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May 08, 2017

Books for Writers: Bird by Bird / Books for Writers + #IWriteBecause


NOTE: I'm coming down with a cold, so it might take me some time to return comments.


Reedy's #IWriteBecause goes live today!

Hop on over to Twitter and use the hashtag #IWriteBecause to share why you write with us.


Let's get trending!

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I submitted a video for their campaign and explained why I write. My video was only 18 seconds, because I am nervous doing recordings, so I'll share a little more here. 

Ever since I was a child, I've loved to write, especially after my mom would write children's stories and read them to us. I started writing because...it was my destiny. A story idea came to me in the strangest way when I was twelve, and the rest Is history. lol 

As a disabled adult, writing is the one thing I can do. Thanks to the steel rod screwed into my spine, I often deal with back pain and restrictions that limit me from working normal jobs. Having the freedom of a writer gives me a purpose, a way to express myself, and it makes me feel like I'm doing something. It may not be a "real" job, but it's my job. It's my life.

#IWriteBecause it's my FREEDOM.

#IWriteBecause it's all I know.

#IWriteBecause I can!


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BOOKS FOR WRITERS:

One of my all-time favorite books written by a writer for writers is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. The subtitle: “Some Instructions on Writing and Life” is on par. If you don’t like how-to books, this isn’t one. This book is charming, funny, witty, and real. We get a glimpse into Anne’s life, family, and writing as well as sage advice about writing…and life.

Some chapters you’ll encounter are “False Starts,” “Plot Treatment,” “How do you know when you’re done,” “Broccoli,” “Someone to read your draft,” and “Writer’s Block.”



I jotted down many quotes from this book, and I want to share them:
“One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches and trams around.” 
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” 
“The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” 
“…my writing is like a person to me—the person who, after all these years, still makes sense to me.” 
“…other than writing, I am completely unemployable.”
“You are probably going to have to let bad things happen to some of the characters you love or you won’t have much of a story.”
“Just don’t pretend you know more about your characters than they do, because you don’t.”
“Of course, there will always be more you could do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”


QUESTIONS: Have you read Bird by Bird? What's your favorite book by a writer for writers?


63 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - it's great you are able to write and express yourself, as well as be such a help to us ... fairly non-with-it techie people - thank you for that. I've not read Bird by Bird ... but how clever of her father to come up with the title, one step at a time ... as we might usually say ...

I've not read any how to books on writing ... but my reference books, history and cookbooks have stayed with me for decades ... thankfully I just wrote - but only the blog ... cheers and interesting to read again your reason for writing ...cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If it's the one thing that sets you free, then you must write!

The Cynical Sailor said...

Thanks for sharing why you write. It's interesting to learn about everyone's background and what motivates them and inspires them to write.

I can't say that I read many books about writing. Probably something I should think about starting.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love the second quote, the one about hope. :)

Feel better, Chrys! Knock that cold out!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad to learn more why you write. Glad you can do it with your physical challenges. I know having a writing job has helped me with the life changes I have gone through,

L. Diane Wolfe said...

“…other than writing, I am completely unemployable.” - LOL! I can relate to that.

sherry fundin said...

I love finding those little nuggets of information that add to my life in any capacity, from a character quote in a novel to an author's quote in a DIY book. Thanks for sharing Chrys.
sherry @ fundinmental

Anonymous said...

I think a long time ago I did a little series on my blog where I invited people to explain why they write. I can't remember if I wrote a post myself or not. LOL

Bish Denham said...

I have read Bird by Bird, but it was some time ago. Still have my copy, maybe it's time read it again.

“The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” So true.

Lisa Thomson said...

Bird By Bird is the best. I have it on my kindle and can easily re-read passages for inspiration. Great quote choices, Chrys. I saw your video! Well done, Chrys and writing is definitely your destiny. I will try to submit a video today.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I love Bird by Bird. It's a very soothing, comforting book.

Hope you feel better soon!

A Beer for the Shower said...

I haven't read Bird by Bird, but I do prefer how-to books that aren't just outright how-to. Writing isn't something you can just teach via a basic instruction manual, after all.

Your reason for writing is inspiring, and it's awesome that you continue to do it, and so well, at that. Feel better soon!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have heard of Bird by Bird, but I haven't read it. Yet.

Pat Hatt said...

Write away and stay free at your bay! Haven't read that one yet.

Carrie-Anne said...

My Creative Writing Club at my first high school frequently used Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, either for the general advice, or inspiration for freewrites. We also used some book by Peter Elbow, which my dad was quite surprised to hear was still being used several decades after he'd used it in some college writing class.

Sarah Foster said...

Hope you feel better!
I don't know why I haven't read Bird by Bird. I used to work in a bookstore and would buy pretty much every writing reference book I could find.

cleemckenzie said...

