Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

A Useful Book for Getting Started


booksOne of my favorite writing books is Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. From this book, I have learned the following things that work for me to jump start my writing:

  • I write every day.
  • I set a timer for between 10 and 20 minutes.
  • I write without editing or redacting (at least I try too.  It’s hard not to do this).
  • I write without judgment, allowing myself to write the worst imaginable bunch of crapical claptrap.
  • If something uncomfortable comes up in the writing, I push through and continue writing about it until the clock runs out.

This sounds an awful lot like journaling.   Guess what? It is journaling.

Now if dispensing with this daily practice and just sitting down and commencing to write your short story or novel works for you, then you don’t need this.   But as the author of the book points out, daily writing in this manner is like a ballet dancer warming up at a barre before starting the performance.   You will have a better end result if you do this.

Most of what I write in this manner will never, EVER see the light of the blogosphere, and if the practice fails to help me understand myself and make me a better person and writer, then at the very least there may be nuggets in the writing that my inspire some fictional piece that I do want to share with others.

Goldberg’s book offers a number of daily writing suggestions to get you started.  I find myself a comfortable place, read a chapter and do the exercise she suggests.

Great stuff.  Actually I’ve owned copies of this book which I have given away to others.  Now I have one paper copy and one on my e reader.    On this alone, you can guess that I highly recommend this book to my fellow writers.

4 thoughts on “A Useful Book for Getting Started

  1. Aaron had this as a textbook for a writing class he took in one of this semesters of junior college. He seemed less than impressed until I showed him that I had the book, too. I pointed out that I liked it!

    • I can see how this might be for a young person who has always been directed by writing teachers to worry about theme development, grammar, spelling, etc. The point of this kind of writing is to tap the deep wells which are not always so “tame” and well-ordered. It’s not a writing practice for everyone.

  2. I like the analogy of the practice barre. Seems very apt

  3. Pingback: Cleaning Out the Sludge | Miss Pelican's Perch

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