Goldberg, Natalie

Introductory Notes

Natalie Goldberg grew up on Long Island, New York. She studied Buddhism with a teacher in Minnesota for 17 years. At about the same time that she began her Zen studies she also began writing and painting, and those three activities have coalesced into an active philosophy of living creatively.

Natalie Goldberg has been conducting workshops and retreats about writing as Zen practice for 30 years.  She now lives in New Mexico.

Goldberg focuses on what she calls writing practice, which she describes like this:

I consider writing 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 no good.” But when you have to keep the hand moving, it’s an opportunity for the creator to have a say. All the other rules of writing practice support that primary rule of keeping your hand moving. The goal is to allow the written word to connect with your original mind, to write down the first thought you flash on, before the second and third thoughts come in.

The purpose of writing practice is to access the writer’s “wild mind”: “Wild mind isn’t just your mind; it’s the whole world moving through you. . . . You see, there’s a part of us that is always awake, that takes in everything and remembers it. Our job as writers is to connect with that awake part of ourselves.”

(Source: Interview with Natalie Goldberg )

Author's Web Site

Books by Natalie Goldberg

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (1986)

Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life (1990)

Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America (1993)

Banana Rose (1995)

Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World (1997)

Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft (2000)

The Essential Writer’s Notebook (2001)

Top of My Lungs (2002)

The Great Failure: My Unexpected Path to Truth (2004)

Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir (2007)

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