Customer Reviews for

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Average Rating 4.5
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Excellent Book

Natalie Goldberg makes you want to write, even if you have no desire or ability. She is inspiring. Whether you have an interest in writing or not, this is a good book to have in your library. It could be helpful for anyone who does any type of writing. She forces yo...
Natalie Goldberg makes you want to write, even if you have no desire or ability. She is inspiring. Whether you have an interest in writing or not, this is a good book to have in your library. It could be helpful for anyone who does any type of writing. She forces you to think in detail and to be more descriptive.

posted by 650824 on February 20, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

An Abstract and Zen Look at Living The Writer's Life

So many books on writing delve specifically into the craft of writing, explaining how to structure sentences, create memorable characters, move plotline along, or write interesting dialogue. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg is not o...
So many books on writing delve specifically into the craft of writing, explaining how to structure sentences, create memorable characters, move plotline along, or write interesting dialogue. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg is not one of those books. In her writing how-to, Goldberg discusses the writing life, including why writers write, how to engage with the universe through the act of writing, and how to get past the internal blocks and censors that would prevent writers from writing.

Natalie Goldberg is a writing teacher, and in Writing Down The Bones, she promotes the act of writing practice. Writing practice is daily journal writing, handwritten and free flowing thought. Goldberg refers to this type of writing as "first thought," the rich and vibrant thought that accompanies the act of letting go. A student of Zen and meditation, Goldberg marries the two concepts, often quoting her Zen teachers and discussing making writing a part of daily life.

Those interested in understanding how to craft a novel or write memoir or delve into poetry can all benefit from this little book. No, it will not specify the secrets to public success as a writer. However, it will provide the encouragement and explain the reward with allowing oneself to be a writer. Goldberg specifically discusses the concept of what she refers to as "monkey mind," that internal censor that challenges all artists. It asks them, "Who do you think you are?" when delving into creative endeavors. She strategizes methods of dealing with money mind and shutting down the censor, returning to writing as the solution.

Goldberg is a proponent of writing mirroring life, and she challenges writers to explore all aspects of their lives in writing, explaining that avoiding uncomfortable topics will be evident to readers. Often, Writing Down The Bones gets quite abstract and new age. She explains that writing has less to do with talent than it does with practice, and she insists that writers write using all of their senses, engaging their readers with detailed explanations the environment in which the event is occurring. For writers of fast-paced or genre fiction, Goldberg's tactics may seem more useful to someone writing in other genres. However, Goldberg's perspective of writing as art and as having higher meaning as a form of art serves as a reminder to all artists the higher power they, themselves, are serving.

Goldberg meets her topics with humor and enthusiasm, challenging common writing dilemmas like where to write, how to write, when to write, and finding time. Her simple solution? Two words that can sum up all of the concepts in Writing Down The Bones: just write. Make no excuses, for the internal censor will be very creative itself in encouraging writers not to write. Just write, and appreciate life, and bring that appreciation and understanding to the page.

posted by Richard_Szponder on September 19, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 2 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Given how heavily this book is promoted to new writers I was sho

    Given how heavily this book is promoted to new writers I was shocked at how disappointed I was in it. "Writing Down The Bones" may have been more aptly titled "If You Write Poetry and Need a Cheerleader, I'm Here for You".

    I really did try to like this book and in that spirit I should add that while I immensely enjoyed the personal stories that, say, Stephen King and David Morrell shared in their memoirs, WRITING DOWN THE BONES  felt like it was all about her, her, her. And how can I possibly pretend to identify with the horrible problem of being so obsessed with her friend's roommate's chocolate brownies that she (a) can't concentrate on a movie and (b) blows off her friends so that she can rush home to eat the aforementioned brownies? I'm not sure what the point of her chocolate obsession story ultimately wasn't funny and it colored the way I saw the author as I slogged through the rest of the book.

    If you're looking for a deeply personal read written by a poet for other poets, this book will serve you well. If you're looking for a book that actually delves into craft and technique, particularly for novel writers, I suggest Stephen King's ON WRITING or David Morrell's  THE SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST. If you're looking for a particularly "female" memoir with writing advice, go with Janet Evanovich's HOW I WRITE.  Even that book, which is too shallow for anyone other than the absolute beginner, is more useful than WRITING DOWN THE BONES.

    I really did try to like this book but the title is misleading and I didn't get what I expected. Unfortunately, even after adjusting my expectations I still little of use here.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 2 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1