Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

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The all-time best-selling writer''s handbook turns thirty.

With insight, humor, and practicality, Natalie Goldberg inspires writers and would-be writers to take the leap into writing skillfully and creatively. She offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer''s craft: on writing from "first thoughts" (keep your hand moving, don''t cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety percent listening; the deeper you listen, the better you write), on using verbs (verbs provide the energy of the sentence), on overcoming doubts (doubt is torture; don''t listen to it)—even on choosing a restaurant in which to write. Goldberg sees writing as a practice that helps writers comprehend the value of their lives. The advice in her book, provided in short, easy-to-read chapters with titles that reflect the author''s witty approach ("Writing Is Not a McDonald''s Hamburger," "Man Eats Car," "Be an Animal"), will inspire anyone who writes—or who longs to.

Review

"I''m convinced that none of the writers of my acquaintance can go another day without a copy of Natalie Goldberg''s magical manual Writing Down the Bones."—Linda Weltner, The Boston Globe

"The secret of creativity, Natalie Goldberg makes clear, is to subtract rules for writing, not add them. It''s a process of ''uneducation'' rather than education. Proof that she knows what she''s talking about is abundant in her own sentences. They flow with speed and grace and accuracy and simplicity. It looks easy to a reader, but writers know it is the hardest writing of all."—Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

About the Author

NATALIE GOLDBERG is the author of fourteen books, including Writing Down the Bones, which has changed the way writing is taught in this country. She teaches retreats nationally and internationally. She lives in New Mexico.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Foreword
 
"Julia, come on in! It’s great!" Natalie Goldberg’s voice carried over the roar of the Rio Grande river. She had invited me to go swimming, assuring me that our jumping-off point would be safe and placid. It was nothing like safe and placid. The river’s current was strong, and it took a strong swimmer—like Natalie—to brave its depths.

"Come on in," she called again, "You’ll love it." And so, egged on by her enthusiasm, I stepped into the current. It was both strong and swift. Losing my footing, I found myself sputtering. Natalie laughed. "Don’t you love it?" she called. "Just relax." True to her word, Natalie herself rode the current. "You’re doing fine," she assured me, as I mentally wrote my obituary, "Writer takes the plunge and drowns."

Asked to write a foreword to this, the thirtieth anniversary edition of Writing Down the Bones, I found myself remembering that afternoon on the Rio, and the way that Natalie’s bold enthusiasm lured me from the shore. “Why, it’s just like her teachings,” I realized. A million-plus readers have followed Natalie’s bold plunge into the world of words. "Just dive in," urges Natalie, teaching, "Begin where you are." Inspired by her conviction that all of us have lively stories to tell, Natalie’s students put pen to the page, following her enticing leads. Writing Down the Bones is a book of short essays. True to her word, she begins at the beginning: "Beginner’s mind, pen and paper." From there, it’s time to push off from the shore. "Keep your hand moving," she commands. "Don’t cross out, don’t worry about spelling, punctuation and grammar; lose control, don’t think, don’t get logical, go for the jugular."

In other words, take the plunge.
 
"Do you want a tomato?" It’s another afternoon with Natalie, twenty years later. This time, we are standing at her kitchen counter, and she is urging me to just take one succulent bite. The tomato is home-grown, plucked by Natalie’s own hand. And though I’m not used to eating a tomato like a peach, Natalie models the daring it takes to consider the tomato an end in itself, and not a mere ingredient.

"Why, it’s just like her teaching," I caught myself thinking. It’s a matter of appetite. It’s a matter of satisfaction. Natalie’s writing is filled with savory details. The tomato she plucked from her garden can yield an entire essay.

"Include original detail," Natalie urges her students. Our lives are filled with details, like the ripe red tomato plucked from the vine. Natalie’s writing is filled with food, and her appetite for life gives us food for thought.
 
—Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way
July 2015

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
1,446 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Jeff Richardson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Read this if you seriously want to produce. AWESOME!!!
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2016
I think the negative reviews on here are missing the bigger picture. So what if she relates writing through the zen mind thing and speaks a lot about spirituality. The point is to ultimately to get your ass in the chair and write. Quit thinking about it and do it. She also... See more
I think the negative reviews on here are missing the bigger picture. So what if she relates writing through the zen mind thing and speaks a lot about spirituality. The point is to ultimately to get your ass in the chair and write. Quit thinking about it and do it. She also elaborates on writing whatever is in your mind...to just let go and let it come out. Think about your favorite writers. Are they real? Does some crazy stuff come out? Look at best selling writers like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or even the chick that wrote 50 Shades.....did it takes some courage to write what they do? Don''t u think some people think they are crazy? I can remember reading Stephen King''s books and thinking this dude lost his mind. I love Stephen King''s books. Is their writing the same s*** you read everywhere else? They write some pretty real stuff-stuff that only they could come up with. It''s intensely personal, honest and unique to them. They had to dig deep and put down the bones regardless of what others thought. Charles Bukowski comes to mind. Dennis Lehane. James Crumley. Honest, real, raw. Read this book and get down the bones. Stop reading all this how to stuff. Learn writing by doing it. Make it real and personal. People want to read what YOU have to say, not what someone tell you will be a best seller or some dumb s***. Put your heart and soul out there and see what happens. At least you will be sincere and true to yourself and hopefully won''t put the same generic crap that everyone else is putting out there.
213 people found this helpful
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Patrick M. Burke
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Understanding Natalie Goldberg
Reviewed in the United States on May 26, 2018
If you are going to appreciate reading books on writing craft by Natalie Goldberg you have to first know what she is about. She is not Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Lawrence Block, Mary Karr or Jane Smiley. Those are all authors who took time from their busy... See more
If you are going to appreciate reading books on writing craft by Natalie Goldberg you have to first know what she is about.

She is not Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Lawrence Block, Mary Karr or Jane Smiley. Those are all authors who took time from their busy novel-writing careers to reach back and coach those who also wish to carry that particular baton.

Who Natalie Goldberg is centers around her two main identities - as a zen practitioner and as an instructor of writing mindset. She is about preparing a writer or writing student for a life of production, either commercial or personal (journal?). Reading WRITING DOWN THE BONES (her 1986 maiden voyage), or any of her several other instructional works, you become familiar with her all-in discipline of "writing practice" binge sessions in which adherants tear through as much ink and paper as possible, free of self-editing or even penmanship. Her rules are brutal: hand keeps moving, no crossing out, forget spelling, and losing control of your inner editor. Don''t think, she says, go for the jugular.

There are critics and negative reviewers who fault Goldberg as self-centered because so much of her instructions are classroom anecdotes or daily incidents (or insights about her guru Katagiri Roshi). But such criticisms miss the point. If Buddhist discipline and writing are taught together there must be a dynamic. The hand moves as the nunchuku must fly from the guiding force of spirit, sure and unquestioned.

So understanding that Mz Goldberg is teaching the physicality of writing, the chi of productivity. This informs the reader that undertaking the writer''s life is best done with a sturdy pen and a spiral notebook, not a dipp''d quill and length of parchment.
71 people found this helpful
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S. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I treat this like a chocolate bar. Plan my days around when I get to listen to it again. Sometimes I sneak it.
Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2017
Natalie Goldberg opens with this request: "listen to my slow Jewish voice." Which, upon first hearing, made me think, "Oh brother." It didn''t take long to lose the resistance at all. Writing Down the Bones is a gem of a listen, it''s like the... See more
Natalie Goldberg opens with this request: "listen to my slow Jewish voice." Which, upon first hearing, made me think, "Oh brother."

It didn''t take long to lose the resistance at all. Writing Down the Bones is a gem of a listen, it''s like the oddest little ear candy ever. Her steady metronome style of speaking is filled with rules of engagement, with kindness, and with some arguments to counter your own self when you meet your true resistance. This was written well before the marketing / writing / promoting self-help boom came along, and thank goodness. Natalie Goldberg''s book is entirely without jargon and tactics, god how I hate that word now, and yet it is a complete guide to "writing your asses off." I lived in Boulder and went to Naropa and everyone and their dog was all agog over Writing Down the Bones. It reminded me of being in junior high when all of the girls in my grade were going crazy over Flowers In the Attic, which did nothing for me. As a result, ok years later as an adult, I found fault with the title - I hated it actually. And then refused to read it. My own loss.

