Bird by Bird

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.”  – Anne Lamott

This excerpt from above comes from the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  I picked this book up as my interest in writing has increased.  I have found so much inspiration as I have turned the pages of this practical, honest and humorous look into the dull realities of writing and the writing life.  She offers doable suggestions on how to beat writer’s block, tackle a daunting project that seems too lofty, and find inspiration.  All of these suggestions are wrapped in humor and a rawness that I find really appealing.  Surprisingly, I have found this book to not only encourage me in my writing aspirations, but also to be rich with life lessons.

Back to the quote. I have thought of this “bird by bird” analogy when it comes to the daily ins and outs of parenting and managing this home.  When I am in the thick of parenting, Lord knows I need to chill out and focus just on the now instead of the eighty-seven other things that I need to be tackling also.

How many times a day do you get dazed and overwhelmed with the tasks at hand?  Maybe you will find this helpful to tuck away in your mind as you go about your day.  There are many moments that come and go throughout our week that just get us frazzled and fixed on how hard it all is.  It is helpful to indeed take it one thing at a time, bird by bird, and do our best.

Even though I try to tackle many things at once daily, Lamott’s quote from her dad puts things into perspective.

One meal at a time.

Bird by bird.

One tantrum at a time.

Bird by bird.

One email at a time.

Bird by bird.

One diaper change at a time.

Bird by bird.

One laundry basket at a time.

Bird by bird.

Savor the now.

Just take it one moment, one hour, one day at a time.

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One thought on “Bird by Bird

  1. I love that analogy. Thinking about accomplishing things one step at a time makes them so much more manageable. That’s why I love my lists! Checking off just one task is so encouraging:) Thanks for sharing. You are a great writer.
    Love, Jen

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