Shane's Reviews > Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
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May 09, 09

Read in May, 2009

A sincere commitment to writing as a vocation - that message comes out clearly in this book which harks back to the hippie era. It's a pity that Goldberg is more a poet than a novelist as I was looking for some tips in the latter genre. Yet I uncovered a few gems that are still fresh:
1) Obsessions - a writer's constant themes and what he writes most powerfully about
2)Fill a notebook per month with random writing. Eventually, after they have composted, they may render something beautiful
3) Don't "Marry the Fly": getting carried away with writing about the unecessary details - the flies
4) Destroy syntax and re-arrange words arbitrarily to see what emerges. Again, good for poetry, not sure how it will work in the novel or short story
5) Juxtaposing random verbs with random nouns: "my blood buzzes", "dinosaurs marinate in the earth" etc.
6) Doubt is torture - once you dedicate yourself to the cause of writing, stick to it
7) When you get stuck, write about the food you love
8) Loneliness is like standing in the shower - it bites. But stand in it you must
9) Cut words, sentences and paragraphs that have no energy in them
10) An artist exudes vitality, a spiritual person exhudes peace
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