If you need writing inspiration, come to Anne Lamatt! These writing tips are inspired by Lamott, who is one of my favorite published authors.
“Write straight into the emotional center of things,” writes Lamott in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life “Write toward vulnerability. Don’t worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent.”
Authentic writing hooks readers and editors…and it’s much more interesting for you to write! Read on for Lamott’s tips on improving your writing with authenticity, and read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life to learn more about writing, editing, and life in general.
Writing Inspiration From Anne Lamott
“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith.
1. Think of yourself as a revolutionary
You’re not just a writer – you’re a creator of new ideas, new worlds, new possibilities! You’re setting a whole new stage for your reader. Don’t be timid. Have courage to take risks.
2. Show your personality
Do you love Lamott’s nonfiction books, but don’t care for her novels? Say it. Did you just set up a new blog that you’re thrilled about? Talk about it. Let your writer’s voice and style shine through your writing! For writing tips, read How to Make Your Writing Edgy and Quirky.
3. Express your ideas, no matter how zany
The editor (aka you in many cases) can later tone it down or take it out if it’s too much. Lamott’s tip for writing authentically didn’t say this in so many words, but I do know that it’s better to go too far and scale back, versus not having enough depth in the first place.
4. Break a few writing rules
The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell is great for encouraging writers to step outside the box, especially when it comes to pitching queries to magazine editors. Learn the rules of writing, and then let your own writing flow.
Read 3 Writing Rules From Diana Gabaldon, and then break them if you dare!
5. Consider your moral obligation as a writer
Hmm, this is a tough part of Lamott’s writing advice, particularly because it changes from writer to writer. You need to decide what your moral obligation as a writer is, and stick to your values regardless of external or internal pressure. An example of this would be writing honestly about your childhood, even if it doesn’t paint a rosy picture of your parents or siblings. (This is tricky, though, because you have to consider their privacy).
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A final bit of wisdom from Anne Lamott: “My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear.”
Are you scared to write? Read Finding Courage to Write – 6 Ways to Cope With Writing Fears.
If you have any questions or comments about these writing tips – or if you need inspiration to write – please fire away below!