From Anne Lamott:
Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."Lamott
uses this phrase
as the title of her book on the travails of creative writing
. Eschewing the spiritual perspective on writing of a Natalie Goldberg
, and the nuts and bolts of many "how to write" guides, Lamott's work is an unflinching and at times outright hilarious portrait of the psychological obstacles and quirky neuroses of writers like herself who spend much of the time not writing. Or trying to write. Or telling themselves it's time to write, and getting distracted by a hundred other unimportant ways to avoid writing.