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Publisher's Summary

With nearly one million copies of the book Writing Down the Bones in print, Natalie Goldberg has helped change the way writing is practiced in homes, schools, and workshops across America.

Here is a new collector's edition of this modern classic as you have never heard it before, read by Natalie Goldberg herself and then infused with her most personal reflections about this "magic manual" for all writers. Try these ingenious, Zen-based exercises to expand your writing skills - or just for fun.

© Natalie Goldberg; (P) Sounds True

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Substance

I almost passed on this gem after reading all the negative reviews here, so it feels like a duty to add the positive. Natalie Goldberg is not an actress who portrays an author in order to appease audiences; she is the actual author. This book provides genuine coaching from an actual writing coach. It is less about appearances and more about substance. She reads the chapters that she wrote two and a half decades ago, then elaborates afterward as an older and wiser writer. The writing is informative, language is lovely, and perspective is helpful for anyone who LOVES to write. She sounds like an older Jewish lady from New York. So what? She is.

51 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • Maricopa, AZ, USA
  • 02-13-10

Better other think...

I agree Goldberg's voice is difficult to get used to. I am glad that I had read all the reviews before I bought this. I think you have to make friends with Natalie and listen like you would to a wise friend or grandmother. Her information is good and informative. Not everything will apply to everyone. She is kinda outlandish at times. But again, how badly do you want to write your best stuff? If you want to write better, then get over the voice and listen anyway.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • bodoni
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 04-24-11

What’s wrong with her voice?

I love her voice. I’m a big fan of authors reading their own work, in general — it adds a lot for me. Remember that Goldberg has successfully taught writing for decades and has formed countless writers; this is the voice that she teaches in. It’s her voice. It’s her. It’s a no-nonsense, warm, down-to-earth New York voice. It’s a voice that contains sensible reminders for us all.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My New Best Friend

Listening to this book is like spending the morning in Starbucks with a trusted friend.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • William
  • Jacksonville Beach, FL, USA
  • 09-22-09

Wonderful Insights

This is a classic book for writers, teaching how to explore the creative process of writing. I have read the book, and just recently had the great pleasure of enjoying the audio book version read by Natalie. She reads in a wonderful, personal manner, like sharing great secrets.

The best part of the audio version, she frequently will stop after reading a passage and talk about what it's like to read a passage 15 years after writing it. She offers great insights to what it is like to age as a writer.

Highly recommended. Enjoy!

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love this book!

This book is very helpful to get you in the right mindset to get waiting. I even loved her tone and accent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring, deep and an amazing voice she has.

What made the experience of listening to Writing Down the Bones the most enjoyable?

Great advices for writing, deep thoughts about life that actually will improve your writing. She has that deep calm voice that makes me feel like If I was home, a voice that makes me smile , that makes me feel I'm in a Café having coffee and croissant and she is there with me talking about her life.
Natalie has the power to make you feel you don't need anything else besides yourself, your pen and your paper for become a good writer.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

Loneliness is not a fear that we should overcome. Loneliness is just that black big dog that we have to become friends with.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of my all time favorite books on writing

If you could sum up Writing Down the Bones in three words, what would they be?

Inspirational and challenging.

What other book might you compare Writing Down the Bones to and why?

If you want to write by Barbara Ueland's "If You Want to Write" and "Writting Down the Bones" give experienced and new writers great advice for building confidence as a writer and supportive personal stories of their own growth and journey as writers. The writing world is much less lonely with Goldberg and Ueland by your side.

Any additional comments?

Anyone that has the desire to put pen to page should pick up this book. Somewhere in the pages you will find a spark, an idea that will get you writing. All around wonderful book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Good content. Excruciating listen

This author has a voice for pen and paper. I'd heard good things about this book, and certainly found value in the first chapter or so, but found I simply couldn't bring myself to listen any more without wanting to tear my ears out. There's a reason good authors give the audio rendition of their work to professionals.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A writer's best friend, in need of an update

These books mean the world to me -- they got me writing long before I went to school for it, and they believed in me long before I believed in myself. They're still kinder to me than I am to myself. But the recordings are dinosaurs -- technology has so vastly improved and with a good, solid narrator performing, I could have these books in my ear alongside Anne Lamott's 'Bird By Bird' when the going gets tough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • VC
  • 02-26-16

Loved it

I listened to the book while at working in my studio on images so not with 100% intensity but i will definitely listen to it again. It's my first introduction to Natalie Goldberg and I think she's great, I really enjoyed her voice, I understand it's not everybody's voice but I really enjoyed listening to her read. I think her advice is wonderful, I particularly enjoyed hearing the two voices of her younger self and self in the present reflecting on book, much wisdom is here for writers and for anyone wishing to engage in the world more deeply.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Flint
  • 06-09-18

A book that helped my writing practice years ago

I think this should be on every writer's shelf. This book gave me impetus to write in my teens and now I've come back to this updated version just over ten years later.

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  • K
  • 11-17-17

falling in love with writing

Natalie makes you fall in love with writing! what you do with that love absolutely depends on you...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marina Johnson
  • 08-07-17

Brilliant. Do not miss this!

If you write a journal, are trying to get published, anything along those lines.....get it!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • B McH
  • 08-11-16

Inspirational and Useful

This is narrated by the author, which gives much more meaning to the personal anecdotes. it's less about the practical "how" of writing, and more about the"why". Having said that, there is plenty of advice on how to stick with it, and I'm surprised her instructions for timed writing aren't as well known as Julia Cameron's morning pages as a technique for would-be writers. As a special edition, this audio book has extra commentary by the author at the end of each chapter, and an excellent interview at the end. may be the inspiration you need to keep on keeping on.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Bernadette How
  • 05-02-18

A painfully boring reader.

If Zen is her thing, the zen-like voice that promised sanity drove me insane with its dour tone throughout. I couldn’t carry on after persevering a little more than half way. The monotone reading sent me to sleep at times and to utter frustration at others.