Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Bird by Bird

Kingfisher. Photo from www.kolkatabirds.com
I read a book once about how to be a writer. The book was called Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. In one chapter, Lamott described how, many years ago, her younger brother was frustrated with the enormity of a school project he had to complete on birds. He just couldn't seem to get started on it and kept procrastinating. He asked their father for help and her father said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird." I like that advice. To me it means breaking down a big challenging project into smaller bite size pieces.

My 'bird project' is my work on a book I started over a year ago about my experiences in India. Sometimes it all seems so huge and impossible. Will I ever find the words to make the story come alive to the reader? Much of writing for the public involves taking a risk and putting yourself out there, so to speak. It's easy to get caught up in wondering how good the story will be instead of just writing it down. Lamott also covers this in her book; she calls it writing a 'shitty' first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get something down on paper.

Anyway, as I continue to craft my first manuscript, I need to keep remembering that it won't be perfect the first, second or even the twentieth time around. I need to accept this and start taking each chapter bird by bird.