The Write Idea


Generous Writing

Filed under: Quotes — ljcollins @ 7:47 am
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s Thursday and maybe you’re feeling a little blocked or like you’ve run out of fresh words to write this week. So that must mean it’s time for a kick in the pants from the two Annies. Here’s a word from Lamott’s Bird by Bird:

“Annie Dillard has said that day by day you have to give the work before you all the best stuff you have, not saving up for later projects. If you give freely, there will always be more. This is a radical proposition that runs so contrary to human nature, or at least to my nature, that I personally keep trying to find loopholes in it. But it is only when I go ahead and decide to shoot my literary, creative wad on a daily basis that I get any sense of full presence, of being Zorba the Greek at the keyboard. Otherwise I am a wired little rodent squirreling things away, hoarding and worrying about supply. Arthritis forms in my hands and in the hands my mind is using to shape things, in the hands of that creature in the cellar who wants and needs to use all of his favorite rags in the ragbag he works from.

“You’re going to have to give and give and give, or there’s no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.”


  1. thanks for the reminder.

    Comment by Diane Roth — 03/24/2011 @ 8:18 am | Reply

  2. Diane, I was once at a stewardship conference with John Buchanan (of Fourth Presbyterian, Chicago and The Christian Century) and he made this same point about sermons. Don’t save that great illustration for Easter or some other “big” Sunday. Use it or lose it! Give it away and more will be given.

    Comment by ljcollins — 03/24/2011 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  3. This will help as I embark on my next article… and hopefully get back to my real work later today.

    Comment by PJ — 03/24/2011 @ 11:08 am | Reply

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