Bird by Bird - Part 1, Section 4, Perfectionism Summary & Analysis

Anne Lamott
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Part 1, Section 4, Perfectionism Summary and Analysis

The greatest opponent to writing is perfectionism. In Anne's account of her tonsillectomy she employs the use of this painful memory as another support of her approach to writing. When her post surgical pain lasts longer than her pain medication, Anne was told to chew gum. In the chewing Anne finds relief from pain. The pain stems from throat muscles clenched around her healing throat. Perfectionism paralyzes. Terribly messy, long and not particularly adept first drafts exercise the writer's muscles, thus freeing them from perfectionism.

While the title of this section is perfectionism, it could have been subtitled perseverance. Writing through the 'pain' of perfectionism means letting every word, image and idea pour onto the page. Anne encourages writers to use many sheets of paper and to be as messy as possible. In this way, a writer...

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This section contains 166 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Bird by Bird Study Guide
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