writing

A Great Tip from Natalie Goldberg and Kate Green

Just came home from a long weekend trip to Mexico (Rocky Point). Knowing it would be a busy one, (hanging out with my family, a friend and her wedding party), I was realistic in packing books. I packed just one. This one:

downloadLots of great tips from one of the pioneer writers of writing practice, Natalie Goldberg. I wanted to share one that resonated with me.

When you work on a story, make the structure your own. That is, don’t feel confined by an outline or drafting device you learned in school or in a workshop, but make the structure yourself and fill it with wildness! Natalie Goldberg grew up with very little structure, but learned about self-discipline and “harnessing the mind” through meditation practice. Goldberg cites friend and fellow writer Kate Green’s technique for writing Shattered Moon (Edgar Allen Poe award winner) this way (p. 50):

She decided the novel would have thirty chapters; there had to be action in each chapter, and she would set it up so that when readers came to the end of the chapter, they’d want to go on to the next.

It sounds mechanical, but Kate explains that she actually does a lot of writing practice, journaling, sketching ideas, scenes, and research in a notebook, planning it out anywhere between three months to a year before she sits down to write it.

Finally, as a single mom of three children and a working mom (teacher), she addresses the time issue. “Time to write is just that. An hour here, a half hour there. Go. Move pen. That’s it. The rest is all bullshit and I know it but I get caught up in it and create a lot of suffering around not writing. Writing itself is pretty simple. Just do it.”

Ok. Now go. Do it!

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