Word by Word

  • by Anne Lamott
  • Narrated by Anne Lamott
  • 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • Speech

Publisher's Summary

Writing, like life, can be a difficult process, you just have to take it Word by Word. Provocative and witty, Lamott takes you beyond her book Bird by Bird and into her "writer's mind". She won't tell you about plot points or how to get published, because, frankly, she doesn't think they're important. Good writing, she says, slows you down, opens your heart, and arrives through your fingers, knowing what it's about. You'll learn how to keep things simple and how to write honestly about life, family, and friends.


What the Critics Say

Audie Award Winner, 1997, Educational/How-to/Instructional


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


You should understand before you spend your hard-earned money on "Word by Word" that what you'll be getting here will not be a book; in fact it will be just another ho-hum recording of a writing workshop (done in 1996?). If you?re into that kind of thing, go for it. Personally, I was looking for something more substantial.

Here we have yet another successful author giving us her valuable advice, recorded as she stands in front of her lectern, riffing live before a decidedly female audience (from the sound of it) and ultimately delivering one of the most rambling monologues -- in the manner of, say, Ellen DeGeneres -- that I've ever heard on the topic of writing.

As a listener, you'll probably get the idea straight away that she's not there to instruct you (she makes that point clear); rather, she wants to encourage you. That's all, just encourage you. She starts off her lecture by imparting her personal belief that in the great "cosmic" scope of things, getting published doesn't really matter (groan). Next she reveals that she doesn't really know a thing about plot points (something she seems to take great pride in, as a matter of fact), so she won't be able to help you there either. Finally she settles into her main role -- that of a motivational speaker.

Some of it's not bad. She manages to keep you entertained, at least. And some of what she says is actually kind of inspiring. (I for one particularly enjoyed her comments on writing "sh**ty first drafts, which was sort of liberating for me to hear.) And for that, I grant her two stars. As such, I suppose that if you're feeling down in the dumps about writing, you might give this two-hour bit of fluff a try; but it's not for the serious student. Don't download it with the idea that you're going to learn anything about the technique of writing a novel. You won't.
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- Charles "Ray Porter for President. Because then teleprompter speeches would be boring no more!"

Why Bother?

This "book" (as other reviewers have pointed out, this is not a book at all, a lecture) is almost an exact and sometimes is an exact replica of Lamott's previous "book" (also not a book, a lecture) Bird by Bird. Both "books" give advice on writing. Some of this advice seems helpful, some are things we've all heard before. But I think it not very nice to market a second "book" that is a duplicate of the first without notice....so boo on you Ms. Lamott and the same to Audible. I felt cheated on several counts!
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- Suzn F "I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-17-1999
  • Publisher: Writer's AudioShop