I am thankful to a blog about David Foster Wallace’s ‘Octet’ for introducing me to the works of Anne Lamott. She’s a writer I definitely need to get to know better.
So far, I have only read a PDF copy of one chapter from Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life’ but already I feel myself getting hooked.
One of her numerous pearls of wisdom is as follows:
“Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong”.
She is also an honest and entertaining speaker so her 30 minute video interview at Bigthink,com has also drawn me into her view of the world.
Anne Lamott’s words are encouraging because she doesn’t speak from some lofty position or subscribe to the notion that writers have to live in ivory towers. Her description of writing is as a process “toughing it out”, writing lots of bad stuff before anything good comes out. “I believe in doing things badly”, she says.
Her argument, which I believe to be rock solid, is that whatever you want to excel in (as a writer or as a human being) requires hard work and discipline.
What this comes down to is the unsexy but bitter truth that you will only achieve your goals if you are prepared to put in the hours and fail more than you succeed. You better believe it!