books,  Uncategorized,  writing

Bird by Bird? More like Turd by Turd

As I’ve been getting up early to work on my book Beautiful Feet, I was reflecting on Anne Lamott’s book- Bird by Bird, which, if you’re a writer or an aspiring writer, it’s a great place to get some practical and inspiring tips.  The title of the book comes from a project her brother was working on about birds while he was in middle school. He had waited until the night before to write a report about various kinds and birds and was freaking out that he wouldn’t be able to get it done in time.  Their dad, encouraged him-” just take it bird by bird, buddy.” A little bit at a time.

One of her key points that’s stuck with me is that you can’t immediately write amazing stuff. In fact she says that you just need to get out your “sh*tty first draft.” It’s unavoidable- you have to start somewhere. You can’t get to great without the sh*t first.  I was telling my husband Dave about this and he quipped- “sounds like she should have called her book Turd by Turd.”  Oh how I love my witty husband. So, that’s what I’m doing, getting up early and cracking out those crappy first drafts so that hopefully, eventually they will be more like a beautiful bird than a smelly turd.

shitty first drafts

Things have been quiet on the blogging and social media front for me because I’ve been trying to invest more time working on my book. Though Michael Hyatt’s book Platform tells me to get on it all, it feels too overwhelming to me to tweet, pin, post and repost constantly amongst the slew of other terrific advice he gives for building a platform. Michael, honey, I’m just trying to get one son to stop screaming at meal times and the other to stop asking to play on my iPhone. Though I’ve felt a little guilty not posting as frequently I keep reminding myself that the short term losses will result in long term gain.

The good thing is that the words have been flowing LIKE CRAZY! I’ll get up early in the morning, put on a pot of coffee and sit on my couch with my black cat Conan at my feet while I let the ideas pour out of my brain.  Some mornings I’m able to crack out 2,000 words an hour.  I’m not saying they’re brilliant, concise chapters, but regardless, they’re coming out. Turd by turd, they’re coming out.


  • Lisa Rieck

    Great job on the getting up and getting things down, Jess! And yes, SFDs is one of my favorite Anne Lamott principles–one I am reminded of often in my job now :). Thanks for the reminder!

  • Rob

    YES! I felt that way too reading Mr. Hyatt. What world does he live in anyway?!? Love it that the words are coming quickly and deeply. Can’t wait to read the de-crappified version of them!

  • Teri Love

    Loved Lamott’s book, love your husband’s quip, and enjoyed your post. I especially enjoy that idea of writing in the morning with some coffee and a cat by your feet. Glad Rob shared this.

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