A 10-year-old boy was trying to get a report written on birds that had been assigned three months earlier.
Procrastination’s bill had come due, and the boy sat at the kitchen table close to tears. He was surrounded by paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.
The boy's father sat down beside him, put his arm around his son and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
The boy took that single piece of advice and got through his assignment.
And the incident made such an impression on the boy’s younger sister Anne, that she later used that story as the foundation for an entire book.
Titled, “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,” it’s considered one of the best books about writing ever penned, and Lamott has gone onto a distinguished career that includes a Guggenheim Fellowship and an induction into the California Hall of Fame.