“Don’t be afraid of shitty first drafts.”

—Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird

Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalog

Bird by Bird is considered by many the bible of writing guides. It has sold non-stop since it was published in the 1990s. Today’s quote is a poignant nugget of Anne Lamott’s wisdom, gleaned from her many years of trial and error to give voice to her calling to write well.

The subtitle, Instructions on Writing and Life, points to the iterative nature of both. Capturing one’s thoughts, emotions, and feelings in words and deeds can often be pretty messy, especially during the early stages.


Where are you afraid that your initial drafts on some worthy goal or project are pretty awful?

How can and will you continue to develop second, third, and perhaps many more drafts, to fully express yourself throughout the rest of your life?


One thought on “

  1. I am reading “Bird by Bird” now.
    I study education during the birth through high school graduation years. Lamott’s book was a tipping point to write about what I have learned since the fall of 2005.
    Part of my work is nontraditional and unorthodox in that I translate standardized tests. I once described my translations as:
    “I take an Alien Language and translate it into American Standard, Mathematically.”
    My attempts to turn scaled scores into a personable readable narrative have sucked so far.
    But I am not giving up.

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