I read Writing Down the Bones over the course of two weeks, but it felt to me that this was not appropriate for this book. This is a book to keep at your desk, to read one short chapter at a time, as a reflection or as a creative prompt. Of course, the author, Natalie Goldberg, is writing primarily for writers to use her work as an inspiration, but it could be used by anyone who wants to develop a practice of any creative activity.

I reread some of the chapters to confirm that they could encourage the reader toward any creative activity. The essay/chapters remind the reader to be regular and reflective about the activity but also never to be too negative in the face of situations that might some might see as setbacks.

For writers, and especially writers familiar with Goldberg’s writing workshops, I could easily imagine how Goldberg encourages writers at workshops to develop a practice. Each chapter emphasizes one idea to consider, or one exercise to try or one concept to conquer.

Writing Down the Bones is a book that you can read quickly and slowly, but it is not a classic start-to-finish guide to writing. It is a reminder that writing is a skill that demands more of a wander than a set itinerary.

(Note: I read the 2005 Shambala Publications, Inc. edition of this book.)

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