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Write word by word

Whenever I feel overwhelmed or stuck with my writing, or any other aspect of life, I always remember this story from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird

‘Thirty years ago, my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”’

It’s wonderful to have a vision or a dream for a writing project. However, when you sit down to write, picturing the scale of the task ahead, thinking about how many words, scenes, pages and chapters are left to be written, can feel overwhelming.

This can be especially true when a deadline looms.

Although deadlines are motivating for many, a generator for creative action, anxieties over completing everything in time can create added pressure. 

There may be days you feel you’ll never get everything done.

On those days, put any worries or fears aside, write them down if it helps, then take your writing ‘bird by bird’, let it build up word by word.

Why not read Anne Lamott’s top five nuggets of writing wisdom here?

About Loretta Milan

Founder and Commissioning Editor of Lightbox Originals. On a mission to get the world writing and finding wellbeing through words. Loves books, tea, travel and art.


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