Book Review: Writing Down the Bones

My review of Natalie Goldberg’s amazing literary work.

Bill Holmes
3 min readApr 23, 2022


Photo courtesy of the author

“There is freedom in being a writer and writing. It is fulfilling your function. I used to think freedom meant doing whatever you want. It means knowing who you are, what you are supposed to be doing on this earth, and then simply doing it.”

“Writing is the one thing in my life I continually show up for. I have given 100 percent to writing practice.”

- Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

Hands down, Writing Down the Bones is the best writing resource I’ve read!

I became aware of Goldberg’s fantastic masterpiece while attending an online weekly writing group two weeks ago by my friend and amazing poet Dara Kalima. The next day, I purchased the book at a local Barnes and Noble and haven’t been able to put it down.

The author does more than just give the simple advice to just write. She incorporates her experiences from practicing Zen meditation along with personal stories.

Each chapter touches on a variety of themes including, but not limited to, engaging in the practice of writing; having a beginner’s mindset whenever you ready to write; writing in unusual places like restaurants and laundromats; inquiring why do you write; participating in a writing community; and putting your best efforts when you’re pursuing your craft.

Goldberg offers recommendations to the reader like finding topics to write about and ignoring the editor inside you that constantly wants to go back to make revisions, disrupting the creative flow. The latter is something I struggle with big time due to being a perfectionist but I’m learning to overcome this challenge.

My favorite chapter from Writing Down the Bones is “Go Further.” The beginning paragraph is one of the most empowering statements I’ve read to date:

“Push yourself beyond when you think you are done with what you have to say. Go a little further. Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. Probably that’s why we decide we’re done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes…



Bill Holmes

Writer. Poet. ESSENCE Best Selling Author. Filmmaker. Personal development aficiando who lives and breathes the mantra "I will not be denied!"