I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do — the actual act of writing — turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.
I met Annie Lamott in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1999. We missed the shuttle going to an author’s talk and so we sat on the back seat of the resort’s trolley. It was the Sun Valley Writers Conference and it was an illuminating experience. Before the days of smartphone selfies, you had to contend with your camera and the rest, maybe your diary. I have pictures with Frank McCourt, Mitch Albom, Poet Laureate W.S. Merwyn, and had so many books autographed–only to lose them when hubby mistakenly took the box they were stored in to the library for end-of-year donation.
The only book that survived that unfortunate (for me) trip was Annie’s book, Bird by Bird and I have it next to my laptop to this day. Like Stephen King’s On Writing, it’s a treasure trove of advice for any writer.
What’s your favorite writing book?