10 writing rules from Anne Lamott’s book

Books on writing popular not only among beginners but even among the best authors ever. When it comes to writing, nothing can guarantee you perfection and tons of perfectly written pages in few days. All writers struggle, even the greatest ones and the results are always unpredictable. If you a writer – you must be always curious, wandering and with the open mind.

The book “Bird by bird” by Anne Lamott became a huge success recently and as a person who just finished to read it, I can say – there are a lot of useful rules and tricks you will be delighted to know. The next article will be on writing exercises (based on three popular writing books) and this one is about 10 confirmed writing truth from the writing world you always wanted to know.


1.Writing requires commitment

To call yourself a writer, you must commit to writing and do it regulary, every day. Regardless what and why do you write right now, this piece of advice below is priceless: commit to the craft and make it a habit.

“Do it every day for awhile,” my father kept saying. “Do it as you would do scales on the piano. Do it by prearrangement with yourself. Do it as a debt of honor. And make a commitment to finishing things.”

 2. Writing is always rewarding

Remember this passage, when you are ready to give up your greatest dream.

“Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do—the actual act of writing—turns out to be the best part. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.”

3. Sometimes writing is daunting

The title of the whole book come from this nice story from Anne’s childhood: once her brother attempted to write a report on birds. The boy was overwhelmed by the task, so his father advised him to “just take it bird by bird.” The same rule works in writing: When you’re struggling to write, just remember that you can take it word by word, sentence by sentence, graph by graph, subject by subject… you know, bird by bird.

4. Writing is never perfect

There is no such thing as always perfect writing, but if you will keep trying…

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.”

5. Sometimes your writing can be awful

…and don’t be afraid of “shitty first drafts.”

“All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.”

Just begin to write, you can always fix and edit it later.

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper.”

6. Write until you’re done

The story is finished when you have nothing more to say. Writing is done when it’s done, stop worrying.

“There will always be more you could do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”

7. In order to write you need understand people and the world around

“Writing is about learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on. Your job is to see people as they really are, and to do this, you have to know who you are in the most compassionate possible sense. Then you can recognize others.”

8. Keep notes

It’s impossible to remember all your good ideas.

“I used to think that if something was important enough, I’d remember it until I got home, where I could simply write it down in my notebook like some normal functioning member of society. But then I wouldn’t.”

9. Learn to recognize ideas

In fact, good story ideas are everywhere.

“One of the things that happens when you give yourself permission to start writing is that you start thinking like a writer. You start seeing everything as material.”

10. Write through the fear

“I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good enough at it, and I don’t think you have time to waste on someone who doesn’t respond to you with kindness and respect.”