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Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer…

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library) (original 1986; edition 2010)

by Natalie Goldberg

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3,754501,386 (4.04)56
Title:Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)
Authors:Natalie Goldberg
Info:Shambhala (2010), Edition: 1 Expanded, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (1986)

Recently added bySoschaF, UBLSSU, OJSB, ryansutter, private library, haikupatriot, rosetucci
  1. 20
    On Writing by Stephen King (VictoriaPL)
  2. 10
    If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (Z-Ryan)
  3. 00
    Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki (sturlington)
    sturlington: Goldberg is a practicing Buddhist. Her book references this one, and both are structured in a similar way and focus on the concept of practice.

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Excellent out-of-the-box prompts ( )
  haikupatriot | Nov 18, 2015 |
This is one of the looser writing books that I've actually enjoyed. It's not very technical, it doesn't address sentence structure or story arc, but it's also not too flowery and feelings-focused. It's a very straight-forward mix of the two, with short chapters that made it easy for you to pause and write as inspiration struck - and it did. Goldberg isn't overbearing in her instructions, but hearing her tell you that you must write if you're a writer really kicks your ass into gear. Some favorite sections of mine:

     "Writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate. Think about it: Ants don't do it. Trees don't. Not even the thoroughbred horses, mountain elk, house cats, grass, or rocks do it. Writing is a uniquely human activity. It might even be built into our DNA."

     "A friend once told me: 'Trust in love and it will take you where you need to go.' I want to add, 'Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.'"

     Her instructions on writing: 1. Keep your hand moving. 2. Don't cross out. 3. Don't worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. 4. Lose control. 5. Don't think. Don't get logical. 6. Go for the jugular.

     "We think our words are permanent and solid and stamp us forever. That's not true. We write in the moment. Every minute we change. At any point, we can step out of our frozen selves and our ideas and begin fresh. That is how writing is. Instead of freezing us, it frees us."

     "Basically, if you want to become a good writer, you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot. And don't think too much. Just enter the heat of words and sounds and colored sensations and keep your pen moving across the page."

     "Writing is not psychology. We do not talk 'about' feelings. Instead the writer feels and through her words awakens those feelings in the reader. The writer takes the reader's hand and guides him through the valley of sorrow and joy without ever having to mention those words."

     "When you are not writing, you are a writer too. … If you are a writer when writing, you also are a writer when you are cooking, sleeping, walking."

     "I write because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell, because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life. I write because to form a word with your lips and tongue or think a thing and then dare to write it down so you can never take it back is the most powerful thing I know."

     "I write out of total incomprehension that even love isn't enough and that finally writing might be all I have and that isn't enough. I can never get it all down, and besides, there are times when I have to step away from the table, notebook, and turn to face my own life. Then there are times when it's only coming to the notebook that I truly do face my own life." ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
I read maybe half of this ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
Inhaled alot of Natalie Goldberg's books during a few-year span. Loved her zen view of life. ( )
  afinch11 | Aug 19, 2013 |
I'm not a writer, but sometimes I think that I would like to write, just for myself. I'm always fascinated by books about writing. In this one, Natalie Goldberg takes a Zen approach to writing. She encourages everyday practice and close observation. She talks about writing until you get to first thoughts, unfiltered by an internal editor. This isn't a nuts and bolts book, but instead it suggests a general approach to writing and to life.

One quote, in an interview at the back of the expanded edition, really spoke to me. Goldberg said, "Daily life is very seductive. Weeks go by and we forget who we are." That happens to me all the time. So, since I started the book, I've tried to take at least ten minutes a day to write and focus. And I've tried to pay more attention to daily life so that I have something to write about. ( )
2 vote porch_reader | Apr 27, 2013 |
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For all my students past, present, and future and for Kate Green and Barbara Schmitz.

May we all meet in heaven cafe writing for eternity.
First words

Some years ago, while cleaning out my grandmother's attic, I came across this motto encased in an old oak picture frame: Do Your Work As Well As You Can and Be Kind.

I was a goody-two-shoes all through school.
This is why it is good to remember: if you want to get high, don’t drink whiskey; read Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Neruda, Hopkins, Millay, Whitman, aloud and let your body sing.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0877733759, Paperback)

Wherein we discover that many of the "rules" for good writing and good sex are the same: Keep your hand moving, lose control, and don't think. Goldberg brings a touch of both Zen and well... *eroticism* to her writing practice, the latter in exercises and anecdotes designed to ease you into your body, your whole spirit, while you create, the former in being where you are, working with what you have, and writing from the moment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

Offers advice on writing creatively, discusses the importance of discipline, and suggests writing exercises.

(summary from another edition)

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