Writing Down the Bones -Required reading

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” ― Natalie Goldberg

My husband is a newspaper reporter. I am constantly amazed at how he can sit down and write… any time… any place… about anything. He goes to events, takes photos and gets names. Then he sits down at a computer and begins to write about something highly interesting or… sometimes… something boring as all get-out. Some weeks, he writes thousands of words – perhaps thousands upon thousands – to fill pages and holes left on pages. How does he do it?

My mother tells me she’s envious of how I can write almost every day. She sees me, as I see my husband!

Ha! It’s all about perception!

Over the years, I’ve read a lot about writing. Whether wrapped in a book about releasing your creative-self or specifically about writing, they all share a common message: When it comes to writing, just DO IT!

But I’m getting ahead of myself… and not being fair, either, because all the books are unique, too.

Each author’s voice is as different as the covers of the books they’ve written. There is a golden mountain peak on one book, and inside it tells you to write stream-of-consciousness-style every day and extract the nuggets. There is an empty rocking chair on the cover of another, and it says to never use adverbs. There is the plain blue cover that looks like it could have been self-published, except it’s older-than-dirt and people didn’t self-publish like that back then. It tells me to go with my gut.

This book? A spilled ink bottle on the front and a healthy dose of throwing out the rules inside.

I guess it just depends on what gets you writing, eh? And honestly, I liked all the books I’ve read on the subject… and found inspiration from each, in one way or another. It kinda depends on your state-of-mind on certain days, too. Sometimes, I might need a butt-kicking. Others? A gentle nudge.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is an excellent little book, written in 1986, before everyone was sitting in front of a computer writing blog posts. In fact, most of my fave books are the same, which is interesting.

This one is set up like a devotional. The deity is named Writing. Perhaps because Goldberg is a student of Zen, it almost feels like a devotional, too.

It has very short chapters that are engaging and easy to read… and is infused with enthusiasm and storytelling… and she has many stories to tell! She seamlessly weaves experiences in her life into tapestries about writing. And yes, I know it sounds… gushy. But the more I read this book, the more I got gushy, myself.

This book MAKES ME WANT TO WRITE! It should be required reading for all writers… and I mean that!

 

4 comments

  1. It really is all about perception. I find myself envious of writers who put out short stories in a week while I have trouble writing one in a month. I’ll have to give the book a look! Thanks for the recommendation

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