Just Write

I knew I wanted to write . . .

Natalie Goldberg The Art Of Writing Practice: “By my early twenties, I knew I wanted to write and I knew I couldn’t learn to do it through traditional writing classes. I had to begin with what I knew, something no one could tell me I was wrong about. And so, I studied my mind. As I wrote, I would discover things about my mind, how it would move, wander, settle. I began teaching writing from the inside out. Usually, writing teachers tell us what good writing is, but not how to get to it . . . in 1986 [when “Writing Down The Bones” was published] people were starving to write, but they didn’t know how, because the way writing was taught didn’t work for them. I think the idea of writing as a practice freed them up. It meant that they could trust their minds, that they were allowed…

Guest Bloggers

Bella Mahaya Carter & The Priority Pyramid

Today’s guest blogger, Bella Mahaya Carter offers inspiration with a “Priority Pyramid.” The following is an excerpt from her original post. Last November, I worked with Dan Blank, author of Be The Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and an Audience. In his book, Dan recommends an exercise to help creative professionals get clear about their life and work priorities. If you’d like to try this exercise, get fifteen index cards and write down one word on each card indicating what’s important to you. Then prioritize your cards into a pyramid, with your most important priority at the apex, and work down from there. These cards are a wonderful reminder of what matters if you lose your way. Each person will obviously have different words on their cards. Here’s what mine looks like: For me, a deep spiritual connection with Self comes first. When I lose that…

Just Write

Just Write Magic Carpet Ride

For inspiration to Just Write:  Click on a topic below and you will arrive at a (hopefully) inspirational post. Just like being on a magic carpet ride! The following are from the 2013 Just Write Posts Gorgeous Writing by Melanie Thorne Fabulous Character Sketch, Elizabeth Berg Natalie Goldberg talks about writing practice  Twelve Steps to Successful Writing by Marlene Cullen Amy Zhang and Your Scraps of Writing How to get in the mood to write by Marlene Cullen Don’t think. Don’t Plan. Just Write. Marlene Cullen Natalie Goldberg’s Six Rules of Writing Get Started. How to use prompts. Marlene Cullen Pass On The Dream And Tell Its Truth – Natalie Goldberg Elizabeth Berg demystifies how to describe characters Debbie Macomber had so many rejections . . . Writing about place, August Kleinzahler Three top Pointers About Writing Personal Essay by Kelly Caldwell One way to learn how to write, get…

Just Write

Lose Control and Just Write!

Natalie Goldberg expands her thinking about writing practice in her latest book, The True Secret of Writing. You may have heard these ideas before and may be familiar with her other books, Wild Mind and Writing Down The Bones. And it’s good to be reminded of “the basics” of freewrites. Helpful ideas for writing from Nat: Keep your hand moving. If you say you will write for ten minutes, twenty, an hour, keep your hand going. Not frantically, clutching the pen. But don’t stop. This is your chance to break through to wild mind, to the way you really think, see, and feel, rather than how you think you should think, see and feel. This does not mean you have to write orgasmic sex scenes smeared with butter to touch wild mind. You might end up writing about toast, your sore throat, your fingernail. But it will be alive, real….

Just Write

Books on writing

There are more how-to-write books than we have time to read. IF we tried, we would spend all our time reading about writing and not writing. But there are a few especially good how-to write books. Here are some of my favorites. What are your favorite writing books? Dorothea Brande was an early proponent of freewriting. In her book Becoming a Writer (1934), she advises writers to sit and write for 30 minutes every morning, as fast as they can. Peter Elbow advanced freewriting in his books Writing with Power and Writing Without Teachers (1975), and freewriting has been popularized by Julia Cameron through her books The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write. A few more writing books: Aronie, Nancy Slonim – Writing From the Heart Baldwin, Christina – Storycatcher Barrington, Judith – Writing the Memoir, From Truth to Art Baty, Chris – No Plot? No Problem! Bennet, Hal…

Just Write

“Pass on the dream and tell its truth” — Natalie Goldberg

In her book, “The True Secret of Writing” Natalie Goldberg writes: Writing is for everyone, like eating and sleeping. Buddha said sleep is the greatest pleasure. We don’t often think of sleep like that. It seems so ordinary. But those who have sleepless nights know the deep satisfaction of sleep. The same is true of writing. We think of it as no big deal, we who are lucky to be literate. Slaves were forbidden to learn to read or write. Slave Owners were afraid to think of these people as human. To read and to write is to be empowered. No shackle can ultimately hold you. To write is to continue the human lineage. For my grandfather, coming from Russia at seventeen, it was enough to learn the language. Today, it’s our responsibility to further the immigrant dream. To write, to pass on the dream and tell its truth. Get…

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Get started – how to use writing prompts

Get out some paper and a fast moving pen or set up your computer. Set the timer for ten minutes. Look at something  in your room, anything, it doesn’t matter. Now write. Just write whatever enters your head. Or, open your dictionary to a random page, run your finger down a column. Stop on a word and freewrite, using that word as your prompt. Or, use one of the prompts in this blog. Think of this as practice writing, just as a badminton player practices before an actual meet. Follow Natalie Goldberg’s six rules of writing listed in a previous post. Try it right now. Paper and pen or computer ready? Glance at your clock. Note the time.  Or set your timer for ten minutes. Write for ten minutes about “trees.” After that, write for ten minutes, using “I remember” as your prompt. Now go with, “What I really want…

Just Write

Natalie Goldberg talks about writing practice

From an interview in The Sun with Natalie Goldberg, November 2003: A writing practice is simply picking up a pen — a fast-writing pen, preferably, since the mind is faster than the hand — and doing timed writing exercises. The idea is to keep your hand moving for, say, ten minutes, and don’t cross anything out, because that makes space for your inner editor to come in. You are free to write the worst junk in America. After all, when we get on the tennis courts, we don’t expect to be a champion the first day. Writing is an athletic activity; the more you practice, the better you get at it. The reason you keep your hand moving is because there’s often a conflict between the editor and the creator. The editor is always on our shoulder saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t write that. It’s not good.” When you keep the…