I have it on my shelf. Met the author at a presentation one year and had to read Bird by Bird after hearing her speak. She made me laugh out loud during her speech.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Bird by Bird was so well written it made me insecure. LOL. That lady definitely knows how to spin words!

Liz A. said...

My mother bought me Bird by Bird years ago. I still haven't read it. One of these days...

nashvillecats2 said...

Bird by Bird sounds great, I have not heard of it before.
Enjoyed your post today.

Yvonne.

Stephen Tremp said...

It takes courage to put yourself out there on a video. Good luck with that. I'll be doing some videos soon for the first time.

Lux G. said...

I haven't read it yet but I think it's something I need to. :D
Thanks for sharing this.

Chemist Ken said...

My favorite book is probably "Plot and Structure" by James Scott Bell. I may not be great with words, but story structure makes so much sense to me, it makes me feel as if I know what I'm doing.

Magic Love Crow said...

That bird by bird book sounds fantastic!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Great quotes. I haven't read the book, but always thought it sounded great. I need to add it to my TBR list. I can use all the help I can get.

Christopher Marcus said...

Didn't Frida Kahlo have steel in her spine as well? She definitely had a steely determination to create, like you. In any case, to you question: After years of procrastinating or bogging down in edits or fretting about whether or not I could write something commercially viable, I finally surrendered and just ... write. And lo and behold, now I actually finish something! I think I wrote somewhere that I have recognized, finally, that I write now - because I need to. (Like breathing?) It may sound trite, but that's all it came down to, after 20 years of trying various models for writing and upping my creative output that never really worked.

Oh, and that Stephen King book - "On Writing" - that was always the one for me. I think I've read it 4 times already. It is a writer's best friend.

Christopher Marcus said...

P.S. Haven't read BbB but it is definitely on the list now! Thanks :)

Chrys Fey said...

I love to help out, especially the fairly non-with-it techie people. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

I must!

Chrys Fey said...

Join our book club! We read one book every two months and we swap between writing books and fiction books. :)

Chrys Fey said...

So do I. Thank you! O am feeling better, but it's lingering.

Chrys Fey said...

Me too. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Natalie! Writing has helped me a lot, too.

Chrys Fey said...

I joy down quotes all the time. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That would be a fun series!

Chrys Fey said...

A re-read might be nice. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Lisa! I was embarrassed to do the video, but I need to work on that.

Chrys Fey said...

Soothing and comforting are great ways to describe Bird by Bird.

Chrys Fey said...

Outright how-to books give me headaches.

Thank you! :)

Chrys Fey said...

You should. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I will always stay free. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I'll have to look for Peter Elbow.

Chrys Fey said...

Bird by Bird is a nice book to read. Personal, but also has great advice for writers.

Chrys Fey said...

You saw her at a presentation. How neat!

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! That's funny. And understandable. I felt the same way, too. :P

Chrys Fey said...

You should give it a read. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Yvonne!

Chrys Fey said...

It was just an 18 second video. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

It's a good one. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I just bought that book at a book sale. I'll be reading it soon. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It is!

Chrys Fey said...

Yes, add it to your TBR list. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It's funny you mentioned Frida because I've been doing research about her and looking at all of her art. The bus accident did sever her spine, so I think she did.

Surprisingly, I haven't read Stephen King's On Writing yet.

Chrys Fey said...

Great! I hope you like it. :)

Liesbet said...

I read BbB a long time ago and remember liking it. Reading books about (non-fiction) writing are my favorite books, together with travel memoirs. So, I am looking forward to the "Chapter by Chapter" discussion. I truly enjoyed and learned from the book "Your Life as Story" as well.

It is so wonderful that writing gives you freedom! Feeling free is one of the most amazing realizations, whether it is when being surrounded by nature and scenery or by words. :-)

Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

(Hope the link works here.)

Liesbet said...

OK. When I hover over the Roaming About link, it doesn't exist, because it comes up as related to your site for some reason. My "Liesbet" link now works, but I can only add my (old) Blogger website to the profile, not the Roaming About WordPress site... Thanks for pointing this out, Chrys!

www.roamingabout.com

New Release Books said...

I have BbB and enjoyed reading it. Good post, thanks for sharing!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I've seen this one recommended a lot, and intend to check it out, but haven't yet. Also, the way you work, it's totally a real job! :D

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for visiting!

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Shannon. I think it is. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I also love writing books and travel memoirs, especially since I don't get to travel.

You're welcome, Liesbet. If it were me, I'd want to know. :) I'm glad you figured out what was going wrong.

Yanting Gueh said...

Bird by Bird is one of the few writing books I've re-read. Another I love is Zen in the Art of Writing (Ray Bradbury. That guy could light a fire under ... anyone's bum!).

Chrys Fey said...

I'll be reading Zen in the Art of Writing soon. :)