Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
30th Anniversary Edition
Writing Down the Bones is one of Natalie Goldberg’s earlier works. It was first published in 1986 and the 30th-anniversary edition was published in 2016. According to the author’s website, the book has been translated into fourteen different languages and has sold more than a million copies worldwide.
In this instructive book, Natalie brings together principles of Zen with writing and writing practice. In these pages you will find ways to outline that help get the creative juices flowing, and emphasize the importance of writing on a regular basis.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Goldberg took a complex subject and broke it down into simple but elegant language. Her primary focus is on the art of practice. She proposes that you always be in a writer’s mind and focus on the details during your normal daily life, and then to write with those details.
Goldberg advises the writer to resist editing and give themselves permission to be somewhat sloppy during the initial creation process. This allows the words to flow more naturally from the writer’s pen. She also provides a number of creative suggestions for writing prompts that can help the writer dig deeper.
Her recommended writing prompts tend to lean towards memoir-type writing, which makes sense as she typically writes either memoir or instruction books on writing and painting, but it can easily stoke the creative fire for fictional stories and creative non-fiction as well.
In my opinion, Writing Down the Bones, while a touch repetitive, is an excellent resource to encourage the novice writer to develop good writing habits to keep the words flowing as well as practical support to add passion and poignancy to the words of the more experienced author.
You can get your own copy of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg on her website!