Maria Popava of wrote a great review of Bird by Bird. For a condensed version of Lamott’s writing advice, I give you a list created by Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project:

  1. Write regularly, whether you feel like writing or not, and whether you think what you’re writing is any good or not.
  2. Give yourself short assignments. Keep it manageable so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  3. Write sh*tty first drafts. Don’t expect a piece of writing to flow perfectly out of your fingers on the first go.
  4. Let the Polaroid develop; in other words, observe, watch, listen, stay in the moment, until you understand what you want to write about.
  5. Know your characters.
  6. Let the plot grow out of the characters.
  7. “If you find that you start a number of stories or pieces that you don’t ever bother finishing…it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately. You need to put yourself at their center, you and what you believe to be true or right.”
  8. Figure out ways to jam the transmissions from Radio KFKD, the interior station feeding doubts and criticism into your brain. Especially about jealousy of other writers.
  9. Have pen and paper ready at all times. (Lamott always carries an index card.)
  10. Call around. Ask for help.
  11. Start a writing group.
  12. Write in your own voice.
  13. Being published brings a quiet joy, but it doesn’t transform your life, and eventually you have to write again.
  14. “Devotion and commitment will be their own reward.”


Creating a writing space can also put you in the mindset to write. This could be a coffee shop or a home office. I would advise having a lot of space to spread out. I use piles to keep myself organized when I have multiple deadlines going on. A spreadsheet allows me to keep track of what project I’m working on and what self-imposed deadline I have to meet that day or week. I can most be found at the kitchen table when I write.

I’d like my home office to look like this



But for the time being it looks something like this (without the glamorous outdoors in the background).

ideal writing space 3 forest

  1. Addison says:

    The current trends in commercial interior design are reflecting a major shift away from the mundane environment that is often associated with offices and commercial areas. It seems that the latest commercial interior designs are being influence by the hospitality industry, the economy and the need for authenticity.

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