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Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  4,039 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Natalie Goldberg, author of the bestselling "Writing Down The Bones," teaches a method of writing that can take you beyond craft to the true source of creative power: The mind that is "raw, full of energy, alive and hungry."Here is compassionate, practical, and often humorous advice about how to find time to write, how to discover your personal style, how to make sentences ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Bantam (first published 1990)
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On Writing by Stephen KingThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.Bird by Bird by Anne LamottWriting Down the Bones by Natalie GoldbergEats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Best Books on Writing
33rd out of 478 books — 857 voters
On Writing by Stephen KingBird by Bird by Anne LamottThe Artist's Way by Julia CameronWriting Down the Bones by Natalie GoldbergLetters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Best Books on Creative Life
31st out of 233 books — 317 voters

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Community Reviews

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The kind of book (or maybe it's her other one, they are equally horrible) that asks its reader to stand in front of the mirror every day, look one's self in the eye and declare to one's self: "I am a writer." If that sounds like your bag, then I say, have at it...

On another note, Ms Goldberg once came into a bookstore I used to work at. She was one of those nightmare author-customers, the kind who throws a "I need to speak to your manager" tantrum because her books aren't displayed prominently e
I just finished reading Natalie Goldberg’s book on writing. I don’t know how the book ended up in my hands but now that I’m writing, I was intrigued. Overall, I was disappointed. Parts of the book I found classist and other parts bordered on racist. The book is part of Bantam’s New Age collection, so there’s a lot the author tries to convey in a spiritual/philosophical vein. However, her tone seems to conflict with the message she says she wants to convey. As for the book’s structure, I don’t th ...more
Violeta Nedkova
Most writers refer to Writing Down the Bones as a good book to read, but I'd have to say that I enjoyed the sequel better. Wild Mind promotes what Goldberg calls Writing Practice, which is when you free-write until the nonsense turns into sense. It's a collection of essays that touch on life and art issues and it is truly one of my favorite books on writing to date.
Marlena Frank
Mar 10, 2011 Marlena Frank rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lisa Kessler
Recommended to Marlena by: Kelley Frank
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marc Vosburgh
Jul 27, 2009 Marc Vosburgh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone that stuggles with writing or wants to become a writer.
Recommended to Marc by: Pro. Levy
I hate writing and I hate to read much. So when I had to read a book about writing I was not excited at all. When I got the copy of Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life and started to read it, I caught myself wanting to read more and trying all the "Try This" that I could. Natalie Goldberg approach to writing is completely different from what most people are taught. She breaks down the 238 page book into 62 chapters and 35 "Try This" exercises. Each chapter is very short usually about two or thre ...more
Natalie Goldberg has definitely been a writing guru and true inspiration for me over the years. This book, along with her other book, Writing Down the Bones, sit on my desk as books I can open I be reminded why I write and how to get into the meat of how to write.

"You have to let writing eat your life and follow it where it takes you. You fit into it; it doesn't fit neatly into your life. It makes you wild..." she writes.

Her books morphed me from writing as a "lust" into writing being a "passio
Debbie Petersen
Since I read Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones practically at the same time, I have them in my head as one book. One bit of advice helped me with my morning pages, when I am stuck and sitting there knowing I have to write three pages longhand before I get up and feeling completely blank and distracted by everything else I have to get done today ( on sentence!) Simply start with "I remember"...before this, my morning pages were really just daily journaling of complaints and worries, b ...more
Jean Marie Angelo
I had a group of writer friends years ago who met regularly to do these exercises. Was like spiritual food. Highly recommended for anyone living the creative life.
Erica Chang
the best book i've read about writing so far. not a lot of technical instructions but rather soulful and that's what writing's really about in my opinion
Erasmo Guerra
Wild Mind is Natalie Goldberg's follow up to the classic how-to book Writing Down the Bones. I'd read both books in the early '90s, Bones on a long bus ride from South Texas to New York, and Wild Mind soon after when Goldberg was doing a reading in the city. I'd always meant to dip back into it for a re-read. Finally, after more than a decade, while feeling a bit aimless in my writing life, I pulled it off the shelf.

The book not only reintroduced me to the rules of writing practice, but it also
This is a great book if you want to write. I love reading and writing, so this book amazed me, even as a high school student. Natalie Goldberg has a way of teaching you to pull out everything inside of you and slap it caty-whampus on a page. It is , very simply, a book on how to find your inner writer, whether you have any intentions of being a writer professionally or not. It has you start out with morning pages ( although I think that's what they call them in "the Artist's Way") and then gives ...more
Jacqueline Hager-Bodnar
I love reading books on writing and came across this Kindle one. I purchased and read it in a week. I think it's a good book, well worth reading. It has many good writing exercises throughout. I grew tired of a few of the stories by the end (the drug taking, the rant about not needing a degree, etc.). The bit about getting a degree being a waste seemed ridiculous to me, especially since early on she made a point via Hemingway in say that "...if a writer knows something, even if he doesn't write ...more
This morning, I read five chapters and finished Wild Mind. I was immersed in Natalie Goldberg's writing. I love this woman. Her writing is rich and beautiful.She is really a gifted writer. Each chapter brought to life an analogy or personal reflection. I enjoyed gleaning the nuggets she shared throughout the book.

I'm eager to start her first book called Writing Down The Bones.

Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg is a great book which I highly recommend to all writers on any level. There is something fo
Natalie's writing is so refreshing and full of enthusiam about writing. I love how she broke each chapter with a try this, made you feel like you had your cheerleader encouraging you to take the next step. There are lots of good writing tips for all levels of writers and poets alike.
I never thought about how a writer feels when they reach the ending of a story. A good author lives with their character day in day out and then closes the door. It's got to be like losing a best friend.
I feel like
Ruth Charchian
Wow! Natalie Goldberg is phenominal. This is a remarkable book. Her approach is significantly different from other books on writing and much more suited to my style of "just do it." She gets you started with topics to prime the writer's writing pump. It is amazing what you know that you don't know you know. I dare anyone who reads this book to read it and not be compelled, inspired, and stimulated to pick up a pen and write like crazy.
Literary Mama
Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind. The first was given to me around 2000 as I tried to infuse my academic prose with life. This book gave me the freedom to scribble outside the lines. Don't doubt, just trust yourself and go, she seems to say. I bought Wild Mind shortly afterward, and off I went.
Read Literary Mama's full review here:
Five years of HE has given me both a horror of writing and an appreciation of its necessity. I'm reading this in an attempt to get over the horror. Natalie G is ever-so-slightly *woo*, but in a good, proper zen way rather than a bullshit way. She writes beautifully. And she inspires me to get on with writing like no-one else.
A good read. I will come back to it when I have writer's block or feel like I need to explore things that I haven't. I especially enjoyed it given that I'm from New Mexico, where the author resides. It's a little bit odd, of course, but I suppose you wouldn't pick up a book called Wild Mind expecting it to be tame.
I have read and reread this book 4 times since buying it in July. What I learned was how fine tune my writing practice everyday and find time to write through out the day!
I found that this book gave me great creative sparks. At the time my engine wasn't really turning over but I think it could be a good read when you're stuck.
Joan Winnek
I read parts of these two books to my English classes as starters for ten-minute journal-writing times.
Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones, has been sitting on my shelf for a while, started but not finished. There were so many references to Zen Buddhism and Ms. Goldberg's Zen teacher that she lost me before even really capturing my interest so I never got very far. This volume started out the same way but since I got it from NetGalley I felt obligated to review it and so kept reading. I'm glad I did because there is a lot of very good advice in it, such as to slow down and notice things we ...more
A few weeks ago I posted a blog on my livejournal and myspace pages about how I was in the mood to write…which a rare occurrence for me. A friend suggested I read a book called “Wild Mind” by Natalie Goldberg. Naturally, me being the book addict I am, automatically flipped to to research this title. I found out that the book was about ‘living the writer’s life” and included tips and practice techniques for writing. I purchased the book within a week.

I love books…I love going to bookstore
J.C. Hart
I read this book back in October last year while I was taking a break from my writing. I was hoping that it would help me figure out what was blocking me from writing my story, and while to begin with it didn't seem as though I was getting much from it, by the time I reached the ending I was pleasantly surprised.

This is a meandering book, with the stories shared not being told in chronological order, nor do they always seem to have a clear point. However, there are lots of examples about how thi
While the first half, or first two-thirds, of this book are filled with mostly common sense (some interesting motivational moments tossed in here and there), the last third of the book was actually page-turningly intriguing to me. I think overall it's a great read for a writer -- inspiring, motivational, at times insightful. Take what you need, leave what you don't.

There isn't much structure to the book, not even within chapters. Somtimes it seems thoughts fly in from nowhere. But I think that'
"The mind is raw, full of energy, alive and hungry. It does not think in the way we were brought up to think- well-mannered, congenial." (p.xiii)

"Trusting your own mind is essential for writing. Words come out of the mind." (p.1)

"Writing practice is simply something fundamental, like the colors black and white or moving one foot in front of the other when you walk. The problem is we don;t notice that movement of one foot in front of the other. We just move our feet. Writing practice asks you to
I am not a writer and I never plan to be. However what Goldberg has to say about writing can be applied to almost any thing that you want to do or be. If you want to be something you need to show up and do it regularly.

For me, this was an important reminder to weave more. If I want to get more weaving done, I have to do it every day, every opportunity.

Thank you Natalie Goldberg for the reminders.

Helpful insights into writing and the writing life. I like that she shares the struggles of writing a novel after 13 years of poetry. Somehow it is a comfort knowing that it's hard even if you already been acknowledged as successful. The writer's style is a bit too disconnected and abstract at times, but overall useful exercises and examples.
Marty Babits
'Wild Mind' is a terrific book about writing and a great introduction, it was my introduction, to a lot of ideas about meditation. Goldberg gives herself a lovely kind of freedom to explore her excitement about exploring her mind, the way it works, the ways in which she rides it as she would currents of a windy day or rowdy river. She reveals herself in fits and starts, never holding back but, for me at least, she resists saying more than what makes sense at the moment. If you read a lot of her ...more
probably because this is the first book i've actually finished for a while, i am infatuated with it.
every writer needs one on their shelves, for ocasional reference when you're feeling writer's block creeping up - get into your wind mind!
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Natalie Goldberg lived in Brooklyn until she was six, when her family moved out to Farmingdale, Long Island, where her father owned the bar the Aero Tavern. From a young age, Goldberg was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Carson McCullers's The Ballad of the Sad Cafe , which she read in ninth grade. She thinks that single book led her eventually to put pen to paper when she was twe ...more
More about Natalie Goldberg...
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft Banana Rose

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“After you have finished a piece of work, the work is then none of your business. Go on and do something else.” 17 likes
“I remember a friend many years ago who had taped a sign to his refrigerator: There's a dream dreaming us. If you try to think about what that means it makes your mind silly, but that silliness is good.” 17 likes
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