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Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life Paperback – October 1, 1990


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Frequently Bought Together

Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life + Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, 2nd Edition + Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553347756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553347753
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This book is well intended but flawed by its somewhat incoherent style, lack of good writing, and an inability or unwillingness to target an audience. The brief autobiographical chapters offer counsel and moral support to the aspiring author, with a little Zen thrown in for good measure. There are several exercises for writing practice that are useful but can be invented or found elsewhere. The cosmic angle may appeal to those with New Age inclinations, although it may annoy others. While this book is inexpensive and accessible, a work on writing ought to contain some fine examples (e.g., Strunk and White's Elements of Style, or anything by William Zinsser).
- Janice Braun, Medical Historical Lib., Yale Univ.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

"Natalie Goldberg, author of the bestselling Writing Down The Bones, teaches a method of writing that can take you beyond craft to the true source of creative power: The mind that is "raw, full of energy, alive and hungry."

Here is compassionate, practical, and often humorous advice about how to find time to write, how to discover your personal style, how to make sentences come alive, and how to overcome procrastination and writer's block -- including more than thirty provocative "Try this" exercises to get your pen moving.

And here also is a larger vision of the writer's task: balancing daily responsibilities with a commitment to writing; knowing when to take risks as a writer and a human being; coming to terms with success and failure and loss; and learning self-acceptance -- both in life and art.

Wild Mind will change your way of writing. It may also change your life.


More About the Author

Natalie Goldberg lived in Brooklyn until she was six, when her family moved out to Farmingdale, Long Island, where her father owned the bar the Aero Tavern. From a young age, Goldberg was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Carson McCullers's The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, which she read in ninth grade. She thinks that single book led her eventually to put pen to paper when she was twenty-four years old. She received a BA in English literature from George Washington University and an MA in humanities from St. John's University.

Goldberg has painted for as long as she has written, and her paintings can be seen in Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World and Top of My Lungs: Poems and Paintings. They can also be viewed at the Ernesto Mayans Gallery on Canyon Road in Sante Fe.

A dedicated teacher, Goldberg has taught writing and literature for the last thirty-five years. She also leads national workshops and retreats, and her schedule can be accessed via her website: nataliegoldberg.com

In 2006, she completed with the filmmaker Mary Feidt a one-hour documentary, Tangled Up in Bob, about Bob Dylan's childhood on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. The film can be obtained on Amazon or the website tangledupinbob.com.

Goldberg has been a serious Zen practitioner since 1974 and studied with Katagiri Roshi from 1978 to 1984.

Customer Reviews

She makes you think that anyone can be a writer and that maybe everyone should.
B. Taxy
By the time you start writing about one thing, your mind finally starts to get back into the groove and you can be creative from there.
Taryn
WILD MIND is about practicing the art of writing and about the life of one writer, Natalie Goldberg.
Bonnie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie on April 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Many books on writing are strictly craft books. Some are about becoming "pro" - dealing with editors, managing your PR. This is not about that. WILD MIND is about practicing the art of writing and about the life of one writer, Natalie Goldberg. But is so clearly instructive, so vividly stimulating, that reading it will automatically boost your own creative fires, and very likely your output. So...in its way, it is a surprisingly practical book.
Like her earlier WRITING DOWN THE BONES, Goldberg has created another wonderful resource for the writer at any stage of his/her craft. She's evolved, refined and developed the exercises presented in Bones, as well as added new ideas. A favorite of mine is to read work aloud often. She writes: "Write, read,write, read. You become less attached to whether it is good or bad. 'I wrote this now I'll read it, no big deal.' " She gives guidelines for working in a writer's group, and has many "try this" suggestions sandwiched in between anecdotal moments from her life which enrich and strengthen us.
As a professional writer for 25 years, I personally learned from this book mid career and continue to revisit eleven years later. A must have for any writer.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read "Wild Mind" for the first time 2 weeks ago. Natalie Goldberg is a phenomenal writer who exposes herself in this book about writing, which, consequently makes it even more enjoyable to read. The book contains some ideas on Zen and everyday living, specifically applied to the context of writing. Throughout the book are many "Try This" writing exercises designed to let creativity flow through the mind, hand, and pen of the writer. It is an inspirational and encouraging read. I was so excited by this book that I have begun to write again, and not only that, but I immediately went out and bought "Banana Rose"(which she mentions in Wild Mind) and "Writing Down the Bones" and finished all 3 books in a week--because I LOVED THEM. Goldberg is brilliant as a writer and you can be too if you follow her advice.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By isala on October 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the follow up volume to the excellent Writing Down the Bones. If you have read the first book, and still feel blocked, then this book could prove very useful. What I feel is that she covered most of the important aspects of being an aspiring writer in 'Bones, so I feel their is some rehash, and some material that is just not as good as 'Bones.

Still, she builds more on both zen and jewish wisdom, and it does not do anyone any harm to read it.

Of course, this book helped me to appreciate haiku, and that counts for something!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is yet another treasure from Natalie Goldberg. It is like being invited into her home for a while, observing her in process... gleaning what gold you can.
Sipping tea, doing writing practice, laughing at her jokes and I imagine telling a couple of your own once you win her favor.
I have incorporated several of the "Try This On" exercises into my own writing practice and have been delighted at the result. It seems as if each "Try This On" yields some benefit, usually beyond what I expect.
My only wish is that I discovered Natalie Goldberg's writing sooner. This is a delicious, filling offering.... Perfect for using after "Writing Down the Bones."
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Marianne on June 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
After reading it twice, I think this book contains both positive and negative aspects. Basically, I've come to the conclusion that it's not a book on how to write. Instead, I view it as a memoir by a person with a more-or-less interesting life. At times, it makes for fascinating reading; other times, the stories and anecdotes fall really flat. The writing advice itself is sparse though there are several decent exercises to cure writers' block. Goldberg is a remarkable writer who has wisdom and wit, but I expected more actual writing *technique* from this book and was therefore disappointed.
By the way, I pity the narrow-minded reviewers who bash her for writing about her relationships with women. I've read plenty of books by heterosexual authors who constantly mention their spouses, and I don't see readers accusing them of throwing it in their faces.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Judy Schriener on September 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have been a writer since I was a child but never realized that "being a writer" had little to do with what you write or even how often. It's a way of looking at the world, and Natalie Goldberg captures it and conveys it in a way that (finally) legitimized the writer within for me. For that, I'll be eternally grateful. When people used to say to me, "You analyze too much," I'd feel bad about myself, but now I say to myself, if to no one else, "Yes, that's what makes me a good writer!"
Not only did she free the writer-person within me when I read this book, but she gave me new ways to practice writing from an angle I hadn't thought of. I am not good with descriptions of scenes and, in fact, hate even reading them, but in order to get better at it, I did her little exercises and had fun and sharpened my skills at the same time. (...which reminds me, I need to do them again.)
I reread portions of this book several times a year and I always keep an extra couple of copies of it on hand to give to other writers and wanna-be writers. I hope it never goes out of print!
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