Learning From Other Writers- Goldberg's Gold


Natalie Goldberg’s book, ‘Writing Down The Bones' provides so much sound advice on the writing life and the teaching of writing. It’s a mine full of treasure for anyone wishing to better understand and appreciate the how and why questions surrounding writing.



I first read this book about ten years ago. It immediately identified itself as a keeper. I keep it within easy reach on my study shelf. Last Thursday I delved back in to soak up Natalie’s words once more.

I had a medical appointment that day, so I took a friend to keep me company while I sat waiting for my appointed consultation.


Here are some of the words that sang in my head as I waited…

‘Writers are great lovers. They fall in love with other writers. That’s how they learn to write.’
*This is all part of learning to read like a writer and finding suitable mentors.

‘Talk is the exercise ground of writing. Talk is a way to warm up for the big game- the hours you write alone with your pen and your notebook.’
*This underlines the absolute importance of pre-writing. The getting ready to write time. The essential rehearsal.

‘Even if we go off alone to write in the wilderness, we have to commune with ourselves and everything around us.’
*As writers we need to be alert in the present and engage our senses. We are never completely alone as writers. That's a comforting thought.

‘Writers write about things that other people don’t pay much attention to.’
*We need to be observant to notice the little, seemingly insignificant things and record those small moments. It is what sets writers apart. We notice things.

‘Listening is receptivity. The deeper you can listen, the better you can write.’
*We must learn to write with our ears. The art of active listening is important. We must learn to listen to others rather than just waiting for our turn to talk.


Natalie Goldberg’s book offers so much more. This was just a random sample of the gold found in them there pages!

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