Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

( 46 )

Overview

For more than twenty years Natalie Goldberg has been challenging and cheering on writers with her books and workshops. In her groundbreaking first book, she brings together Zen meditation and writing in a new way. Writing practice, as she calls it, is no different from other forms of Zen practice —"it is backed by two thousand years of studying the mind."

This new edition, which marks almost twenty years since the original book's publication, includes a new preface in which ...

See more details below
Paperback (Expanded)
$10.43
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (51) from $4.17   
  • New (14) from $8.46   
  • Used (37) from $4.17   
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$14.00 List Price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

For more than twenty years Natalie Goldberg has been challenging and cheering on writers with her books and workshops. In her groundbreaking first book, she brings together Zen meditation and writing in a new way. Writing practice, as she calls it, is no different from other forms of Zen practice —"it is backed by two thousand years of studying the mind."

This new edition, which marks almost twenty years since the original book's publication, includes a new preface in which Goldberg expresses her trademark enthusiasm for writing practice, as well as a depth of appreciation for the process that has come with time and experience. Also included is an interview with the author in which she reflects on the relationship between Zen sitting practice and writing, the importance of place, and the power of memory.

A splendid combination of Zen wisdom and down-to-earth advice about writing.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

School Library Journal
YA Goldberg will catch readers interested in writing with her opening confession that she was a ``goody-two-shoes all through school'' and should hold them until she pulls the last page from her typewriter, one ``Sunday night at eleven.'' Part writing guide, part Zen philosophy, and part personal diary, this book has the smooth, fast flow of a conversation with a good friend who, while struggling with her own writing, has picked up more than a few tips that she eagerly shares. Definitely not another ``how to write better themes'' or a rehash of the writing process, Goldberg's short, quirky chapters give the finer points of how to write in a restaurant and why bother to write at all. The earnest, slightly Bohemian, occasionally vulnerable voice will endear her to young writers who are looking not so much for a teacher or text as for validation that they can write and for some simple but intriguing tips to get them started. While there are the required chapters on using detail and keeping a journal, the most important thing Goldberg has to say to young people is that ``we have lived. Our moments are important. This is what it is to be a writer: to be the carrier of details that make up history. ''Carolyn Praytor Boyd, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590302613
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/6/2005
  • Edition description: Expanded
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 48,872
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.41 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Natalie Goldberg is the author of ten books. Writing Down the Bones, her first, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into twelve languages. For the last thirty years she has practiced Zen and taught seminars in writing as a spiritual practice. She lives in New Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

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
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • 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
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    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 you to think in detail and to be more descriptive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is a virtual bible in the creative writing circles on the process of freeing the writer within. Before Julia Cameron¿s bestselling Artist¿s Way there was Natalie Goldberg¿s Writing Down the Bones in 1986 and now a staple in workshops around North America. Goldberg¿s Zen meditation training has greatly influenced her teaching style and methodology which is reflective in this book. Writing Down the Bones brings a collection of techniques and practices for writers at various stages in their career, published or not. Goldberg mixes her methods with her Zen wisdom for a rich text on using the sensory faculties to bring out narrative whilst maintaining the clear mind focus required completing a creative project. There is no systematic rigid method in this book which allows a reader to jump around and still benefit from Goldberg¿s guidance. The fundamental of Writing Down the Bones is stimulating our senses and primal reactions to scent or sight to inspire what one writes about. There are real nuggets of gold in this book and one has to be quite a prospector when going through its sections. Some of the best advice for a writer includes the following from Goldberg: ¿ Timed writing ¿ keep your hand moving for 10 to 20 minutes without stopping. This is a form of ¿stream of consciousness¿ writing. ¿ No editing while doing timed writing. ¿ Forget spelling and grammar ¿ just go and write, write, write! ¿ Lose control in the narrative ¿ just say it with the pen without restraint! ¿ Don¿t think. Don¿t get logical. Lose yourself in the experience and get raw with your writing. ¿ Go for the jugular ¿ say with your writing exactly what you have in mind and forget about rules for a while. This is an intimate experience for you only so no external judgment will come upon you. ¿ Keep a list of writing ideas ¿ Try to fill a notebook a month ¿ Forget writer¿s guilt over unfinished products or breaks in your writing practice. ¿ Don¿t use writing for love ¿ a key wise woman saying especially given the propensity for melancholy in literary types 'ouch!' lest one get addicted to journaling instead of publishing and polishing their writing craft! ¿ The action of a sentence ¿ chapter on using verb as the energy behind a sentence and Natalie¿s exercise on constructing a connection between nouns. ¿ Consider participating in a story circle for creative support. ¿ Have a writing marathon once in a while. There are actual weekend writers¿ marathons throughout North America. One concept that Goldberg talks about in the ¿Afterward¿ section of the expanded edition of Writing Down the Bones is the importance of place. Location, just like real estate, is everything. Goldberg states that environment can really make a particular writing project come alive. For her, a place is the third character, particularly in novels. No wonder some authors love to go away to another part of the world to complete a story. The sensory experience of a town or city or building can evoke with intimacy a sense of story that goes deeper than a textbook description. Writing Down the Bones frees the writer within by pulling them out through their own senses. Goldberg¿s book is another mainstay for writers everywhere to keep their art fresh, engaging, and alive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 17, 2014

    Fabulous!!

