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Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,706 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
Natalie Goldberg, author of the bestsellingWriting Down The Bones, teaches a methodof writing that can take you beyond craft to thetrue source of creative power: The mind that is"raw, full of energy, alive andhungry."

Here is compassionate, practical, and oftenhumorous advice about how to find time to write,how to discover your personal style, how to makesentences come aliv
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
32nd out of 538 books — 1,014 voters
On Writing by Stephen KingLetters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria RilkeBird by Bird by Anne LamottBeing and Time by Martin HeideggerThe Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Best Books on Creative Life
29th out of 295 books — 468 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emma Sea
I enjoyed this more than Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. I find Goldberg's writing infinitely relaxing. After I read The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language I even looked into doing a Vipassana meditation retreat. Beginners have to start with a 10-day retreat. That's 10 days of vegetarian food, including only fruit after midday. I decided just to keep reading Goldberg's books instead.
Jun 01, 2007 Gus rated it did not like it
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
Nov 26, 2008 Drew rated it did not like it
Shelves: writing
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
Jun 20, 2011 Violeta Nedkova rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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 it was amazing
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
Aug 21, 2008 Nicole rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 03, 2009 Debbie Petersen rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-writing
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
Aug 16, 2011 Erica Chang rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 06, 2012 Erasmo Guerra rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 27, 2010 Amber rated it it was amazing
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 Bodnar
Oct 07, 2011 Jacqueline Bodnar rated it really liked it
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
Sep 20, 2012 Pilar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: random-house
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
Mar 21, 2015 Lyn rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2012 Ruth Charchian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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:
Jul 04, 2011 Amelia rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 30, 2011 Desiree rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
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.
Aug 18, 2009 Brklynlockhart rated it it was amazing
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!
Sep 04, 2008 Rainey rated it it was amazing
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.
J.F. Penn
Dec 27, 2013 J.F. Penn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
I need to read Natalie Goldberg several times a year. She helps me tap into why I write and that it's ok to be a little crazy.
Joan Winnek
Aug 07, 2011 Joan Winnek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-i-taught
I read parts of these two books to my English classes as starters for ten-minute journal-writing times.
Feb 25, 2008 Felicia rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Nice book about writing, short essays, inspirational. Not my favorite writing book, but had some moments.
Oct 13, 2011 Olga rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
Jul 17, 2011 Tamara rated it really liked it
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'
Mary Ann
Aug 05, 2015 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing
“Wild Mind” Natalie Goldberg teaches us how to be better writers. The exercises get to the core of us. They show us how to share our truth. An example she gives is those awful school assignments. What did you do over summer vacation. I admit that when I was a student I tried to give an answer the teacher wanted. If the story was to be shared with other students, I kept that in mind. What did I really d?.
I read books and swung back and forth on my tree swing; I walked my dog down the railroad tr
Nov 24, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing
"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
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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...

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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.” 21 likes
“Writing practice brings us back to the uniqueness of our own minds and an acceptance of it. We all have wild dreams, fantasies, and ordinary thoughts. Let us to feel the texture of them and not be afraid of them.Writing is still the wildest thing I know.” 19 likes
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