Customer Reviews for

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Average Rating 4.5
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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

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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

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  • Posted September 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    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 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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting but not necessarily for beginners

    Goldberg believes that writing in the moment and not dwelling so much on our ideas is a good thing. She almost begs us to free write daily and if it will help, to write with a partner that you can bounce ideas off of.

    She often seeks the guidance of her Zen master who often tells her to look into herself for the answer or tries to steer her in the direction she is after.

    She uses numerous notebooks for her writing, one for every time she wants to start fresh. She is also quite peculiar about her notebooks and I do find that I too am that way, glad I am not alone in this.

    Natalie akins her writing to spiritual practice where in one must take their time getting everything out on paper whether or not in one sitting. She stresses finding that connection within yourself and write peacefully. Write not only what you know but about where you are, place you are, and what is going on in your surroundings. She also says that she journals a lot and sometimes when she looks back at her previous writings it can bring a spark to her writing now or let her see where she was at that time. She says that journaling is telling, deep from within your soul.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Feeling the writer within

    A good book for students to have to assist in the writing process.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 9, 2009

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    Posted September 23, 2010

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    Posted April 27, 2011

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