Bird by Bird: Anne Lamott’s Timeless Advice on Writing and Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity
by Maria Popova “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.” Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (public library) is among my 10 favorite books on writing — a treasure trove of insight both practical and profound, timelessly revisitable and yielding deeper resonance each time. Lamott adds to the collected wisdom of great writers with equal parts candor and conviction, teaching us as much about writing as she does about creativity at large and, even beyond that, about being human and living a full life — because, after all, as Lamott notes in the beginning, writing is nothing more nor less than a sensemaking mechanism for life: One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. I started writing when I was seven or eight. I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. But, one might wonder, why?
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