192 bird by bird

Stumptown & selfie | year of creative habitsI'm posting from Portland today! [Whoop! Whoop!] And of course I struggled to draw this morning. Same notebook, same pen, same routine but the new space and new time zone were hard to overcome. Yesterday on the plane, I got a chance to reread some of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. Her first few chapters relate to any creative work, not just writing. Getting Started-

You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively.

But you cannot will this to happen. It is a matter of persistence and faith and hard work. So you might as well just go ahead and get started.

Short Assignments-

...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, which 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."

Shitty First Drafts-

You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something--anthing-- down on paper. A friend of mine says the first draft is the down draft--you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft--you fix it up.


Your day's work might turn out to be a mess. So what? Vonnegut said, "When I write I feel like an armless legless man with a crayon in his mouth." So go ahead and make big scrawls and mistakes. Use up lots of paper. Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend.