Tag Archives: Natalie Goldberg

Wild Mind: The First Rule of Writing Practice

28 May

Every weekday morning, I practice writing for one hour.  It’s a lot more fun than the scales Mrs C- had me practice on the piano when I was 5, and the aim is the same: I’m rehearsing the fundamentals.  Writing practice is my trip to the word gym, the way I keep fighting (or writing?) fit and work on my technique.

But how does one practice writing? As posted earlier, I follow the 7 rules outlined by Natalie Goldberg in Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life.  They work for me.  There are probably as many different answers to this question as there are writers, considering those who don’t intentionally practice.  Yet I suspect Ms Goldberg’s first, most fundamental rule is a necessary one for any successful practice, and that rule is,

Keep your hand moving.

Why is this important? Continue reading

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Writing Mindfully or Writing Entranced?

16 May

I do an hour of writing practice each day, following these guidelines.

One of my goals of late has been to focus on mindfulness while writing. Simple, in theory: Make writing into a meditative practice that builds awareness. At the end of it, I feel clear-headed, more stable and focused, a clarity that shows up in my writing. But I’m not sure it results in my best writing.

Today, I wrote a passage about my first kiss. I was totally lost in it. The memories flashed up in front of my eyes one after the other, and I grasped onto what I could, pulling them down from the mental ether, and stitching them to page with the black thread of letters. It was easily one of the more evocative pieces I’ve written, recently.

In your opinion: Does writing require an altered state of mind, a writing trance? Or is getting clear mentally the best way to get your thoughts out on to the page?

Words, Words, Words: Good Quotes

11 Feb

“We have to look at our own inertia, insecurities, self-hate, fear that, in truth, we have nothing valuable to say. When your writing blooms out of the back of this garbage compost, it is very stable. You are not running from anything. You can have a sense of artistic security. If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.”

–Natalie Goldberg

The Rules of Writing Practice

10 Feb

For the past two weeks, I’ve been sitting down and writing whatever comes to mind. I call this writing practice, after the timed writing technique from Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down the Bones.  It’s something I’ve done on and off for years.  As she says, “Writing [is] an athletic activity: the more you practice, the better you get at it.”

But how do you practice writing? Continue reading