Telling My Stories: Inspiration from Anne Lamott

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of hearing author Anne Lamott speak about her life, books, spirituality and family. A large part of her presentation focused on writing; her own process, methodology, struggles and advice for those who have just begun to write. It was fortunate timing for me as I’ve been doing more writing lately than normal with the launch of our blog in January. One of my hopes for this blog is to get more comfortable with writing and to begin to own my voice. It was inspiring to hear Lamott say that she still (after 12 best sellers!) “has no confidence in her writing.” She calls the critical voices in her head the “boo” voices who are telling her she isn’t a good writer, has nothing to say, and no one wants to hear her stories. But she said there is another voice in there that says “give it a shot, I want to hear what you have to say.”  Her motto is anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Lamott is dedicated to making her gift for storytelling a reality by disciplining herself to getting them down on paper...and for every paragraph that is published in her books, there are 2-3 pages of writing that don’t get included. She advised us to write A LOT in a draft and then do an updraft and take out all the extraneous info that people don’t need to hear (at least two thirds).

Anne Lamott challenged me to own my stories, the big ones and the little stupid ones. To be confident and disciplined enough to write them down and share them. And really this is what our blog is all about: owning our stories, the things that happen to us, the moments that we enjoy, that bring happiness and laughter to our lives. We want to share with the world all the things that make life good, whether that’s a night out with the girls, overcoming insecurities, fresh spring grass between our toes, or the simply joy of a cup of tea.

Lamott wrote a book called, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, that I’m now eager to pick up. Have any of your read it? Seems like it could be instructive, and she is hilarious.

At the end of her talk, she gave all budding writers in the audience one piece of advice, always carry a pen! I've got a few in my purse, along with my trusty iPhone which I took copious notes on during her presentation. Thanks for the inspiration, Anne!

(Pietro Rotari painting from Art Experts)

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  1. This is either really good for me or really bad for me. I've taken her advice on writing a ton and then editing it down two thirds...hopefully the finished product will start to reflect all the extra time I'm taking to do it.

  2. I read that book for a writing class in college and loved it! It was my introduction to the idea that writing could be more than a hobby. I'd definitely recommend it, and Stephen King's On Writing. :)


  3. I LOVE Annie! If you're on Twitter, follow her - she's so funny and it's like little doses of her books. I'm so jealous that you got to see her speak!

  4. I'll definitely check out Stephen King's book and also Annie on Twitter-- thanks for the tips!!