Book Recommendation: For Writers
"I just want to write!"
She swung her head back as she said it.
“You need to have a platform.”
I was in the room with New York Times Best-Selling Author Anne Lamott and over 150+ her raving fans with notepads and pens in hand.
She’s one of my favorite authors.
Actually that’s a lie.
She is my favorite author.
If my couch could talk, it would reveal to you how many times I’ve nested myself in the corner of it laughing and crying to her books.
“I wish I could tell you something else but the reality is, my publishers were very clear about needing a platform as I publish my next book.
Annie keeps it real.
“I don’t have a platform. I’m not a platform person.” said the distressed fan.
She looked like her name was Jane.
The platforms they were talking about were online platforms. You know, a combination of a social media presence, a website and an email list. Jane folded down a bit.
“But. I just wish. I just wish I could be…. a writer.”
Oh, the pain in her voice was familiar.
Any aspiring writer can empathize with that yearning.
That fantasy of mornings filled with sunshine, inspiration, and a laptop with an audience of people who will gulp your words like warm tea.
Earlier that day Anne told us:
(Damn, she's good)
But we know Annie!
And we’re not quite sure if we’re ready to see our bank accounts sink, all in the name of creative freedom. Mk?
“I don’t have a twitter or an instagram or any of that.” Said Jane. You could tell a lot of people in the room could relate. Most of them were older (between 40-60). It wasn’t rocket science to figure out social media wasn’t their strong point.
I raised my hand and, before I continue this story, I need to point out that I can come off as such an asshole millennial sometimes. I think it’s because, shhhh….
I actually am an asshole millennial. :((((((((
Anyway, I put my hand over my chest, leaned back and said: “Well, I *am* a platform person, and I was wondering what the quality of the material I send out on a daily basis should be?”
i AAMMMMMM A pLaTfOrM pErSoN (ugh. shut up alex.)
Anne turned her head slowly and looked at my face.
I don’t normally get star struck but, there’s something about looking into the eyes of a person who has made you cry …with words they’ve written years ago… that makes you feel like someone has indeed struck a big ol’ star at yo’ head. She said:
Then she looked back to the audience and let a nice air pocket of silence mist the room like a good NYT best-selling author would, and she declared:
Everyone’s belly's went ringing because we got the message. Writing is a sacred act of art + creative expression. Publishing? Getting noticed? Getting praised? Those things are not writing.
Crying over your keyboard….
Scribbling shit on a napkin…
Smirking at your laptop screen like a psychopath because you came up with something funny…
that is writing.
So with that, I want to recommend one of the best book’s I’ve ever read–period. It’s called “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamott and it is the most honest and refreshing books about writing I’ve ever seen. It's on my list of 30 Books That Will Inspire Creativity.
If you’re a writer who wants to be more forgiving to yourself about the unprofitable plague of wanting to write for the mere art of it, this book will do the trick.
P.S. Here’s a picture with me and Ms. Lamott. Look at her carrying a pen in her hand so gracefully! *falls over*