I have just reread Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg for the third time in as many years, and each time a new gem reveals itself from the pages. Natalie melds her experience as a devoted Zen Buddhist, writer and teacher to present a compassionate and encouraging guide for freeing the writer within.
I recommend her book to anyone interested in exploring the joy of writing. Pen and paper are supportive companions that provide a place of unparalleled discovery and a creative playground. We have lived, our moments are important and to be a writer is to be the carrier of details that make up history.
Capturing "first thoughts" is the basic goal of a personal writing practice and Natalie offers these guidelines.
1. Keep your hand moving
2. Don’t cross out.
3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar.
4. Lose control.
5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical
6. Go for the jugular.
"Burn through to first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by the social politeness of the internal censor, to the place where you are writing what your mind actually sees and feels, not what it thinks it should see or feel. We live in the realm of second and third thoughts, thoughts on thought, twice and three times removed from the direct connection of the first fresh flash. First thoughts are also unencumbered by ego, by that mechanism in us that tries to be in control, tries to prove the world is permanent and solid, enduring and logical. Don’t stop at the tears; go through to truth. This is the discipline. First thoughts have freshness and inspiration. The present is imbued with tremendous energy. It is what is. When you are present, the world is truly alive." Natalie Goldberg