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“Writing Down the Bones”

One of my favorite writing-related books is called Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. As the title suggests, it’s not a book that provides step-by-step guidance on how to create works of fiction or non-fiction. It doesn’t include fill-in-the-blank outlines for your projects. And it does, as some Amazon reviewers suggest, treat writing as something of a spiritual journey and even romanticizes it a little.

That isn’t what everyone wants of course, but I’m more than open to both the romantic and the spiritual, especially when accompanied by the eminently practical.

I can speak from experience when I say that if you follow Goldberg’s advice to take up your pen and keep your hand moving across the page without stopping to read or judge or edit, it can help you conquer the obstacles that keep writers and would-be writers from doing what they love. It gives you permission to write badly, which incidentally, is the same permission you need to be brilliant.

I’m not really sure why I thought of Natalie Goldberg’s book today –– I didn’t come across it while rearranging shelves or anything. Maybe it came to mind because of the author note Kenneth Tam posted yesterday, the one that said writing a book is hard work (true) and a privilege (also true). It got me thinking about this magical craft of writing.

As for the ‘magical’ part, I’ll save that for another day…