Thankfully, years and years later I was making another long commute in the car, and had run out of things to listen to. Radio reception in the mountains, late at night, meant being hostage to the 3 stations that had no static: orchestral music and Jesus channels. No thank you. I grabbed Writing Down the Bones cassette pack (remember those?) from the library in haste... OK already, I yelled at myself. And popped in the tape and began my drive. It was a delightful late night drive that left me energized, alert, optimistic. She sprinkles in bits about her Buddhist practice which informed her writing of the book, without relying on too much woo, for those of you who think Buddhism is for the birds. It reminded me of my own really haphazard practice of Maitri, which means loving kindness. If you listen to Writing Down the Bones, you are engaging in an act of loving kindness to yourself. And if you allow yourself to take that extra step of actually writing, you''re deepening that experience. Or, that''s how I take it. You might actually also have a story to show for it. I''ve gone through the cassettes numerous times. And this is actually my 2nd purchase of the mp3 file since I couldn''t recall the account and password I''d used for the first purchase. It''s worth it to me to have Natalie Goldberg handy in my back pocket. You might think so, too.
59 people found this helpful
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Dante V.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I''m NOT interested in YOGA!
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2018
I find it a little irritating that Natalie, like a few other authors who write books on how to improve your writing, taint the book with their personal, religious beliefs like she does in this book. I''m not interested in any middle eastern religion, yoga, or the advice... See more
I find it a little irritating that Natalie, like a few other authors who write books on how to improve your writing, taint the book with their personal, religious beliefs like she does in this book. I''m not interested in any middle eastern religion, yoga, or the advice of some yoga guru like the one she continuously refers to throughout this book. If you''re going to instruct on the craft of writing, then stay with the subject of writing. Seems like she''s more focused on procyletising people. It was too much a distraction for me.
18 people found this helpful
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Author Jason Stamps
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Book! Amazing Stories
Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2019
Loved reading this book. Wish I was half the writer this author. Great personal stories, and great ideas about writing.
20 people found this helpful
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JognJan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Mix of the Practical and Inspirational
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2017
This book is made up of short (2-3 page) chapters full of practical advice written in a humorous, self-deprecating way. Even if you are an experienced writer and have read other books about writing, you are sure to want this on your bookcase (or in your Kindle). Given the... See more
This book is made up of short (2-3 page) chapters full of practical advice written in a humorous, self-deprecating way. Even if you are an experienced writer and have read other books about writing, you are sure to want this on your bookcase (or in your Kindle). Given the author''s Zen practice, you will also come away with some inspirational nuggets. Example: "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." The book is not really for someone wanting to get published but for someone interested in the process of writing and making sense of their lives.
17 people found this helpful
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PRB67
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent Alternative
Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2016
Excellent alternative to the more structured approaches such as Julia Cameron''s impressive Artist''s Way series. For those who prefer more freedom or less structure, this is a perfect choice. The basic six rules Natalie Goldberg offers are easy to follow. The encouragement... See more
Excellent alternative to the more structured approaches such as Julia Cameron''s impressive Artist''s Way series. For those who prefer more freedom or less structure, this is a perfect choice. The basic six rules Natalie Goldberg offers are easy to follow. The encouragement she offers is uplifting and less intimidating than some authors stress and, in some cases, demand of those undertaking their approach. Ms Goldberg is a practicing Buddhist and this might put off some readers, but the material transcends any religious belief system. I first encountered this book at a critical period in my life and used her technique of free writing to overcome the tests and difficulties I was facing. The technique is not in any way meant to be a method of therapy. Its intention is to discover our creative abilities, release and expand upon them. Whether the goal is to become a professional writer, or simply a better writer on a personal level, the now classic techniques offer simple and straightforward tools to achieve one''s goal.
23 people found this helpful
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Tedric Garrison
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Natalie is a student of Zen Buddhism, a poet, novelist, and a master instructor of creative possibilities.
Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2018
If you are left-brained and want an exact formula to make your writing perfect, this is NOT the book for you. If you are right-brained, or at least open-minded enough to explore other creative possibilities, you have just discovered GOLD! Natalie is a student of Zen... See more
