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5 for Friday: Inspiration from Anne Lamott

Categories: MFA Confidential Blog.

On Wednesday, I said to my husband—It’s a wonder what a difference a day makes. Because Tuesday was
bad. Very Bad. Has that every happened to you? You go from having a writing
induced mental breakdown one day, and then the next day, only 24 hours later,
you’re daydreaming about the acknowledgments section in your book?  You’re pretty much sailing on cloud nine?

It’s like this: On Tuesday you question everything—why did you decide to pursue writing in the first place? Is it worth it? Why aren’t things
clicking? Why isn’t your story getting any better? And then Wednesday. Wednesday
comes and you read over what you wrote on Tuesday and you realize wow, this doesn’t
actually stink. This is sorta-kinda okay. Maybe even good.
And then you meet a
writer friend at a cozy café and that writer friend tells you to keep your chin
up, orders you the perfect Cobb salad, assures you that yes you can do this if you really want to do this, people do it every
gosh darn day
. And then the topping, the cherry—the Writer’s Digest issue
arrives and you open it to the exact page you were supposed to.  Pg.46—An interview with Anne Lamott, who
happens to be one of your favorite writers. The interview is inspiring. It
knocks sense into you. And you feel a whole lot better. Like Anne Lamott was
actually sitting across from you on your love seat, giving you a pep talk.

Yes, what a day makes a difference.

If you haven’t yet read the Anne Lamott interview by Diana
Page Jordan then go, run, and pick up the WD May/ June issue. But for now, here
are my 5 favorite Anne Lamott quotes from the article.

1.     
“I
learned that you sit down at the same time every day. I learned that you do it
even if you’re in a bad mood of if you’re a little sick or you don’t know what
you’re doing—especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
 (Hallelujah to this! We’re actually not
supposed to always know what we’re doing!)

 

2.     
“…I
think it’s just a miracle: It is a miracle to produce a decent novel… The
triumph is to hold a finished novel in your hand that’s going to be published
in four or five months and that it’s not awful. The triumph is that it’s not
awful.”
(I love this. Yes. We put too much pressure on ourselves
to produce perfect work. What is perfect?)

 

3.     
“…more
than anything I believe people should be writing. And that the writing will
give them what they’re looking for, which is that connection to the community
of writers… I really believe people are called to a literary life like others
are called to a theological life or religious life…”
(Even
though publishing is hard, we must write if we’re called to do it. If we’re not
content doing anything else.)

 

4.     
“It’s
hard, it’s a struggle, it’s about small breakthroughs and small breakdowns. If
it’s going really badly and it’s like pulling teeth, you’re probably on the
right track…”
(I told my friend Donna this quote and she
gave a little fist pump and said, Yes, well
it seems then that I’m always on the right track!)

 

5.     
It’s
very inconvenient when you start to say no [to other life obligations], but no
is a complete statement, because from now on, hell or high water, I write for
two hours a day. It’s absolutely the most important thing you can do if that
thing is inside you, tugging on your sleeve, hoping you’ll notice it there,
urging you to be one of the storytellers.”
(Perhaps it’s that simple. That
hard. To ask ourselves: do we really feel the tug? And if we do, then we need to push all excuses aside and just write.)

Happy Friday, All. May a day make a difference for you. And Happy
Writing.

pic: tinker

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3 Responses to 5 for Friday: Inspiration from Anne Lamott

  1. Kate says:

    Laura– Yes, it’s a great issue!

    Bradley– Congrats! That’s awesome!

  2. bradley morrow says:

    HI
    I finally got over my panic and decided to self publish. I finally scraped some money together and got it done. I feel better for it.

  3. Great post! Yesterday I started reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I’m checking my mailbox right now to see if my WD issue arrived today. I sure hope so because you got me all excited to read this issue!

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