I’ve owned Writing Down the Bones for quite some time now, but whatever it was that made me purchase it, wasn’t there when I needed to sit down and read it. Sometimes, however, books come into our lives at the perfect season. I think this is the perfect season for this book.
Natalie Goldberg writes in the preface that the book is backed by a two-thousand-year-old practice of studying the mind. She writes “the more we understand the human mind, our basic writing tool, the better, more secure we can be in our writing.” How true is this. In fact, I think that’s partly why I’ve struggled with my writing so much in the past two years–my mind was doing things that were (for me) unpredictable. I wasn’t in control or connected with my mind–it was a chaotic, dangerous space for me at the time. But if writing is anything, it’s about trusting yourself, your instinct, your mind. It’s that simple. There’s nothing more to it. When you lose that trust with yourself and your instinct, you can’t grasp what you need to say; instead, you grasp for straws, you second guess, and you falter at the one thing you should be in control of: your mind.
Goldberg gives the following “wish” (and my paraphrase) to those who read her book: that you come to know yourself, feel joy in expression, and trust what you think.
There is nothing more essential in life and in writing than those three things. Today, I wish them for you as well as for me. Happy Writing to all my fellow writers!