Natalie Goldberg – Writing Down the Bones

Has anyone ever read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg? It was one of the first writing books that I ever bought and I read this book over and over again when I was younger.

The basis of this book is that if you want to be a writer you have to do one thing – WRITE. And sometimes, that’s where people get stuck. They get this editor monkey on their back telling them that they aren’t good enough, that’s a stupid idea, they can’t write that because it will offend someone, they have no clue what they are talking about…and so on. And this monkey stops them from doing exactly what they want to do – write.

So, the concept of this book is to ban the monkey and give yourself permission to write crap. To write knowing that it doesn’t matter. To write purely for the pleasure of putting the words on the pages (or the screen). And to write without thinking and without stopping for a pre-defined period of time. For a lot of people this is easier said than done. But with practice you will find that it does your writing a lot of good.

I used to do daily timed writings – 10 minutes minimum – and I’d write on whatever subject first came to mind. Sometimes I would stay with that subject and sometimes I wouldn’t but I would write, non-stop for that period of time. And then I’d put it aside and move on to more important stuff.

It is one of the reasons that I can write up to 3000 words in an hour. It may not be the greatest 3000 words but in those words there is usable stuff. I let the monkey come back only when the story is done and then it gets cleaned up.

If you have a chance to check out Writing Down the Bones, please do. It’s a great book!


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