“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts”

July 23, 2019

A few months back, I wrote about How to Overcome Writer’s Block, inspired by the advice of Cheryl Strayed.  When in the midst of heavy writing projects for clients, I find myself looking for additional sources of inspiration to help me tackle what sometimes feels unsurmountable at first – editing, content development, messaging, the list goes on.

Whether you’re a communicator, writer, or simply trying to get words down on paper that actually mean what you want them to say – I hope these excerpts from two works of Anne Lamott resonate with you as much as they did with me.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

“You don't always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.”

“The problem is acceptance, which is something we're taught not to do. We're taught to improve uncomfortable situations, to change things, alleviate unpleasant feelings. But if you accept the reality that you have been given- that you are not in a productive creative period- you free yourself to begin filling up again.”

“I don't think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won't be good at it.”

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

“If you do stick with writing, you will get better and better, and you can start to learn the important lessons:  who you really are,  and how all of us. can live in the face of death, and how important it is. To pay much better attention to life, moment by moment, which is why you are here. “

“Leave in the nuggets of life, illuminating and compact, where the reader can taste a soupçon of truth, or laugh and have to turn the page, like a child. Three things abideth: voice, a story, a trustworthy narrator; but the greatest of these is story.”

“Stories are flashlights. You. Shine a light in one place – an attic floor, a canyon wall, or a memory – and then describe it the best you can. Maybe you need to find a photo of it in a book, or maybe it is right there in. your memory, on the screen behind your eyes.”

Becky Sennett

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