Sunday, March 27, 2011

New projects go word by word, bird by bird

Starting a new writing project can be so daunting. All those ideas in your head, waiting to be organized. All those blank pages. All that ... nothingness.

I think it's so hard to start over. In fact, I try not to even think of it that way, to even use those words. I try to look at it as just more storytelling, another chance to share what I'm thinking with a new group of friends.

I take it page by page, sentence by sentence, word by word, if I have to.

For motivation, I think of a story from one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott. She tells this story in her wonderful bestseller, Bird by Bird:

"My older brother, who was 10 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 the 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."

Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.

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