If you are left-brained and want an exact formula to make your writing perfect, this is NOT the book for you. If you are right-brained, or at least open-minded enough to explore other creative possibilities, you have just discovered GOLD! Natalie is a student of Zen Buddhism, a poet, novelist, and a master instructor of creative possibilities. She is the cheerleader that open’s your mind, so you can see a blank page as an opportunity, not an obstacle. She does not tell you how or what to write. She teaches you how to be in tune to your writing… and yourself.
15 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Wordweaver
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The book is as its reputation says - inspiring and gets you to write. That is what I wanted and that is what I got.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 15, 2016
I got this book when I was just about to start a writing course. As a journalist, academic writer, copywriter, I had dabbled in different forms of writing and found that creative writing is a different ballgame altogether. I had just started this Becoming a Writer Course...See more
I got this book when I was just about to start a writing course. As a journalist, academic writer, copywriter, I had dabbled in different forms of writing and found that creative writing is a different ballgame altogether. I had just started this Becoming a Writer Course and was required to read Dorothea Brande. The course allowed me to meet myself as a writer and demanded us to develop skills to become one. In terms of writing books, Natalie Goldberg and Brande talked of about in the same breadth. So while buying Brande, I procured a copy of Goldberg as well and found practical ideas that got me to open my notebook and start scribbling. It is said that nothing will teach you writing better than getting down to writing. But I have found, that dipping into this book now and again, has given me insight and many answers to queries about writing per se. Gist: Goldberg analyses the craft and the whole mindset of writing - how to write and what to write. In short succinct chapters, Goldberg de constructs the myth of writing and talks us through the process with her no nonsense approach. What works: If you are a writer who has dabbled in creative writing and worked towards constructing a story, then this book is great. It is great, inspirational and the book really talks to you. It also addresses various issues like where to write and when to write. It allows you to forget the world, inhibitions and get your thoughts on paper. It makes you take yourself seriously as a writer even if what you are writing at the moment is rubbish! I like to consult it when I am in the middle of writing a piece and find it boosts my morale and gives me direction in terms of writing. It was a book written in the 70s but it holds true even today. It is this element that makes this book timeless to me - a classic. What doesn''t: If you are thinking of becoming a writer and are looking for inspiration, then it is nothing but a good read. But if you want to make it work for you, get down to writing and this book will help you get there!
18 people found this helpful
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Jade
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Goldberg has a profound understanding of the writing process
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2021
By far one of the best books on the subject of writing I have ever come across. What makes this so unique, and sets it apart from other ''how to'' guides, is Goldberg''s personality and infusion of spirituality - informed by her history of Zen meditation practice. This means...See more
By far one of the best books on the subject of writing I have ever come across. What makes this so unique, and sets it apart from other ''how to'' guides, is Goldberg''s personality and infusion of spirituality - informed by her history of Zen meditation practice. This means she approaches writing, and teaching, with more of a ''right-brain'' approach. Writing is all about trusting the subconscious mind, and Goldberg understands this on a deep level - many other books on writing completely overlook the (fundamental) function of intuition in the process and try to turn writing into something purely logical.
2 people found this helpful
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Alec F
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Random thoughts which are unlikely to help many intending authors, and not good value.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 27, 2014
It was interesting to read a book which looks into the motivation for writing rather than the actual mechanics. Unfortunately this attempt to do so was little more than a random collection of thoughts, with frequent references to some guru or another. It did make a few...See more
It was interesting to read a book which looks into the motivation for writing rather than the actual mechanics. Unfortunately this attempt to do so was little more than a random collection of thoughts, with frequent references to some guru or another. It did make a few useful points, but I can''t believe that encouraging everyone to write constant garbage, in the hope that it will eventually improve, is the way ahead. Even the numbered references direct you to the wrong page. Sadly, I feel it''s just not worth the money.
6 people found this helpful
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Guinneal
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 28, 2020
Find the giant within. This books makes sense. Natalie is plain speaking and is every writers cheerleader. Lots of great tips and exercises to fan the creative fire.
One person found this helpful
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Alison
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Common Sense Advice
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2021
A great book. Sound advice and encouragement. One of the best I''ve read.
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Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the new arrival Writer outlet online sale Within online