Study Guide

Bird by Bird Community

By Anne Lamott


So, genius writers lock themselves up in a library and refuse to talk to others while inspiration rushes through them as fast as a Ferrari, right? Yeah, no. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott is all about showing how community has helped her write, whether it's her father getting her started as a writer, her friends or her church or her son giving her ideas and encouragement, or her editors or early readers offering helpful feedback. For her, being a writer is almost like being in a band: she can't do what she's trying to do without other people.

Questions About Community

  1. Which chapters in the book show Lamott's relationship to community? What specific things does community do for her as a writer?
  2. Does Lamott seem to learn about writing from other writers or from people in her community who aren't writers? Or is it about even? How might this feedback be different? How similar?
  3. How does Lamott think writers can find the community they need? Are there any kinds of community writers should try to avoid, based on what Lamott says in Bird by Bird?
  4. What can a writer give back to the communities that writer belongs to?

Chew on This

Lamott doesn't think you can separate writing and community.

Lamott seems to make the story happen for all her communities, not just her high school classmates.

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