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Archive for September, 2012

Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones…Freeing the Writer Within” is a remarkable book for all kinds of writers. Aspiring or established songwriters can get lots of inspiration for lyrics and develop their craft by following her no-nonsense, informal advice.

Here are some inspirational quotes from her book that you can apply to songwriting or to life:

“We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter. . . Recording the details of our lives is a stance against bombs with their mass ability to kill, against too much speed and efficiency. A writer must say yes to life, to all of life: the water glasses, the Kemp’s half-and-half, the ketchup on the counter. It is not a writer’s task to say, “It is dumb to live in a small town or to eat in a café when you can eat macrobiotic at home.” Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist – the real truth of who we are: several pounds overweight, the gray, cold street outside, the Christmas tinsel in the showcase, the Jewish writer in the orange booth across from her blond friend who has black children. We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.”

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“If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.”

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“Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You will succeed if you are fearless of failure.”

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“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.”

Just lie down!!!!

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She urges writers, above all, to keep a notebook and write every day.
The process of writing in a book is a different process than writing on a keyboard. Find a pen you like and choose cheap spiral notebooks that aren’t intimidating to write in. Recording your thoughts, no matter how mundane or how wild, will give you lots of grist for the mill. You can start with 10 minutes and increase your time each week. The time doesn’t matter… just do it. And here are 6 powerful rules to help your practice:

1. Keep your hand moving. (Don’t pause to reread the line you have just written. That’s stalling and trying to get control of what you’re saying.)
2. Don’t cross out. (That is editing as you write. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to. Leave it.
3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. (Don’t even care about staying within the margins and lines on the page)
4. Lose control.
5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
6. Go for the jugular. (If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.

Keep at it. What you don’t use now could be inspirational years from now.

Intrigued? Find out more at nataliegoldberg.com/ Definitely worth the read!

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