Anne Lamott is an amazing writer and is about to turn 61. She wrote a piece about what she has learned about life and a couple of items had to do with being a successful writer. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies, Bird by Bird and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Rosie and Crooked Little Heart. She is a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a premier example of writing from the heart with humor, with depth, and with flat-out courage.
Here is what Anne offers up to those of us who craft our words and send them out into the world as seeds never knowing what garden will spring up as a result.
“Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart–your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it’s why you were born.”
“Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly evil men I have known were all writers who’d had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.). Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesy holes. It won’t, it can’t. But writing can. So can singing.”
“E.L. Doctorow said about writing: “It’s like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way.”