Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life

by Natalie Goldberg

Paperback, 1990




Bantam, (1990)


Natalie Goldberg, author of the bestselling Writing Down The Bones, teaches a method of writing that can take you beyond craft to the  true source of creative power: The mind that is "raw, full of energy, alive and hungry." Here is compassionate, practical, and often  humorous advice about how to find time to write, how to discover your personal style, how to make sentences come alive, and how to overcome  procrastination and writer's block--including more than thirty provocative "Try this" exercises to get your pen moving. And here also is a larger vision of the writer's task: balancing daily responsibilities with a commitment to writing; knowing when to take risks as a writer and a  human being; coming to terms with success and  failure and loss; and learning self-acceptance--both in life and art. Wild Mind will change your way of writing. It  may also change your life.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member mr.lewis
An inspiring work on learning to let go of your ego, hesitation, and anxiety and just write. It may offend readers who want honest, clear advice, and rightly so, it places value on feeling your way through writing, not on technique. Obviously this is only a piece of the puzzle, but it is a vital piece.
LibraryThing member heidilove
i haven't read this yet. i think i might be afraid that i'll run off and start calling myself a writer.
LibraryThing member ChuckB
Again, I may not be in sync with Natalie's Zen beliefs, but I love most of the TRY THIS exercises in this book. Her ideas will spark your own!
LibraryThing member katen
Finished Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg today on the bus ride home. And I'm counting it as Book #8 for the year even though it's a reread. The last time I read it was before we moved to AZ and perhaps even before I met Eric. When I read it the first time, it seemed a pale version of Writing Down the Bones. I couldn't see how it was different from Bones, just inferior. Of course, that was long ago in my writing career before I began to write novels, before I began to worry about defining success. It speaks to me more now that I have several unpublished books behind me. And it's gotten me back to free writing. Just writing by hand to be mellow with the writing, not to sweat it. I want to continue with the free writing, and reread some of the other writing books I have laying around.… (more)
LibraryThing member Heptonj
What an incredible book! This lady really makes you want to pick up a pen and write. She also makes you think you can actually do it.

Natalie Goldberg obviously loves writing, and this book is not just about 'how to' - it takes the reader through all the ups and downs of a writing career which creates fascinating insights into philosophy, dedication and sacrifice.

The great thing about this book is the fact that Natalie does not 'teach' you how to write but gives you the knowledge to teach yourself via writing practice. Now where's my pen?
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LibraryThing member bolgai
Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones, has been sitting on my shelf for a while, started but not finished. There were so many references to Zen Buddhism and Ms. Goldberg's Zen teacher that she lost me before even really capturing my interest so I never got very far. This volume started out the same way but since I got it from NetGalley I felt obligated to review it and so kept reading. I'm glad I did because there is a lot of very good advice in it, such as to slow down and notice things we don't usually notice, to write regularly and no matter what, to learn to differentiate between procrastination and productive waiting, to remember that our writing isn't who we are and to live a life outside of it too and Ms. Goldberg's personal motto of "Shut up and write".
I really enjoyed her 7 rules of writing practice which are essentially what every other writer tells you to do: keep your hand moving, lose control, be specific, don't think, don't worry about punctuation, spelling or grammar, you're free to write junk and go for the jugular. I liked the chapters on writing the truth and what to do with it if by publishing it you'll hurt your loved ones, on the value of reading your writing aloud and on cutting through all the extraneous noise to the heart of the matter. There were a lot of personal examples which kept me interested because I felt that the author was a real person, not some abstract entity who I knew nothing about (which is actually one of Natalie's recommendations to writers) and there were plenty of exercises to try and I've actually jotted down quite a few to use myself.
This book isn't only about writing, a lot of the things covered in it are about life and the challenges a writer, and any other person, faces every day. The chapters on stepping forward with your life, living your life for yourself and not for someone else, and making a positive effort are like that and I liked that they were included.
As you see there are a lot of good things about this book but when I turned the last page and thought about it I felt overwhelmed. There didn't seem to be a particular rhyme or reason to the order in which the chapters appeared. Moreover, pretty much every chapter felt like Ms. Goldberg sat down for her writing practice, gave herself a topic and said "Go". Setting one's wild mind free is wonderful for being creative and authentic but if the first word that comes to mind when one thinks about the resulting work is "scatterbrained" I think some editing is in order.
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LibraryThing member asomers
All I can say is that I am going out today to buy my writer's notebook.
LibraryThing member condensate
She's terrific. Her advice will hold up as long as sentences are relevant to human communication. Interestingly, her punchy style was developed long hand - pen on paper - but a generation later is the perfect recipe for bloggers in our ADD age.


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