April 15, 2012

Free as a Bird: ROW80 Check In

Okay, a bit of creativity run amuck with that title, but today I wanted to share a link to 21 free eBooks AND talk about Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.

First the link to 21 free eBooks, free TODAY ONLY (Sunday, 4/15) and sponsored by the Melissa Foster spearheaded World Literary Cafe. Please check them out here. (You have to be a member to view the free eBooks, but it's fast and easy to register.)

Now on to inspiration... so many of you recommended Bird by Bird to me. Thank you!

While Stephen King inspired me to read King (since I never had before On Writing), Anne Lamott inspired me to read anything and everything. A complete review of Bird by Bird can be found here, but here's an excerpt:

Every page looked like this

My oldest daughter owes Anne Lamott big time! Thanks to her Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son’s First Year, I survived my first year as a mother. Another new mom recommended the book to me. I clearly had been living under a rock, because I never heard of Lamott prior to this.

Fast forward ten years (and yes, I’m still surviving motherhood. I even added two more daughters to the mix). Many fellow writers were touting Lamott’s craft book, Bird by Bird. I knew I had to read it. If she could make me laugh and give me strength during the most sleep-exhausted and difficult (although insanely rewarding) early parenting years, I had no doubt she could inspire my writing.

Again, she did not disappoint.

Similar to Stephen King’s On Writing, I felt like I was sitting in the room with the author while she told me stories and offered advice. Her candor lulled me in like a comforting lullaby.

Not one to sugarcoat things, something I find quite endearing, Lamott emphasizes the idea that publication is not the end-all be-all for writers. It, like most things we romanticize, is not all it’s cracked up to be. Writing because you love it should be enough.

My favorite part: shitty first drafts. I knew I had them, but to know an author I respect has them, too... priceless. Since I bang out words with cramped hands, only to go back and find it needs quite a bit of work, it felt good to know I wasn't the only one. I feel the same about running. I look at all the other runners, and they seem to be gliding on air while I'm pounding the pavement. Literally, I feel like the pavement is moving underneath me.

I have to remind myself, as Lamott reminded me, that those runners have been running for years and in the beginning they were shitty, too. Same with writing. Very few of us, if any, write an inspired masterpiece in one sitting.

Does it help you to know other authors bang out shitty first drafts, too?

On to my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update:

Writing: I spent a minimum of two hours a day writing, but mostly on A to Z and review posts. Still, the juices were flowing. I need to polish a chapter on the Depression Cookies follow up today and write the next one.

Editing: I'm two-thirds of the way done with a huge project. I would have finished last night, but my vision started blurring. I figured it's never good to edit at 1am when you keep shaking your head to clear the fog. Know what I mean?

Blogging: Still loving A to Z. Since Wednesday, I talked about Kick it of Kiss it and Mauling Malapropism, plus Mom guest posted about Letting Loose. Plus, I posted my Bird by Bird review on Mom in Love with Fiction.

Social Media: I'm doing much better and catching up. Is it me, or are there fewer people this Round of ROW80?

Reading: Just finished another book last night, so I need to write two reviews.

Exercise: Rocking it. Doing better about sugar, too. Actually, I'm doing a sugar sweep tomorrow and getting rid of all temptations. Not just for me, but for my 10-year-old who just got diagnosed with high cholesterol. It's familial, but I'm not taking any chances or putting her on meds. Wish me luck!

Wishing you all a great writing week! Please check out the other ROW80 bloggers here.


Anonymous said...

Look at you this week just rocking it like a rock star. Awesome sauce :)

Julie Glover said...

Looking goooood, Tia! Thanks for the reminder about the first draft, which I would describe as "blech." I am currently writing a first draft and keep feeling like it should better now that I know better what I'm doing. I need to allow myself to suck for a while. The process of editing is when I refine the muck and find the gold.

Have a great ROW80 week! Keep kickin' it.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Loved Bird by Bird and On Writing.
Another really inspiring book is by Steven Pressfield and it's called The War of Art.

Tia Bach said...

Thanks all!

Ryan, Is awesome sauce bottled and available? :-)

Julie, I couldn't help but keep with Lamott's Shitty phrase, but "blech" works!

Cathy, I'll have to look into that one (I like the play on The Art of War).