Anne Lamott’s Rules for Writing

I had the pleasure of traveling to Auburn, New York last week to hear writer Anne Lamott speak. Lamott is the author of seven novels, nine nonfiction books of essays, and a popular wall of Facebook posts, whose frankness and candor about such topics as single-parenting, alcoholism and spirituality have earned her the nickname “the people’s writer.” It is her 1995 book on writing, “Bird By Bird,” that I return to every year or so, to soak in her wisdom and encouraging words.

Last year, upon turning 61 (her birthday was last Sunday, coincidentally), Lamott posted on Facebook a list of things she knows to be true. It’s worth the few minutes to read, as her perspective pertains to writers and non-writers, alike; anyone who’s creative will identify with her approach.

Here are a couple that I find particularly wise:

“All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.”

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”