We learn writing by doing it. That simple. We don’t learn by going outside ourselves to authorities we think know about it.
In Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Natalie Goldberg explores the concept of writing as a Zen practice. Natalie offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer’s craft: on writing from “first thoughts” (keep your hand moving, don’t cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety percent listening; the deeper you listen, the better you write), on using verbs (verbs provide the energy of the sentence), on overcoming doubts (doubt is torture; don’t listen to it)—even on choosing a restaurant in which to write. Goldberg sees writing as a practice that helps writers comprehend the value of their lives.
Basically, if you want to become a good writer, you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot.
“Talk when you talk, walk when you walk, and die when you die.” Write when you write. Stop battling yourself with guilt, accusations, and strong-arm threats.” – Zen Saying
Here are my favourite takeaways from reading, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg: