5 Reasons Every Mom Who Writes Should Read ‘Bird by Bird’


It happens every time, doesn’t it?

You sit down in your comfy corner, a cup of steaming beverage, delicious sweet snack, and open a book, the paper scent mixing with the bitter coffee beans.

And read one sentence.

Kid 1 comes. “Hi, Mommy. Can you get me a drink?”

Because you love this interrupting munchkin, you water him like a tulip and sit down once more.

You sip your coffee, warm and creamy.

And read another sentence.

Then comes in kid 2.

“Give. Give,” demanding pigtails commands. You give her a bite of your snack. She loves you so much that she sits on your lap.

On your book.

Crumpling the pages.

Before I had kids, I could read a massive fiction book in a day or two.

Now, it can take me months.

But I still read. I love it. And as writers we must do it if we want to be better writers. Read anything you can get your hands on: fiction, poetry, articles.

And non-fiction.

Like the book I read not long ago that touched my soul, had me laughing and made me want to share with you.

[bctt tweet=”Before kids, I could read  book in a few hours. Now it can take me months.” username=”WriteAwayMommy”]


Bird by Bird

This book on writing kept popping up in Facebook groups and resources as a book writers should read to become better. I want to be better, so I eventually clicked the buy now button on amazon.

I just didn’t expect it would affect me as a mother as well.

Bird by Bird is written in three parts:
1. On Writing
2. The Writing Frame of Mind
3. Help Along the Way

And each part left me feeling inspired, smarter and ready to write.

But not inspired by fluff.

Anne lends real world experience and practical tips to get your butt in the chair (don’t move) and write.

According to the back of my book, the New York Times Book Preview says, “Superb writing and advice…hilarious, helpful and proactive.”

And the Los Angeles Times calls it, “A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.”

I agree.

But if that’s not enough reason for you, here are 5 more.


1. Have a Laugh

If we are going to escape the fabulous life of changing poopy diapers, feeding hungry mouths and combing snarled hair -motherhood- for a moment, we should at least have a laugh.

And Anne Lamott delivers.

I wouldn’t say its intentional in the way of a comedian, rather it’s just her character, like the way Jenifer Lawrence is real and down to earth.

You want to be like her, or at least be her friend.

And this book gives you the chance to laugh along with her. Out loud. A for real LOL. Even if you’re alone.

Beware, the kids may think you’ve lost it as you sit giggling and reading.

[bctt tweet=”Who has time to read? Especially moms. So if we read, let’s laugh and learn. #birdbybird” username=”WriteAwayMommy”]

2. A Student in Her Class

Anne Lamott taught a class on writing and makes you feel like you are one of her students sitting in those hard chairs, with a pen paper and eager mind.

She mentions her students as well, talking about the questions they asked and the answers they gave, making us feel like we are part of the conversation.

I wish I could have been there.

But Birdy by Bird is the next best thing.


3. Become a Better Writer

As a student in her class you get the awesome experience of reading Ann’s words and becoming at better writer at the same time.

You learn things like
• How it feels to be published
• Simple ways to find time to write
• How to keep writing once you start and write everyday
• Getting started
• Dialogue
• Inner Radio stations (the good and the bad inner dialogue of a writer)
• Perfectionism
• Jealousy

And there’s so much more than listed here. All written in a simple and entertaining way.

One of my favorite things I learned from Bird by Bird was the idea of taking a one inch picture frame. Sit your butt in the chair, don’t move from that space and write until you fill that small frame.

Then celebrate.

This lovely idea banishes the idea of writer’s block. Anyone can write that amount. Heck, you probably write that much in a text message.

You can write that much every day.


4. A Mother Can Write

When I bought this Bird by Bird I had no idea that she was a mother who writes too. I was amazed by her writing and joyed by her motherhood.

She is like us.

A woman living through pregnancy, motherhood and even the tragic death of her best friend Pam.

The subtitle to Bird by Bird is ‘Some Instructions on Writing and Life.’

Life. Motherhood.

Here’s a passage that shows herself as a mother and shows off a little of her writing style.

“My son, Sam, at three and a half, had these keys to a set of plastic handcuffs, and one morning he intentionally locked himself out of the house. I was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when I heard him stick his plastic keys into the doorknob and try to open the door. Then I heard him say, “Oh, sh*t.” My whole face widened, like the guy in Edvard Munch’s Scream. After a moment I got up and opened the front door.

“Honey,” I said, “what’d you just say?”

“I said, ‘Oh, sh*t,'” he said.

“But, honey, that’s a naughty word. Both of us have absolutely got to stop using it. Okay?”

He hung his head for a moment, nodded, and said, “Okay, Mom.” Then he leaned forward and said confidentially,

“But I’ll tell you why I said ‘sh*t.'” I said Okay, and he said, “Because of the f***ing keys!

If you enjoyed that quote from Bird by Bird, I can imagine her book about is son’s first year is great. You can buy it here.

I may join you in reading it.


5. A Title to Match the Book

I love birds.

My husband even calls me birdy.

But the first time I read the title Bird by Bird I wondered what on earth birds have to do with writing.

You’d normally think of a writing book to have a title more like Stephen King’s incredible non-fiction book On Writing.

But, nope. Birds.

It is memorable and caught my attention. And after reading the blurb on the back of my copy of the book, I love the name.

So simple, so real and helpful, just like the book.

Anne Lamott’s brother was doing a school project about birds. He became stressed over the amount of work he had to do and their father, also a writer, told him to take it bird by bird.

The blurb gave me chills. This simple phrase fits everything.

Take life bird by bird, in other words day by day.

Take motherhood moment by moment, cherishing the good and bad.

Write word by word.

And enjoy this heartfelt, hilarious and true writing book.

Page by page.

Kid on yourlap and all.

[bctt tweet=”Take life moment by moment and write word by word. ” username=”WriteAwayMommy”]



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