#Netgalley #BookReview ~ #Writing Down the Bones Deck 60 Cards to Free the #Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg #Creativity #Non-Fiction


Writing Down the Bones Deck

60 Cards to Free the Writer Within

by Natalie Goldberg


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Writing Down the Bones Deck 60 Cards to Free the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg from Netgalley and Shambala Publications, in order to read and give an honest review.

… a continuation of Goldberg’s wonderful process and as always, are insightful, interesting, and engaging….

I remember picking up a copy of Writing Down the Bones about twenty years ago and it was one of the books that helped me fall in love with writing again. Anyone who has worked through any of Natalie Goldberg’s books will know that her approach is unique as it challenges you to think about writing in a unique way and these cards are no different. Through these sixty cards, Goldberg inspires and motivates, offering sage advice and proposing challenges which you set yourself allowing you choose how deep you delve into your writing.

These are great for anyone looking to ignite their creativity, whether you’re looking for inspiration, drafting a novel or keeping a daily journal, these cards are a brilliant addition to your writing/creativity library. Writing Down the Bones Deck 60 Cards to Free the Writer Within are a continuation of Goldberg’s wonderful process and as always, are insightful, interesting, and engaging, I would highly recommend.

#Book Review – The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron #Creativity #ArtistsWay #JuliaCameron

Writer Julia Cameron Inspires Many On Their Creative Journey

Re-blogged from previous date…

Over two decades after Julia Cameron first published, “The Artists Way”, many still find this book a source of inspiration.   I found her book over ten years ago when on a mission to get back that creative passion I once had.  Over the years, my copy has been read and re-read leaving it with dog-eared pages and a rickety spine but I still turn to it when I find myself drifting from my creative self.  These days creativity is becoming more and more prevalent as people reach for meaning in their life.  Being creative takes us away from the hustle and bustle that inhabits our daily lives, stimulates both our brains and our souls. Often people have the desire to be creative have no clue where to start.

Go to any large bookstore and you will find a growing selection of books designed to teach you how to motivate yourself to live a creative existence. There are books on almost every creative genre whether it is writing, painting, crafts or acting. In addition, there are writers that, regardless of the chosen activity, focus on the creative process itself. These writers make it their mission to help you navigate through your creative journey. Julia Cameron is definitely one of the most prolific of these writers.   Cameron who is an artist, playwright, poet and writer herself has firsthand knowledge of exploring and maintaining one’s creative spark.  Her expertise is not only shared in The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Penguin Putman released in 1992 and re-released in 2002) but she has created a trilogy to address each aspect of what she calls “creative recovery”. “Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity” (Penguin Group released 2002) is basically the intermediate version of The Artist’s Way which helps you to continue your creative growth and the third instalment, “Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance” (Penguin Group 2006) is meant to help those already following a creative path to overcome creative blocks and stagnancy.

In each book, Cameron has two main basic tools: Morning Pages and Artist Dates.

Morning Pages are three full pages written longhand first thing every morning. In these pages, you write without censoring yourself. You rant, dream, worry, create and explore in these pages and they help you to “Keep the drama on the page” and out of your daily routine.

Artist Dates are also a valuable tool to regain creative passion. These are essentially “dates” with your creative self. This time is meant to be spent alone nurturing your creativity. Artist’s dates can range from visiting an art gallery to going to a corner craft store

Each book consists of a twelve-week course designed to gradually get you comfortable with the creative process through the use of tools and exercises which motivate and inspire.

The Artist’s Way has spawned what is called “creativity clusters” which are groups of compassionate readers who get together to work on the course together. Working in such a way can help for many as it gives you a sense of accountability, which can keep you focused and moving forward.

Although this process can be challenging and require courage – growth is not effortless, it takes time but it is an investment in yourself.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”~Pablo Picasso

The Artists Way

The Artist’s Way by Julia CameronPermalink:http://amzn.com/1585421472

One of my favourite quotes on #writing…

Sometimes I think we all need some inspiration, something to remind us that no matter how old we are there is always a chance for a new beginning. 🙂

Writing Quote

Photograph © Belinda Witzenhausen 2016

“Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it’s not something where — if you missed it by age 19 — you’re finished. It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world — at any age. At least try.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Weekly Writing Spark~November 17th,2014|| via IgniteYourCreativity.net

“Buying a book is not about obtaining a possession, but about securing a portal.” – Laura Miller

You’re at an estate sale when you are drawn to an old journal and the price is too good to pass up. When you get home you decide to go on the internet and do a little research on the author.  What you discover frightens yet intrigues you at the same time.  The writer of your masterpiece is known to have dabbled in the occult until they went missing over a decade ago.  It is rumoured that by reading the journal you can open a portal to another dimension.

Write about your adventure with this journal.  Are you brave enough to read it? What do you find inside? Does this portal exist and if it does where does it lead?  Is it a dream come true or your worst nightmare?

