52 books in 52 weeks: Bird by Bird

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 12.

What can I say about Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott?

I’ve seen this book raved over by writers far and wide, and by some with whom I’ve been friends for a long time and whose opinions I trust.

And so I waited and waited for the book to be released on Kindle … and it never was. In the end I asked for the paperback as a birthday present.

It’s a lovely little book. It sums up exactly what the life of a writer is truly like – or at least many writers I know (including yours truly). Granted, we aren’t all single parents, or battling depression or substance addiction. But the rest of it?

I literally laughed out loud at some of the asides the author made, while others made me pause for thought.

The author does indulge in stories of her own depression and she comes across as quite religious, so if either of these things are likely to turn you off, then walk away. This seems to be the main gripe with other negative reviews. Otherwise, it’s a nice little read.

There are no exercises. This is not a how-to-write book. It’s an insight into the life of a writer. And this book will be staying on my bookshelf, and not just because it was a birthday gift. It’s a nice, feel-good book to pick up and re-read as and when the urge arises.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is only available in paperback for a slightly pricey £15.59 (or $6.77).

52 books in 52 weeks: Just Write That Book Already

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 11.

Just Write That Book Already: learn how to avoid distractions, create a writing schedule, and organize your ideas so you can get started on your book today by Joy Farrington, doesn’t, I feel, quite live up to the promise of that zippy, snappy subtitle.

It’s a short read, taking me just under two hours, and there are a couple of nuggets in there – such as the WRITE technique and Writing Milestones. But that, unfortunately, is it.

It blows a lot of hot air under the guise of giving practical advice without actually giving any. The content is quite clearly a mish-mash of articles, transcriptions and notes that have simply been lumped together. Then it’s topped and tailed with testimonials and a transcription of a webinar or teleconference that pad it all out nicely, thank you very much.

The grammar leaves a lot to be desired, as does the layout/formatting – although I read the Kindle version, so the paperback may be better laid out. It’s the layout that gave the idea that it’s a load of old stuff glued together to make a book-length product.

There are no exercises (though there are one or two very short worksheets), there is no practical advice as such. It’s a quick way for the author to make a quick buck.

Just Write That Book Already: learn how to avoid distractions, create a writing schedule, and organize your ideas so you can get started on your book today by Joy Farrington is available on Kindle for £4.78 (or $5.93) and in paperback for £12.23 (or $11.00).

Two more books available

I’ve not been idle this past week, in fact I’ve been very busy republishing and re-branding two old ones.

Tales from Baggins Bottom: best bits books 1 & 2 were previously published “by Diane Parkin”. Now they’re both available “by Diane Wordsworth” in paperback (£5.99) and on Kindle (£2.99).

If you go to my “buy my books” page, you can follow the links to either the paperback or the Kindle, and you’ll also see all books currently available.

ALL of the Diane Parkin books are now retired and have been replaced with Diane Wordsworth versions.

Next on the to-do list is to publish Twee Tales Too on Kindle. You can see other future projects on my “current projects” page.