A Reading Note

Lamott explains why publication is not the reward a writer should seek; writing is:

I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. The thing you had to force yourself to do—the actual act of writing—turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

Lamott, Bird by Bird, page xxvi

This is just as true now—when publication means nothing more than hitting publish and then awaiting the pageviews. Write because it matters, because you learn from it, because you have things to say. Concern yourself with whether or not anyone cares only after the day’s writing is done.

Related books

Bird by Bird

Anne Lamott

Personal musings on the life of the writer. Lamott is primarily a novelist, but I find her writing advice to be just as relevant to nonfiction.