Get creative, write and have fun! 🙂

My favorite book on Writing Craft by Corinne O’Flynn (@CorinneOFlynn)

I love to read books on craft. I have many of them, and continue to marvel at the ways these books weave advice about writing in so many ways and yet all hope to get a writer to the same place.  One of my very favorites is The Plot Whisperer, by Martha Alderson.

Link http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Whisperer-Secrets-Structure-Writer/dp/1440525889

PlotWhisperer Cover

The book opens with an introduction which begins, Something urges you to pick up this book.  And from there she begins to write not just about writing craft, but about our humanity and who we are in the world. Alderson describes how the stories we write, and things we put our characters through, speak about who we are as human beings.

I teach the Universal Story to writers through plot. Though difficult to accomplish successfully, plot is critical to stories. As I continue to teach and write and consult, I gain new insights into plot… and into writers’ lives.

She goes further to speak about the things that we struggle with as writers and the things that block us and how we should dig deep when these pop up in our writing because some baggage in our real world there needs to be unpacked and dealt with.

This is not to say that a murderous villain’s actions are speaking to the author’s experience. She’s talking about the deeper stuff. The conflicts, the motivations, the juicy meat that makes a story universally relatable.

Alderson talks about energy, and the Universal Story that we all strive to come into contact with. And how our ability to tell a story that speaks to everyone will be dependent on how we approach the world as a left- or right-brained person, or both. AND THEN… she tells you how to do it. *yay*

Look what happened when I finished the one of the exercises:


That’s my book there on my wall, all laid out in blue post-it notes. When I took this picture, I had been having issues with that first little downhill jaunt up there. Post-it note number 3 and 4 after the crisis peak were causing all kinds of havoc on everything that came after.

Posting it out like this, as the exercise advised, I was able to move through and solve the problem and became completely jazzed in the process. Being jazzed about your book is important.

I got so excited I grabbed my husband and made him come in to see the fabulous plot poster, but insisted that he didn’t actually READ any of the notes because he had not read the final draft yet and some of the juicy bits had now changed. So he admired my blue story structure plan and congratulated me and then left the room with me grinning like a starry-eyed maniac.

When I started writing this book, I did so without a plan. I had it in my head where I needed to go and I went. Once the first draft was finished, it was okay. I was enamored of the process and realized my story went in a few directions I hadn’t intended. Many drafts later, I was still paying for that lack of planning as I reworked some stuck spots and solved the larger issues of plot. Above all things, I have realized that I require a plot plan.

If you look closely, you’ll see a little pink post-it in the lower left corner. That was the start of another line of my story about to be explored and added to the six foot paper mural. I added green and orange tags as well. The exercises in this book are done in such a way as to help you see your story to its fullest completion. My plot poster was a kaleidoscopic adventure of bullet points when I was done.

If you’re looking for some help with your story plot, I highly recommend The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson.


About Corinne

Corinne Headshot

Corinne O’Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn’t trade life in the Rockies for anything. She loves writing flash and experimenting with short fiction. Her novel, THE EXPATRIATES (Oct. 2014) is a YA fantasy adventure with magic and creatures and lots of creepy stuff. She is a scone aficionado, has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea, and is always on the lookout for the elusive Peanut Chews candy. When she isn’t writing or hanging with her family, Corinne works as the executive director of a nonprofit. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Expatriates is available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble. She blogs about her adventures at www.corinneoflynn.com.

Weekly Writing Spark~October 27th, 2014|| via IgniteYourCreativity.net

“It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.” ~Erin Morgenstern

With Halloween around the corner, many of us partake in reading ghost and horror stories.  Imagine you close the book only to find its creepy creatures, ghouls and goblins have come to life.  Write about your ghoulish adventures.

Get creative, write and have fun!

Weekly Writing Spark~October 20th,2014|| via IgniteYourCreativity.net

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
~C. S. Lewis

Do you dream about pursuing your creative goals only to push them to the wayside because you feel it’s too late? Every now and then, does that nagging question “what if?” rear it’s ugly head? Now really think about it, what is stopping you? Do you feel you lack skill? Lack time? Lack resources?

Let’s pretend you’re writing a letter of encouragement to a dear friend who wants to become a “insert your dream here” (writer, artist, musician,sculptor etc.). What would you say to encourage them?  What would you tell them if they kept making excuses? Brainstorm and help give them ideas of  how to accomplish their goals. Would you take your advice? Reflect and write! 🙂

Weekly Writing Spark~October 6th,2014|| via IgniteYourCreativity.net

“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.” ~Werner Herzog

Write a story about what danger inhabits the darkest, hidden recesses on earth.  Where does this “danger” call home? What makes it so dangerous? What form does it take?  Is it easily enticed to the light or does it silently stalk its prey?

Get creative, write and most of all…have fun! 🙂


Weekly Writing Spark~September 29th,2014|| via IgniteYourCreativity.net

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” ~ Cassandra Clare

Write about what happens when someone is so influenced by a fictional book that their life is turned inside out. Describe what book they read. How did they change internally? What changes did their friends and family witness?

Get creative, write and have fun! 🙂