I’ve been re-reading Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott’s writing memoir. I could quote entire chapters here and just leave it at that. She expresses all my angst and hope with languid humor that makes me laugh aloud as I am reading. I kept her words with me throughout my week at Melbourne Beach, letting her honesty and genius inspire me and keep me company on my own memoir writing journey.

I’m home again, enjoying the comforts of my familiar place after having been away for a week. But the beach, and Anne Lamott, are still with me in my heart.

“But how?” my students ask. “How do you actually do it?”
You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind — a scene, a locale, a character, whatever — and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind.”
― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

So here I am, back at home, jumping back into reality and all its imperfectness. I’m still negotiating with imperfection. I’m still learning how not to hold on to the emotions that come to visit me in moments of quiet thought. I am learning to let them pass through me right to God. I am learning to just be, right here and now. I suppose I will always be learning.

Written by Tina Gasperson


Jim Grey

Have you shared your routine before? It’s interesting to hear what writers do to build that regular habit.

Mine is to get up at 5 and be writing by 6 over breakfast. I’m not a morning person, but that’s how I make time for it.


I get up anywhere between 4:45 and 5, make coffee (takes 10 minutes) and then start writing for approximately an hour on memoir stuff, and then 10-15 minutes on a blog post. I get up early because it’s the quietest time in my home and the time I’m least likely to be disturbed. Although, there are mornings…..


share your observations