Tomorrow night, I’ll interview writer Anne Lamott at Symphony Space here in New York City. I’m a longtime fan of her work, so am looking forward to hearing her speak about her writing and her process.
It’s especially gratifying for me to do this interview, because years ago, when I was still in law school, Anne Lamott and I were both bridesmaids in my college roommate’s wedding. I was so intimidated by her, a Real Writer, that I don’t think I spoke two words to her the entire time. The intense discomfort I felt around writers was one clue that helped me realize that I wanted to be a writer, myself.
So, in honor of Anne Lamott, here’s a tips list summarizing, very briefly, some of the points she makes in her terrific book on writing, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
One line from Bird by Bird was helpful to me recently. I’ve been feeling a bit panicky about whether I’m going to be able to figure out the structure for my next book; I’m always anxious about a project until I get my structure nailed down. I took heart from her admonition: “Try to calm down, get quiet, breathe, and listen.”
What strategies for writing have you found to be helpful? Or for getting yourself to sit down and work on any big project?
Speaking of writing: one of my secret goals, as I've been working on my own happiness projects, has been to inject the phrase "happiness project" into the common parlance. Today, I noticed, the New York Times ran an article entitled "The Happiness Project" that had nothing to do with my work. Victory!