Writing Down the Bones

Near the end of Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg says, “Everything I say as a teacher is ultimately aimed at people trusting their own voice and writing from it.” Much of this book is about what happens inside us as writers, and how to bring what’s inside into our writing. Woven throughout are simple, powerful exercises for writing and for exploring ourselves as writers.

Goldberg offers five rules for writing practice (similar to what Peter Elbow calls “freewriting”):

  1. Keep your hand moving.
  2. Don't cross out.
  3. Don't worry about spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
  4. Lose control.
  5. Go for the jugular.

As Goldberg says, it’s important to adhere to these rules, because:

[T]he aim is to burn through to first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor, to the place where you are writing what your mind actually sees and feels, and not what it thinks it should see or feel.
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