Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Make Mistakes to Find Out What You Want

I was just reading the November issue of O magazine and thought this piece of advice would encourage you to take action in your writing life. Excerpt from the article Where To Start by Anne Lamott:

When I was a young writer, I was talking to an old painter one day about how he came to paint his canvases. He said that he never knew what the completed picture would look like, but he could usually see one quadrant. So he'd make a stab at capturing what he saw on the canvas of his mind, and when it turned out not to be even remotely what he imagined, he'd paint over it in white. And each time he figured out what the painting wasn't, he was one step closer to finding out what it was.

You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself.


Sometimes we are afraid to try something new. Some of us fear rejection and others are so used to doing things a certain way it becomes comfortable and we don't want to break the pattern. Then there are still others that think about doing something so much it becomes overwhelming and we give up. We need to remember that we can't plan for everything. No matter how many times you play out a situation in your head, it will always come out differently in the real world. The important thing is to try. If you make a mistake, "paint" over it and move on. You'll be one step closer to discovering what you really want or who you were meant to be.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 08, 2008


Monday Motivator: Bird by Bird

Looking through some of my writing books, I picked up an old favorite: Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Many of you are familiar with this national bestseller, which is filled with helpful, funny and sometimes provocative advice. Here are just a few of the sections I highlighted in my copy:

"A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up."


"Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can't—and, in fact, you're not supposed to—know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing."


"Take the attitude that what you are thinking and feeling is valuable stuff, and then be naïve enough to get it all down on paper."


"In the beginning, when you're first starting out, there are a million reasons not to write, to give up. That is why it is of extreme importance to make a commitment to finishing sections and stories, to driving through to the finish. The discouraging voices will hound you—'This is all piffle,' they will say, and they may be right. What you are doing may just be practice. But this is how you are going to get better, and there is no pointing practicing if you don't finish."


"Annie Dillard has said that day by day you have to give the work before you all the best stuff you have, not saving up for later projects. If you give freely, there will always be more."


Labels: , , , ,