The beloved teacher and author of the million-and-a-half copy bestseller Writing Down the Bones reveals a new method of writing in “a priceless distillation of her accumulated wisdom and experience as a writer, coach, and instructor on mindfulness” (Abraham Verghese).
Sit. Walk. Write. These are the barest bones of Natalie Goldberg’s revolutionary writing and life practice, presented here in book form for the first time. The True Secret of Writing provides a whole new method of writing that Goldberg developed since the publication of her classic, Writing Down the Bones.
The capstone to forty years of teaching, The True Secret of Writing is Goldberg’s Zen boot camp. Stories of her own search for truth and clarity as well as her students’ breakthroughs and insights give moving testament to how brilliantly her unique, tough-love method works. As Goldberg says, “To write is to be empowered. . . . Writing is not just for someone who wants to write the great American novel.” Learning “the true secret” allows you to mine the rich awareness in your mind and to ground and empower yourself in a way that leads to deep, eloquent self-expression. Goldberg’s beautiful homages to the work of other great teachers and observers of mind, life, and love provide further secrets and inspiration to which you will return again and again.
In her inimitable way, Goldberg will inspire you to pick up the pen, get writing, and keep going. The True Secret of Writing helps you with your writing—and your life.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As with Brenda Ueland's 1938 classic "If You Want to Write," The True Secret of Writing is a very accessible and inspiring guide for both novice and established writers. After forty years of teaching writing workshops, The True Secret of Writing is Natalie Goldberg's effort to recreate her workshop (which was previously only available to small groups) on the printed page. Like Ueland's work, Goldberg stresses that writing is first and foremost for the pleasure and satisfaction of the writer; how the reader receives it is secondary. Goldberg firmly believes that we all have the ability to be "real" writers. What we need to overcome is our resistance or as she puts it: "shut up and write."
Unlike Ueland's work, there is a spiritual element to Goldberg's approach. Echoing meditation retreats, her workshop participants take a vow of silence that eliminates idle chatter. Talking is for instructions and reading work out loud. But the overall silent background let's "our...
I've often thought of writing a book about my mother. (Among Natalie Goldberg's readers, I am surely not alone.) But I've been tossing the idea around without knowing where to start, what to cover, how to get moving. Here, in The True Secret of Writing, I discover the solution, delivered on a hundred platters and on the point of a hundred swords: Start writing and find out.
The practice of writing, Natalie Goldberg keeps telling us, is bound up with the practice of our lives. There is much about Zen Buddhism in these pages, about sitting and walking meditation---but all of it is tied to writing. From the first page of the Introduction I felt engaged. On p. 34 I found this quote from a therapist, counseling a woman whose husband had died: "Enjoy your grief. You'll miss it when it's gone." After that I thought about my mother on every page. "Try this," Goldberg says. "Write ten, ten-minute timed writings about your mother during a week's time." She said father, actually, but...
Through the years I've read several of Goldberg's how-to-think-and-write books. They are heavy on Zen Buddhism, but still give plenty of food for thought about the writing process for those of us who do not embrace Buddha. Though much of what Goldberg stresses is pretty intense for beginning writers, we all can profit by practicing her Big Three: Sit, Walk and Write prior to beginning a major project. The healthy dose of writing practices that are given will help us writers get onto the paper the same stories we have inside our heads.
I especially appreciated the chapter, "What is Practice?" as well as the reminder that we need to prepare well before beginning our first or thirty-first novel. I think she wrote in an earlier book that one should do writing practices for at least two years before attempting a major writing project. Too many self-published books appear to be closer to first drafts rather than refined manuscripts. Their authors have yet to learn to "shut...
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