Writing Advice from Anne Lamott

By Maryann Yin Comment

Author Anne Lamott and her son Sam Lamott kicked off the book tour for Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son at Barnes & Noble Union Square this week.

The mother and son co-wrote the memoir, chronicling Sam’s first year as a father. It is a sequel to Anne’s 1993 memoir, Operating Instructions: A Journal Of My Son’s First Year. The mother-son duo performed a “duet”–Anne read two sections she wrote and Sam did the same.

During the event, Anne confessed that she does not always enjoy the writing process. Regardless of her feelings, she maintains a steady work schedule of writing five days a week. When Q&A time came, she shared the following tips:

Writing Schedule Tips from Anne Lamott

1. When you’re learning to do something you’re not familiar with (which includes a new book or essay), how can you expect to know what you’re doing? “If you want to write anything decent, you have to [first] write something that is really funky.”

2. You have to write something that is way too long and then devote yourself to working with a good editor to shape your material. That requires commitment and time.

3. You have to get your butt in a chair and stay there. “I have never once said to myself, ‘What time approximately should we get our work done today?'”

4. Remember that after you have written a few drafts, eventually you will like your work and you will feel that you’ve done your job.