‘Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life’ by Anne Lamott
Ever heard the term “crappy first draft”? Many writers will tell you how important it is to give your first drafts permission to utterly stink — to get ideas out of your head and onto the page as soon as possible. Iteration comes later.
I’m not sure if Anne Lamott’s 1995 book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, was the originator of the idea but it sure did popularize it:
For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really sh***y first drafts. The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. […]
Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper.
More than writing though, this witty book is all about tackling life’s problems, struggling with inner demons, facing hard truths, and most importantly, learning to plug away at your work whether or not you think it’s any good.