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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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3,835541,345 (4.04)62
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)

  1. 20
    On Writing by Stephen King (VictoriaPL)
  2. 10
    If You Want to Write 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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One of the first and best books on the writing process and what it means, on every level, to be a writer that I've ever read. It helps that Natalie is from Long Island, like I am, and that the book in infused with Buddhist thought, a tradition from which I draw a lot of strenght and inspiration.

I actually stole my paper copy from a friend. (Hi Cathy!). That was about 20 years ago. I should probably get her another one. ( )
  A.E.Wasp | Apr 20, 2016 |
One of the first, and still one of the best, books on writing and the writing life that I have ever read. Goldberg combines her Zen lessons with exercises to help you unlock the heart of the writer. It's a book about the heart and soul of writing, more than anything to do with technique or sales or plotting. It is how to live with this crazy, unruly, painful writer's brain that we were born with. ( )
  A.E.Wasp | Apr 20, 2016 |
A great book for especially beginner writers. ( )
  Greymowser | Jan 22, 2016 |
What does Zen Buddhism have to do with writing? Natalie Goldberg asked the same question of her roshi (Zen Master). She had gravitated toward Zen mediation for self-discovery and to process the things in her life that were at loose ends. But she had a difficult time with meditation. The rosit suggested that she use writing as a Zen practice. The world opened up for Goldberg in a surprising way with the suggestion.

[Writing Down the Bones] is part prompt book, part philosophy, and part journal. Goldberg uses two to four pages to tackle a topic that would be important to a writer – like detail or syntax or topic. Then, she launches into an encouraging and instructive meditation on the topic. Her advice is common sense and not at all yogic, if you’re worried that you don’t want to have to grab a mat and light a candle. It’s writing and life that she wants to expose in each reader’s soul.

Among the most helpful sections were those on learning how to develop confidence and trust in the writing ability. Every writer, almost by definition, is plagued with self-doubt, but she preaches to embrace the practice of writing with regard only for what you express and what you learn about yourself in the process. Like David Morrell did, in [Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing: A Novelist Looks at His Craft], she sees writing as a doorway to self-understanding and discovery – you only have to engage the practice.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for anyone who is already writing or who wants to write. I gifted a copy to a writing friend this Christmas, in hopes that it would mean as much to him as it has to me. Sometimes I read a few pages as a way to get in the right mindset to write. Sometimes the section I read spoke directly to the doubts I was having that very minute. [Writing Down the Bones] is an invaluable resource.

Bottom Line: The writing life, and life in general, through a Zen Buddhist lens.

5 bones!!!!!
A favorite for the year!!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Dec 23, 2015 |
Excellent out-of-the-box prompts ( )
  haikupatriot | Nov 18, 2015 |
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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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