A famous piece of writing advice from author Anne Lamott is simply to write “bird by bird”. The saying references a quote her father gave her brother who was struggling to begin a major report on birds that should have been started long before. “Bird by bird,” he said, encouraging him to write about one bird at a time and assemble them into a paper.

“Bird by bird” is great advice, not only for writing but for most things. You prepare department-wide budgets bird by bird. Plan elaborate weddings. Deliver a comprehensive proposal. Complete income taxes. Become a minimalist. Finish an expense report. Pack a household to move. Change systems. It all happens one “bird” at a time.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed the next time a significant task faces you, remember Lamott’s powerful advice. Describing the aviary may seem daunting, but one bird you can handle.

Source: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, 1995

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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