    I love the ideas she expresses. It helps you realize that not everything has to be perfect to be just that. It's helped my writing, as soon as stop havin to use it as a sourse for a stupid essay for english it will be twice as enjoyable!! Essays are such kill joys. Only thing dragging it down. Funny, matter of fact, to the point, yet poetic. I like the short chapter lengths so I don't have to stop in thr middle and be confused when I come back. Seriously, buy the book. But wouldn't recomend a nook copy. Get a hard copy, teust me, you'll wanna mark this up.

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

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Fresh baked word Fresh baked breas D Thw E The smell of fresh baked bread

    It takes you by surprise
    it enters your nostrils
    and sits in our lungs

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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 September 18, 2012

    Great author, great writing advice

    Natalie Goldberg keeps it real and goes deep. A must have for anyone that loves to write

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 25, 2011

    lovely handbook for writers of all shapes and sizes

    I was very impressed with the style of this book. It was very easy-going, there were none of those prescribed ideas of writers being "qualified" to write or such and such. The content is somewhat redundant at times. I feel as though she could have squished some short chapters together because of their similarity in content. However, she is very insistent on the idea of PRACTICE writing, in which the writer literally just has to sit down and write in order to produce anything.
    Had to read for a class, but I blew through it pretty fast and am so glad that I did have to read it! I recommend it to anyone that even has an inkling of journaling or writing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I have only written a few short articles and would like to write childrens stories and this book was very inspirational. I recommend it to everyone who has thought about writing or all ready is a writer.

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Great book!

    I've been 'stuck' for a while now in what I guess would be a called a 'writer's block,' and this book is freeing me up! This book, along with her other masterpiece, Old Friend from Far Away, is wonderful and inspiring, and encouraging... especially if you're feeling ready to write, but for various reasons have been stuck! Would definitely recommend it to everyone! :-)

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

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

    Posted June 29, 2009

    A helpful writing guide

    Natalie has truly captured the essence of "how to write." She presents the material in a "no holds barred" format. I learned there are really NO rules to writing other than to just write.

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

    Posted February 7, 2005

    It's my bible!!!!

    I carry this book everywhere with me! The second I started reading it, I desired nothing else but to write, write, write. My book is filled with post-it notes, high-lites, and notes scribbled in the margins. I definitely recommend this book. It saved me when I was at my worst with writer's block.

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

    Posted March 3, 2004

    Get Up and Write

    Writing Down the Bones:Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. This book is a collection of 66 lessons on writing. Some of her essays are short and sweet that include ludicrous titles such as Writing Is Not a McDonald's Hamburger and Man Eats Car. Although, this book was published in 1986, it's ideas and theories are still as fresh and new as they were years ago. Her book is very appealing to potential and beginner writers that need some direction in that slow track to becoming a great writer. Even experienced writers can look back on Goldberg's teachings just to refresh their memories. Her useful tips and suggestions will help a person start writing as well as to continue with it, but the main point being that the writer must write about anything everday. Being able to incorporate what you write into your life's routine as well as using your life to write about will open up a whole new world for you. Being able to express yourself through writing will clear your mind and make you free from all of your emotions. Goldberg does not tell you what to write but she does tell you write as much as you can. The more you write and practice your techniques the better writer you will become. Her key advice to becoming a better writer is to set a time to write everyday and make it part of your schdule. And it doesn't matter what you write just as long as you are writing and putting your thoughts down on paper.

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

    Posted May 10, 2001

    A must-read for writers

    I must say I love this book. It was required reading for a college class, so I came to it with the expectation that it would be dry and dull. What a surprise! I read it all in two sittings. Who wouldn't want to read a book with chapters like '2+2= a Mercedes Benz'? Whenever I'm feeling down about my writing now, I can pick this up, read a few chapters, and be inspired.

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

    Posted October 5, 2000

    Goldberg's gifts to all who hold pens- Clarity and Inclusion

    As an instructor of writing for college freshman, I feel blessed to have discovered the value of this precious little 'Writing Down the Bones.' To say that Goldberg's writing advice 'empowers' my students seems trite and so inadequate. What she really accomplishes is inspiration and a warm accepting embrace of their potential as writers. She promises that everything she says 'as a teacher is ultimately aimed at people trusting their own voices and writing from it.' Natalie Goldberg accomplishes this and much more - she strengthens the very 'bones' of my students and makes them believe that they have something real to say.

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

    Posted May 12, 2000

    Writing: Your Practice and Craft.

    I've been a journalist for ten years and I've read hundreds of How-To writing books. Natalie is the best. Her sequel is Wild Minds and is just as wonderful. Why? She gets you writing. She gives you confidence. She teaches patience. Start with her and soon you actually see progress. Her point is to live a writer's life. Practice your craft the way she teaches and you will see your writing 'self' grow. I highly recommend her.

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

    Posted July 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)