Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, 2nd Edition

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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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Expanded edition (December 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590302613
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590302613
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces

Customer Reviews

Has a place of honor on my reference shelf.

87 people found this helpful.
 on April 28, 2001
By Bonnie
Many books on writing are strictly craft books. Some are about becoming “pro” – dealing with editors, managing your PR. This is not about that. WILD MIND is about practicing the art of writing and about the life of one writer, Natalie Goldberg. But is so clearly instructive, so vividly stimulating, that reading it will automatically boost your own creative fires, and very likely your output. So…in its way, it is a surprisingly practical book.

A Writing Classic

188 people found this helpful.
 on April 24, 2004
By Kay Porterfield
Natalie Goldberg’s insights about writing as a spirtual practice are just as valid today as they were in 1986 when this book was first published. Her suggestions to writers work, both for beginning writers and for writers who depend on words in order to make a living. I recommend this book to the emerging writers I mentor as a must-have reference second only to a good dictionary.

Excellent Alternative

6 people found this helpful.
 on June 7, 2016
By Rainsford 1942
Excellent alternative to the more structured approaches such as Julia Cameron’s impressive Artist’s Way series. For those who prefer more freedom or less structure, this is a perfect choice. The basic six rules Natalie Goldberg offers are easy to follow. The encouragement she offers is uplifting and less intimidating than some authors stress and, in some cases, demand of those undertaking their approach. Ms Goldberg is a practicing Buddhist and this might put off some readers, but the material transcends any religious belief system. I first encountered this book at a critical period in my life and used her technique of free writing to overcome the tests and difficulties I was facing. The technique is not in any way meant to be a method of therapy. Its intention is to discover our creative abilities, release and expand upon them. Whether the goal is to become a professional writer, or simply a better writer on a personal level, the now classic techniques offer simple and straightforward tools to achieve one’s goal.

Read this if you seriously want to produce. AWESOME!!!

11 people found this helpful.
 on July 18, 2016
By Jeff Richardson
I think the negative reviews on here are missing the bigger picture. So what if she relates writing through the zen mind thing and speaks a lot about spirituality. The point is to ultimately to get your ass in the chair and write. Quit thinking about it and do it. She also elaborates on writing whatever is in your mind…to just let go and let it come out. Think about your favorite writers. Are they real? Does some crazy stuff come out? Look at best selling writers like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or even the chick that wrote 50 Shades…..did it takes some courage to write what they do? Don’t u think some people think they are crazy? I can remember reading Stephen King’s books and thinking this dude lost his mind. I love Stephen King’s books. Is their writing the same s*** you read everywhere else? They write some pretty real stuff-stuff that only they could come up with. It’s intensely personal, honest and unique to them. They had to dig deep and put down the bones regardless of what others thought. Charles Bukowski comes to mind. Dennis Lehane. James Crumley. Honest, real, raw. Read this book and get down the bones. Stop reading all this how to stuff. Learn writing by doing it. Make it real and personal. People want to read what YOU have to say, not what someone tell you will be a best seller or some dumb s***. Put your heart and soul out there and see what happens. At least you will be sincere and true to yourself and hopefully won’t put the same generic crap that everyone else is putting out there.

I am an artist. I paint. I draw …

4 people found this helpful.
 on January 4, 2017
I am an artist. I paint. I draw. I write. And this is the loveliest book about self discovery, acceptance, and self realization that I have ever read. In simple, peaceful terms, she has brought together a minimalist structure of brief, poignant chapters, in a way that makes me sigh. Over and over again. There are no ‘recipes’. There are no ‘steps’. So if you need those in a How To… look elsewhere. This book is more a guide, through poetic ramblings of the mind, to allowing yourself, albeit a more minimal and primitive self, to come forward out of the din that surrounds us all. This book transcends the practice of writing and can be applied to anything in life that is difficult to achieve, and that you truly wish to achieve. Provided there is a peaceful means to get there, of course. This quickly became one of my most treasured, and most trustworthy books.

So Good I Couldn’t Put It Down

59 people found this helpful.
 on August 31, 2001
By Stogie Chomper
When I took a creative writing course a few years ago, Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” was a required text. It was so good I couldn’t put it down.


3 people found this helpful.
 on November 11, 2016
By Melissa
Natalie Golderg has a style that made me fell in love with HER…

See and write beyond yourself.

 on June 22, 2015
By reader
Ms. Goldberg helped me open up more in my writing, to see things in a different perspective, and even in a deeper way that brings emotion to the reader. I was also encourage that I had already begun to practice in some of the ways she suggested. Quality information that you will continue to go back and review when needed.

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