Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird

Life has seasons, don’t you think?

Seasons of calm rhythm, seasons of insane activity, seasons of sleeplessness and urgency, seasons of comfort. Seasons of productivity and seasons of rest and relaxation.

Right now, for me, is the season of the ebook. (That’s a legit season, right there.)

It means I’m up early most days (cough, ahem… 4am, cough) and working furiously to pull together my first book. It means hours at the library and asking family to help look after the kids while I work.

As far as seasons go, I’m really digging it and can’t wait for the book to be finished so I can share it with you.

But it’s also a lesson in patience and an exercise in acceptance – acceptance that I can’t possibly do everything.

Working on my ebook this intensely means I can’t focus on my novel, I’m writing fewer posts here, I’m not getting seven hours sleep.

But rather than feel overwhelmed, I’m OK with that.


“Bird by bird, buddy.”

Recently, I wrote a post over at Becoming Minimalist that happily taught me a lesson about this very idea.

That the best way to avoid becoming overwhelmed by anything – writing a book, decluttering your wardrobe, learning a new skill – is to take it one step at a time. Take it bird by bird.

An excerpt from the post…


“I came to both minimalism and writing in my darkest times, and I don’t think that is a coincidence. I was lost and despairing. Taking control of my life and rediscovering my creative passions have helped me carve out a life of intention, happiness and purpose. And it’s freaking awesome.

There is a book on writing I love. It’s called ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott. It’s filled with writing advice, huge belly laughs and incredible insights into the particular breed of weird that is a creative author.

My copy is well-thumbed and lives on my desk, next to where I currently sit.

The title comes from a story Anne Lamott tells of her older brother. He is ten years old and struggling to start, let alone finish, a paper on birds. He has had three months to complete it, and the paper is due the next day.

“He was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilised by the hugeness of the task ahead.”

Despairing, he pleads with his father for advice on how to start – and finish.

“Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

In other words: Don’t think about the whole paper. Start with one bird. Finish that bird. Then move on.

And son? Do it now.

You can click here to read the remainder of the post, which has been shared over 300 times to date.

This idea of taking things bird by bird really resonated. Because we all feel overwhelmed, we all feel incapable, we all feel paralysed by what lay ahead of us at times. Learning to look at the birds, not the flock, means we don’t have to feel that way.

Just take things bird by bird.


And, with that my friends, I hope you have a fabulous week.


4 Responses to Bird by Bird

  1. I hear you Brooke – but I say well done for making it work. It’s important to you, you enjoy it and so you are going for it. I can’t wait to read your e-book. I’d love to make one too one day but I can’t seem to get past the ‘google’ stage!

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