10 Anne Lamott Thoughts on Writing

Anne Lamott on Writing

1. My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean.

2. You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

3. We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. The writer’s job is to turn the unspeakable into words – not just into any words, but if we can, into rhythm and blues.

4. For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.

5. Don’t be afraid of your material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.

6. Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

7. I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.

8. You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.

9. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.

10. Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?

Anne Lamott, American novelist and non-fiction writer was born April 10, 1954.

About annlaemmlenlewis

I am member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am currently serving as a Missionary in the Washington Yakima Mission. Welcome to my personal blog, Ann's Words, and my Mission blog, Our Yakima Mission. If you are interested in family history stories and histories, you can find those posted in Ann's Stories. Thanks for looking in!
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5 Responses to 10 Anne Lamott Thoughts on Writing

  1. Sue Williams says:

    Wonderful! I feel encouraged and inspired. Thanks. Sue Williams – Tues afternoon class.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Love these thoughts! Thanks for sharing them!

  3. Yes, yes, all true. I have been told, “Write with your skin off.” “Magnify the moment.”
    Thoughts are things and they pierce us and make us holy. Marianne Buchanan, friend of one of the people who are enjoying your class.

  4. Sarah says:

    Fabulous! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Kathy says:

    I can’t agree with exposing the unexposed and that people “should have behaved better.” There are many things that need not be shared or made public. People can change; people can repent. It’s not necessary or kind to expose everything.

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