Monday, February 13, 2012

Pause for the Cause: Blogging Gratitude

A while back I confessed to my hero-worship of Anne Lamott. I’m turning to her now, to her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. This book I can pick up, open to any page, and find passages that were written for me. And for several million other fans, but who’s counting?
Lamott says:
“Don’t underestimate this gift of finding a place in the writing world: if you really work at describing creatively on paper the truth as you understand it, as you have experienced it, with the people or material who are in you, who are asking that you help them get written, you will come to a secret feeling of honor. Being a writer is part of a noble tradition, as is being a musician—the last egalitarian and open associations. No matter what happens in terms of fame and fortune, dedication to writing is a marching-step forward from where you were before, when you didn’t care about reaching out to the world, when you weren’t hoping to contribute, when you were just standing there doing some job into which you had fallen.”
Anne published Bird by Bird in 1994, long before even the most veteran blogger among us had uploaded her first post. When I apply her words to blogging, I am moved by deep gratitude for this medium.
Blogging has broken down so many barriers to writers who want to practice their craft, but didn’t have the means to readily share their writing with others. 
Blogging has compelled me to take risks I would not have dreamed of two years ago. 
My blogging friends teach me more about writing each day. They provide incredible support.  I don’t feel so alone anymore in my desire to write, and to be read.
It's a good time to be a writer.
Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird, is available through Anchor Books. 


  1. I like writing but have a hard time calling myself a writer... Anne Lamott is one of my heroines as well. She lives just down the highway from here but so what? Her writing is so real. If I had time, I would go back and read them all again and again.

  2. Why do you have a hard time calling yourself a "writer," JT? I am confused. I agree with Melanie, that there has never been a better time to share thoughts. I firmly believe we could all write for a living, but have not yet become conversant with the methodology required to accomplish this. Everything comes to him or her who waits, especially old age.

    "Finding a place in the writing world" is a key accomplishment. The rest is gravy.

    1. Interesting that some readers of this post over at BlogHer had the same reaction. They also resist naming themselves writers, when I vehemently disagree and say they are indeed WRITERS.
      Mark, you understand. I do remember times when I resisted calling myself a writer-- maybe I need to work up a post on this subject to convince my blogging buddies that it's okay and joyous to call oneself a writer.

  3. LOVE this--no surprise. I am grateful every day for this community I've found here. I have said it often and still don't feel like I say it enough. I live in a very rural area where options for meeting other writers and like-minded word geeks are limited. My bloggy friends fill a much-needed and -valued role in my creative world.

  4. Melanie, you are a wonderful blogger and beautiful writer. You truly notice the world around you, and are able to comment on what you see in a meaningful way. How rare!

  5. 10 years ago, the only option to have this kind of community and feedback would have been to join a writing group. Not necessarily a bad thing but not something I would have done - social anxiety and fear of criticism, you know.

    You're right. It is an excellent time to be a writer. We are writers. Hear us roar!