writing practice by Natalie Goldberg

This one contribution, to practice writing, has influenced thousands, maybe millions, in her book Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

1. Keep your hand moving.

2. Don’t cross out (well that’s hard…might I add, don’t backspace, even harder).

3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar.

4. Lose control.

5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical.

6. Go for the jugular. If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.

Or as Gail Dargatz-Anderson, author of many Canadian offerings, notably the Cure for Death by Lightening, once told me, “Write Crap”. Not long ago, I got an uneasy reaction from a mother watching her child take a writing workshop with me. When I said, “Write crap”, I don’t think she was enthused. Perhaps it was the word choice she contested. No matter, when we get too motivated to ‘say the right thing’ or ‘say it pretty’, we don’t say much. So, write crap. Or, just write.

Funny thing is, the longer you let go and write, write, write, the better your writing becomes. Or snippets of that writing. The more your imagination flows. And then you’ll hear writers comment about their characters and what their characters would and wouldn’t do. And you think to yourself, WHAT? She’s orchestrating that character’s life. But if you’re in writer mode, you’ll get why we say that. The character has a life of her own, through your fingers.

So getter done, just write!