I first read Writing Down the Bones in my intro to creative writing class freshman year at university. I remember feeling like Natalie Goldberg just gave me permission to write about anything. In the years since, her book remains relevant to my writing practice and I use the work in the high school creative writing class I teach. Which means I reread or skim through once a semester; here, from the chapter “Writing Is Not a McDonald’s Hamburger”:
Let go of everything when you write, and try at a simple beginning with simple words to express what you have inside. It won’t begin smoothly. Allow yourself to be awkward. You are stripping yourself. You are exposing your life, not how your ego would like to see you represented, but how you are as a human being. And it is because of this that I think writing is religious. It splits you open and softens your heart toward the homely world.