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.
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?
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.