Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611803082
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 43,390
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Writing Down the Bones"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Natalie Goldberg.
Excerpted by permission of Shambhala.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Julia Cameron xi

Foreword Bill Addison xiii

Preface to the Thirtieth Anniversary Edition xvii

Preface to the Second Edition xxi

Introduction 1

Beginner's Mind, Pen and Paper 5

First Thoughts 8

Writing as a Practice 11

Composting 15

Artistic Stability 18

A List of Topics for Writing Practice 21

Fighting Tofu 25

Trouble with the Editor 28

Elkton, Minnesota: Whatever's in Front of You 29

Tap the Water Table 32

We Are Not the Poem 34

Man Eats Car 36

Writing Is Not a McDonald's Hamburger 39

Obsessions 42

Original Detail 45

The Power of Detail 47

Baking a Cake 50

Living Twice 53

Writers Have Good Figures 55

Listening 57

Don't Marry the Fly 60

Don't Use Writing to Get Love 62

What Are Your Deep Dreams? 65

Syntax 67

Nervously Sipping Wine 72

Don't Tell, but Show 75

Be Specific 77

Big Concentration 79

The Ordinary and Extraordinary 81

Talk Is the Exercise Ground 84

Writing Is a Communal Act 86

One Plus One Equals a Mercedes-Benz 89

Be an Animal 90

Make Statements and Answer Questions 93

The Action of a Sentence 95

Writing in Restaurants 98

The Writing Studio 103

A Big Topic: Eroticism 105

A Tourist in Your Own Town 108

Write Anyplace 110

Go Further 112

Engendering Compassion 114

Doubt Is Torture 117

A Little Sweet 119

A New Moment 120

Why Do I Write? 122

Every Monday 126

More About Mondays 128

Spontaneous Writing Booths 130

A Sensation of Space 133

A Large Field to Wander In 136

The Goody Two-Shoes Nature 140

No Hindrances 144

A Meal You Love 147

Use Loneliness 149

Blue Lipstick and a Cigarette Hanging Out Your Mouth 151

Going Home 152

A Story Circle 156

Writing Marathons 160

Claim Your Writing 164

Trust Yourself 167

The Samurai 169

Rereading and Rewriting 172

I Don't Want to Die 177

Epilogue 179

Afterword: An Interview with the Author 181

Natalie Goldberg in Her Own Voice 196

Notes 198

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