Natalie Goldberg on “The True Secret of Writing”

Natalie Goldberg’s new book is called The True Secret of Writing, but we’re not going to like the secret, she warns in this new Huffington Post interview.

“Basically, the most raw, deep truth is shut up and write,” she says. “There’s no such thing as a writer’s block. If you’re having trouble writing, well, pick up the pen and write. No matter what, keep that hand moving. Writing is really a physical activity.”

Writing, for Goldberg, is a meditation exercise.”What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind,” she says. “We live in discursive thinking, and what we want to do is drop below to first thoughts, which is wild mind and true energy.” Read the rest of the interview here.

The Shambhala Sun‘s Andrea Miller reviewed The True Secret of Writing, available this month from Atria Books, for the upcoming May magazine. Here’s what Andrea had to say about it:

The title of this book is somewhat tongue in cheek. It’s a phrase that Natalie Goldberg has long used when a student is late for one of her writing classes: “Oh, I’m so sorry,” Goldberg likes to tease the tardy individual. “You just missed it—a moment ago I told the students the true secret of writing. I am only able to utter it every five years or so.” In actuality, Goldberg’s stance is that no one possesses the one single true secret of writing and that if you ever meet someone who claims otherwise, you should make a run for it, as all of life is about diversity—nothing is singular. That being said, in this new release Goldberg does offer a fresh practice for writing, and it is rooted in the Zen tradition. A frequent contributor to the Shambhala Sun, Goldberg is the author of twelve books spanning fiction, poetry, and memoir, but is best known for her writing guide, Writing Down the Bones, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies.

You can browse Goldberg’s contributions to the Shambhala Sun on our Natalie Goldberg Spotlight Page.


  1. Katherine Reynolds says

    I am an old student of Natalie Goldberg. This book takes me right back to the Mabel Dodge Luhan house, the home base of her silent writing retreats. I'm so grateful I have had the pleasure of studying with her since 1999. This book is a must read for anyone who aspires to make writing his/her practice. Bravo, Natalie, bravo.