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Writing Down The Bones

Updated on October 7, 2013

Why I Love Writing Down the Bones

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is one of my favorite books on writing. I have read and reread the book over and over through the years. To me, the most important thing about reading a book on the craft of writing is that it makes me want to pick up a pen or turn on my computer and write. Yes, it has to be engaging, and yes hopefully it will teach me something new or help me approach an old process with a new frame of mind, but what I love are the books that light a fire under me.

At the top of my list is the book that I have highlighted the most sections and written the most margin notes in. My copy is dog-eared and worn (I've been thinking of buying a new one lately, but my books is so loved that I have to keep it). Writing Down the Bones is a book that I have seen referenced over and over, and upon reading it I understood why.

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"Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open."

Writing Down the Bones

by Natalie Goldberg

About Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg is the author of nine books, as well as being a poet, painter, and teacher of writing in Northern New Mexico. She is Buddhist, and her books and teaching explore the art of writing as a Zen practice.

Her website features information on her newest book, tour schedule, classes and workshops, as well as her selection of books. Ms. Goldberg's book focuses primarily on writing practice-- the mere act of sitting down with pen and paper and just letting the writing flow.

About Writing Down the Bones

Writing Down the Bones is different from many of the other books on writing that are out there. This book isn't an instruction manual on what elements you need to write a novel. Instead, it is about the practice of writing. The book focuses on sitting down every day and using a journal to practice. After all, you wouldn't expect to do anything else without practice. Why should writing be any different?

If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? Writing Down the Bones is available on Amazon in a number of formats - hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and audio book. You can frequently find used copies as well, if price is a concern. It is one of the classic books on writing and a great addition to any collection.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)

Writing Down the Bones is the book I pick up when I feel stuck. I find it to be inspirational and motivational. It isn't setting you on one exact path, but giving suggestions for just letting go of your inhibitions and writing.


Share Your Opinion Here!

What did you think of Writing Down the Bones?

Love it! Great read.

Love it! Great read.

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    • CreativeExpress 3 years ago

      Oh...I've loved Natalie for a very long time, and thoroughly enjoy doing the exercises out of this book. She inspires a person to write! Great lens!

    • Gil Hildebrand 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      This book was required reading in my Creative Writing class in high school. I learned so much from it. As the author said, it is so important to Just. Keep. Writing. Don't put the pen down. Love all the exercises in the book. If I ever wanted to venture back into creative writing, this would be my first step.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I read this many years ago and loved it. Hmm, maybe it's time for a re-read.

    • jholland 5 years ago

      Love this book. Writing is a part of my regular life, but I don't have much time for the really good stuff. Being a business-owning single mom caring for my mother is not conducive to blocks of writing time. So, this fall the little one is going to preK while I work and write.

    • duslan 5 years ago

      I love it! I read it for the first time when I was 12, and have been inspired by it first. Now I love her book Wild Mind as well. Have you read it?

    • intermarks 5 years ago

      I agree with the best line ever that write what disturbs you, what you fear and what you have not been willing to speak. To express those by write them out is the best way to show your feeling or interpret your feeling into words and text if you dare not speak them out.

    • John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      Your review and these comments seem to make this a book I should be reading

    • goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i think that this book is a great read. it is true that we have to write truthfully but if it hurts, you better not. you can write the truth using fictitious names if you're ashamed about it.

    • sujathayder 5 years ago

      great read

    • DIY Mary 5 years ago

      A few months ago, I had heard about Ms. Goldberg's book. The title caught my eye so I went to to check it out. I was able to read a lot of her book online at ("Inside This Book"), and though I did not read it from cover to cover, I did get a lot out of it. Regarding the above quote, Ms. Goldberg may be right. If you want to grow, you need to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while.

    • Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Any book that can inspire me that much would definitely be a keeper.

    • MillBucks 5 years ago

      Its always nice to cuddle up and read a great book next to the fireplace!

    • E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      My choice is to read and love it, just feel like it will be that kinda book. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      It has been so long since I read this book. I think it is time to brush off the dust. :D

    • AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Mmm - I told a Squidoo member today what I thought of piercings other than the traditional one hole in the ear piercings.

    Sorry, not my cup of tea.

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      • flycatcherrr 5 years ago

        I'm going contrary to the tide on this, but with a big (huge) BUT: The touchy-feely tone of the book tends to put me off, as that's not at all my cup of tea, and I've been known to snort aloud from time to time while reading it. And yet... and yet... Writing Down The Bones has lived in my bedside table for the past 8 years, and there's not a speck of dust on it. ;)

      On a Scale of 1 Through 7...

      Don't want to share your opinion above? You can still jump in and vote in this quick poll. Let us know how you feel about Writing Down the Bones and you may influence someone else's decision to read the book (or to not read the book!)

      On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

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      Natalie Goldberg's Official Website

      Are you interested in learning more about the author or Writing Down the Bones? Do you want to know when her next workshop or speaking appearance will be? Natalie Goldberg's official website contains all the information you could want.

      More books by Natalie Goldberg - Vote for your favorites, or add any I missed.

      Writing Down the Bones isn't the only great book on writing that Natalie Goldberg has written. These other books make a wonderful collection. If you've already read Writing Down the Bones, I suggest picking up Wild Mind next!

      Fiction by Natalie Goldberg

      While Natalie Goldberg is most known for Writing Down the Bones and her other books on writing, she has the experience to write these books because she is a professional poet and writer. Her novel, Banana Rose, follows Nell Schwartz as she learns about painting and love. There are many elements to the novel that echo Ms. Goldberg's own life and the lessons that she teaches in her nonfiction work.

      Banana Rose
      Banana Rose

      Are you looking for a little more insight into the mind that created Writing Down the Bones? While this is a novel and not autobiography, there are many realistic details that seem to be pulled from Ms. Goldberg's life. Plus, you can learn a lot from someone by their fiction and creativity!


      Is Writing Down the Bones your favorite Natalie Goldberg book? Or is another one your favorite? Leave your thoughts and comments here!

      Have you read any of Natalie Goldberg's work?

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          Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

          I have this book in my library and return to it whenever I need to release my inner writer.

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          Ruthi 4 years ago

          Writing Down the Bones appears to be a book the poet in me would appreciate reading.

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          NC Shepherd 5 years ago

          I've been wanting to read this one for a long time. I should make it a priority.

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          julieannbrady 5 years ago

          I sure do identify with the statement, "Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about." Sometimes it is quite cathartic.

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          WorldVisionary3 5 years ago

          I bought this book years ago and to date, it's still my favorite writing book. Awesome choice and thanks for putting together this helpful lens!

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          ismeedee 5 years ago

          I haven't yet. But you've definitely sold me on Writing Down the Bones!