Today was a pedagogical day at Marianopolis College, meaning the students had a day off and we teachers had to be in for meetings. I went to three presentations -- one was given by my office mate, Mary Frauley. Mary was talking about designing course plans, which doesn't have much to do with what I blog about, but on the sample course plan she handed round there was a quote from American writerAnne Lamott. Well, that reminded me of Anne Lamott's book "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life."
In the book, Lamott tells a story about how when she was a little girl, her older brother got quite distressed about a school assignment. He had to do a report about birds and he was feeling overwhelmed. His dad put his arm around his son, and told him, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird." Don't you just love that advice? Also, it sounds so nice when you say it out loud -- so comforting: "Bird by bird, buddy." That's how it is with writing and anything else difficult for that matter. Bird by bird, small step by small step.
I have to admit, I'm a little meeting-ed out and I might just lie on the couch and read instead of doing any more work today. And by the way, I reread the beginning of my George River manuscript -- and we've still got chemistry. Phew!! Okay then, I've inspired myself... maybe I'll take another look at the manuscript before I head for the couch. Maybe there's time for just one small "bird."
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i think i just read your blog at the right time! just as i was about to give up on my workload that didn't seem to lessen after taking a day to work, you just inspired me to slowly slowly continue and then, i will accomplish what i had to
thank miss p!
That quote is inspiring -- doing things in small steps if often the only way to get things done, but those (like Lamott's brother, and me) who tend to become overwhelmed by the amount of work to do end up wasting time stressing out, and that time could have been used to do the task step by step (or bird by bird!) and get part of it done, instead. I remember you once told us to do the smaller, easier things first just to say something's done (and feel better about that), and then move on to more difficult tasks, and I must say that technique works quite well!