Anne Lamott on finding a mate.

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Anne Lamott is one of the more magical writers alive today. I’d place her book Bird by Bird in the same arena as Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and Stephen King’s On Writing

Like so many of the books you’ll read on the craft, Bird by Bird is just as much a reflection on living as it is on writing.

While no single line could ever begin to sum up her masterpiece in its entirety, I wanted to share with you something she wrote that changed my perspective on life, love and putting pen to paper.

It’s not unlike finding a mate.

In the particular excerpt you’re about to read, Lamott is giving advice to budding writers on the hunt for a writing partner — someone that can act as both a friend and a critic throughout their writing career.

But, I think you’ll see like so much of the advice she shares throughout her book, it applies just as much to life and, perhaps, more so to love.

Here’s what she writes…

“Almost every writer I’ve ever known has been able to find someone who could be both a friend and a critic. You’ll know when the person is right for you and when you are right for the person. It’s not unlike finding a mate, where little by little you begin to feel that you’ve stepped into a shape that was waiting there all along.

Every time I read that last line, the world spins a little bit slower.

Is it not a human condition to force… everything?

In a world that feels like everything is out of control at the moment, I’m finding myself guilty of forcing moments, relationships and opportunities that don’t need to be forced… instead of taking a step back and letting them be as they may.

Forcing, anything, is rarely productive. In fact, it’s exhausting and leaves us feeling like we spent an entire day attempting to muscle a tennis ball into the mouth of a beer bottle.

In this beautiful hard-hitting line Anne Lamott reminds us to take a step back, to pause like my dear friend Ben Cake and to ask ourselves what is enough right now?

By Cole Schafer (but mostly Anne Lamott).

Sticky Notes is my email list reserved for entrepreneurs, creatives, marketers, writers and freelancers looking to sell like hell (without losing their soul).

Originally published at on April 17, 2020.

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I write pretty words and sometimes sell things.

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