Anne Lamott starts off this portion of her text with the important words, “..
.the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them.”. This passage from her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, explores the idea and explains to the readers how great things can come from writing very bad first drafts and how it is almost more beneficial to write freely the first, and maybe even second, time around. She gives examples throughout the entire reading including the time she wrote food reviews for a magazine.
Lamott explains her process of writing these articles for California magazine hoping to get the point across to readers that basically good things, or good writing, does not happen overnight. This is an example of an anecdote, a rhetorical effect that Lamott is using in her writing. In the passage, this use of an anecdote creates a friendly persuasive effect for the readers. One of the most important ideas that Lamott talks about is how us readers perceive writers. “For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous.” In other words she is saying that to writers, writing is not expressed with great pleasure and enthusiasm. This is definitely contrary to popular belief of most college students in this generation.
It is very easy to agree with Anne Lamott about writing “shitty first drafts” in this passage for the simple explanation that she is rather relatable by using personal experience and easily understood as an overall writer. She has a wittiness about her that makes readers want to engage in what she is talking about. When reading Don Murray’s article All Writing Is Autobiography, as readers, it is easy to quickly pick up on what he is going to be talking about and explaining as it is also stated as the title. Murray starts off by telling the readers a little about himself and a few experiences he has had as a writer.
He quickly develops a form of ethos when telling the readers the different types of writing he has done throughout his life. Ethos is an interest to morals, and it is a methods for persuading somebody regarding the character or believability of the persuader. Embedded in this work, is poetry to show the readers what he means by all writing being autobiographical. Murray then goes on to say how certain ideas, topics, and events that happened in his life always somehow make their way into his writing. Along with this statement is the poem titled Black Ice.
He concludes the explanation of Black Ice by telling us that some of those events are true, but also some of them did not even come close to happening. Murray, like Lamott, makes it very easy to agree with him as well as change the readers’ ideas about writing. An autobiography often tells of someone’s personal life events and I believe that it is almost common nature for writers to, in some ways, include personal events and feelings in their writings-including my own writing.
As college students we have this idea that writing is supposed to be a certain way in order for us to achieve the grade that is expected of us. After being assigned these two readings it is made clear that the idea of writing being a type of robotic thing, is completely wrong. Both Anne Lamott and Don Murray help us young writers to open our eyes to how writing actually is. These two readings are most likely the keys to the rest of the semester in this class because of how comfortable they make uncomfortable writers feel. Lamott and Murray are both very different writers and are working in different ways to get a certain point across. This is important to know and understand while in a class like this one. Though we may all write differently and be different people, it is certainly possible for us all to achieve the same goal.