Writing Down the Bones

Up north in July, I read the book "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg. Originally published in 1986, her guidance remains timeless. Sharing her own experiences as a writer and a teacher of writers, Goldberg parcels out her wisdom in short chapters. If you have any interest in writing, I highly recommend this book!

A few of my favorite bits of Goldberg's wisdom: 
  • 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.
  • Listening is receptivity. The deeper you can listen, the better you can write. You take in the way things are without judgement, and the next day you can write the truth about the way things are. 
  • Use details. They are the basic unit of writing. 
  • Don't identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black-and-white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture. 
  • Often, as I write my best pieces, my heart is breaking. 
  • Go further than you think you can. 
  • The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world, and why not finally carry that secret out with our bodies into the living rooms and porches, backyards and grocery stores? 
  • Let go completely. Let yourself totally be a writer from now on. 
  • Rather than following the rules, have a friendliness toward existence....Don't be a Goody Two-shoes just to be a Goody Two-shoes. It is not based on any reality. 
  • It's pretty nice to be talented. If you are, enjoy, but it won't take you that far. Work takes you a lot further. 

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