Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Read: 18 February, 2014

In Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg takes a Zen-inspired approach to creative writing. And, indeed, her descriptions and advice use writing almost as a form of meditation – of being actively present in one’s life and environment.

I found it to be a very interesting concept, and it’s certainly inspirational. It took me days longer to read than it should have because I had to keep putting it down to go write for a while.

The approach was a little New Age-y for my tastes at time, but I only cringed a few times and the rest of the book made it quite worthwhile.

In terms of the kind of advice, there’s very little (almost none, really) attention paid to the mechanics of writing. Rather, Goldberg focuses on the mindset and habit of writing, the way to approach writing. In that way, it was quite different from what I was expecting, and had almost nothing in common with, say, Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction (except in the advice to practice often and a lot). So I think it works really well for someone who either didn’t take to Burroway’s methods, or who would like to approach the subject from a variety of different angles.

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