Living and Learning Bird by Bird
I am reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. I'm highlighting a lot and learning more then I can digest. I think it's really going to help me write better.
So far in my life time of writing, I've made lots of mistakes and from what I'm reading in here, I have also done a lot right. So that's encouraging.
I know now that I need to just write the crappy first draft (she doesn't say "crappy" ;-) of my book and just let that first draft flow out, not worry about structure and all that. Which I knew and tried to practice but I was too busy thinking about the friends that are reading these first drafts, what they might say or think, so I was trying too hard to make it somewhat "flow". No more, I gotta be content to write the crappy first draft and know I will butcher it later. Really know that not just say I know it.
But one thing I have been doing right is, I am writing pretty much every day, like she said and Stephen Pressfield says in The War of Art, this is a must. I also love that both of them say that doing this is VERY HARD. Everything fights it.
I have been writing since I was about 11 years old. I have always kept a journal. I have been told HUNDREDS of times what a good writer I am. BUT I still manage to think I am no good at it. I suck at grammar and spelling so that makes me self conscious and I also get all caught up in comparing my work to others.
I read Anne Jackson or Donald Miller's twitters and I think "they even write great in 140 characters or less!" And reading Matthew Paul Turner's book Hear No Evil, I marvel at the humor, the great way he structures conversations in the book. I love to read a great conversation. And Tom Davis, his book Scared is one of those that takes you right into that world, you feel each character and a few of them stay with you long after your done reading the book. But of course the most torturous people for me to read, in the best kind of way, is C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. The best of the best in my opinion. (See my top 20 books, Lewis and Tolkien occupy the #1 and #2 spots) Lewis writes not taking anything for granted, he is patient with his reader, I never am. And Tolkien writes the most fascinating characters, other worldly yet so human and he surrounds you with their world so that you know it completely.
I want to write like Donald Miller, Matthew Paul Turner, Anne Jackson, Tom Davis, C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkein! But thanks to my 11th grade education I'm often time to busy trying to spell correctly or structure a sentence so as to not sound like an illiterate red neck! Writing, the actually putting the words in print, typing them correctly, for me, is a lot of work.
Education is so important, learning to read and write properly is so important, trust me.
And the real deep truth is, I am not meant to write like any of them, I am meant to learn from them, soak in what they have to teach me like a sponge but I am meant to write like Carole Smith Turner because this is who I am. God made me to write the way he made me to write and the only way I am ever going to know and do this writing I am called to do is to do it every day.
So thank you all you great writers of great blogs, twitters, magazine articles and books. I am your student. God gave you all to me and I am very appreciative. And right now, thank you Anne Lamont, for writing Bird by Bird, I am your student, I am learning. God Bless you.