Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Story - Bird By Bird

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeI gave a friend of mine Bird By Bird for Christmas. Then, when I went to visit last week, she left it on my bedside table for me to read - but I was NOT allowed to take it home. So I did what I had to do - read it while I was there :)

I've been messing around with writing for a few years now - it's 8 years since she laid down the creative writing challenge to me, but before that I wrote for work, and at uni and through school. And I realised that what I've learned and done instinctively over my life, is right. Right for me, anyway :)

These are the take home messages I got from Bird:
  • pour every bit of yourself into your writing every time you write
  • never be half-hearted
  • take advice
  • give yourself space, distance and time
  • if it takes 2-3 years to write a book, it's okay
  • write for you, not for publication
  • love your subject passionately or you won't have the impetus to finish
  • surround yourself with people who understand. When you need help - ask. When they need help - give.
  • finish things
  • you'll never run out of ideas
  • observe, scribble notes, pay attention to life
  • interpret what you see your way but write it real, with all the minutia
  • libel: mask all your characters with lots of different traits. Never let anyone be identifiable.

I can't say I liked this book. I skim read it because I wasn't taken by the author. Maybe it's US humour that I missed, but things fell flat for me. Sometimes I didn't want to know her. But her advice is solid and she's been around writers all her life, so she's picked up lots and lots of tips. I mean, that's a lot of take home messages for one book!

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