Bird by Bird

I should have reminded you that my use of “shitty first draft” comes from Anne Lamott’s splendid writing book, Bird by Bird. 

Lamott (if I remember correctly) credits Ernest Hemingway (all first drafts are shit) and other writers. But she puts it so well. Every quarter that I taught Creative Nonfiction, I used to spend one class session reading aloud Lamott’s chapter, “Shitty First Drafts.” It didn’t take 50 minutes to read, but students would want to talk about process after hearing it. And we wrapped up the session by taking a few minutes to write — shittily, of course.

Click here to read “14 Writing Tips from Anne Lamott.”

2 replies
  1. Abby Benoit
    Abby Benoit says:

    I found Bird by Bird for the first time at a book sale at the library across the street from our daughter’s house last month. I loved it. A perfect companion to The Artist’s Way. And she helped me understand better why it is necessary to write about the experiences which influenced us as children. I feel now like just starting to write about my childhood as a very long rough draft just for my own development, and perhaps some stories could be finished for the family.


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