up is finding their voice – one way to achieve this is by modeling your character’s personality on that of someone you know in real life so that it reads with authenticity.

After all, readers want to believe the words of written characters.

Plot and dialogue should also be crafted with an understanding of each character; put them into challenging situations and imagine how they would react.

Don’t forget that dialogue can be more effective than a lengthy description; pay attention to details like diction, pace, speaking style etc.

and read dialogue out loud to check realism against reality – this will help ensure your plot & dialogue flows effectively through your characters!

The Power Of Details: How To Use Settings And Other Elements To Create A Three-Dimensional Story

If you want to create a story that captivates your readers and draws them into the world of your characters, then paying attention to the small details is essential.

By incorporating relevant details that readers can identify with, you create an atmosphere in which they can live and breathe the story.

For example, describing a forest setting differently for a crime than for a family picnic will enable readers to feel the mood of each scene.

Likewise, understanding your characters’ private space and analyzing it for details can help readers discern their relationships and personalities without having to explicitly explain it.

As such, great authors should always keep their eyes open when seeking out clues that will boost the effectiveness of their stories.

This could mean taking notes on the number of steps in a grandiose mansion’s main staircase or counting how long it takes to walk from one side of the building to the other.

Not only do these details make the stories more vivid, but they also serve as tools which aid in plot flow.

Overcoming Writer’S Block With Intuition And Confidence

When you hit writer’s block, it can be tempting to keep pushing through and try to force the writing process.

However, this is actually counter-productive as it can lead to even more frustration and self-doubt.

To get back on track it’s better to take a step back and give yourself a break – something that will help you regain your confidence and get the creative juices flowing again.

The Bird by Bird book recommends listening to your gut when facing these situations.

Reach within yourself for the courage to trust and reconnect with your intuition.

Taking this time away from writing may feel like defeat but in reality it adds strength and power when you come back rejuvenated.

Rather than fighting against a losing battle, take a breath and allow yourself the liberty of stepping away from the project for a while.

Your judgment will be clearer and less clouded by exhaustion allowing you to decide whether a story needs more work or if it is simply not good enough in which case its best written off completely.

Remember that only your intuition can truly guide you in this regard, don’t be afraid of listening to what your gut is telling you!

Embrace Your Feelings And Use Them To Grow As A Writer


When we experience difficult emotions like jealousy, misery and fear, it can be tempting to shy away from them.

But as writers, our feelings can be a source of inspiration if we confront them.

Instead of trying to deny your feelings or push them away, use the writer’s eye to find the beauty within.

Channeling these emotions into words help both you and your writing to grow.

It takes courage to turn your writer’s eye on your weaknesses.

It’s also important to approach them with humor and generosity – otherwise they become incredibly toxic.

If you allow jealousy to grow unchecked, it could damage relationships with other writers and even yourself.

Instead, take a step back and recognize that what seemed like a monumental tragedy could end up being one of life’s sweetest moments – it all depends on how you choose look at it!

By looking at your fears, pain and joys with a fresh perspective, you can gain an understanding of certain characteristics in yourself and others – making for great characters in books that come from personal experience rather than just imagination alone.

After all, stories are drawn from reality even when they’re based in fantasy; what else is there but truth? So take the time to uncover yours – it will build strength as a person and writer!

Reaching Out For Inspiration: The Benefits Of Connecting With Others In The Writing Life

When you’re writing, one of the best ways to gain inspiration and feedback is by talking to other people who are living a writing life.

Don’t isolate yourself – reach out, spark up conversations with strangers in parks, or join a writing group and attend classes or workshops.

Finding the right people to talk to about your work can be tricky though – some groups have a reputation for being more critical than helpful.

So when you need constructive feedback, try and find someone who will offer both support and professionalism while critiquing your work.

That way, rather than feeling discouraged from negative feedback, you’ll feel encouraged by positive comments.

By sharing stories with others and discussing your writing projects in different settings, you can gain valuable insight that may be just what’s needed to take the next step with your project or book summary.

The Obsession To Get Published Is Misguided: Being Published Won’T Make You A Better Writer, Nor Will It Bring You Fame And Wealth

It’s important to remember that being a good writer is far more important than getting published.

Being published may bring you some accolades, but it won’t turn you into an excellent writer overnight.

You must put in the hard work and dedication before ever thinking of publishing your work.

That’s why it’s so crucial to strive towards excellence with your writing first and foremost.

Money, fame, and fortune may come later with getting published, but those don’t make up the most vital components of the craft.

What matters more is learning to be comfortable enough with being a writer so that you can take on even challenging projects without fear or hesitation.

Being well-versed in your craft and honing your writing skills will always be more essential than trying to get published for the sake of being published alone.

Ultimately, if you can reach a level of mastery with writing through discipline and practice, any form of recognition becomes secondary—even getting your book published!

Wrap Up

The final message from Bird By Bird is clear:

If you want to be a good writer, let your feelings take their course and don’t shy away from addressing them through your writing.

Also, observe the world around you and take notes on anything that catches your attention.

Finally, be disciplined in committing yourself to writing each day and don’t be afraid of producing “shitty first drafts”.

With persistence, dedication and an honest engagement with emotion, any writer can become successful.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.