Writing Tip – Absurdity is a Teacher

One of my favorite quotes by Natalie Goldberg, in my opinion the best writing teacher the world has to offer, goes like this: “1 plus 1 equals a Mercedes Benz.”

Here’s a writing tip: Take Goldberg’s sentence and use it as the first line in a paragraph. Then write about what this sentence means to you. Yes, this sentence sounds absurd. That’s the point.

This exercise too is based on one of Goldberg’s suggestions. I have written many paragraphs starting with this line, and every one of them is different, every one of them has taught me something about myself, about my writing ability, about the strange beings that inhabit my mind.

Here’s another tip: buy – and read – and practice – Natalie Goldberg’s books about the writing process – Writing Down the Bones, and Wild Mind. Best money I ever spent.

2 thoughts on “Writing Tip – Absurdity is a Teacher

  1. WoW! I have always wanted to write. In the early 1990’s I attended a computer networking (as in network equipment – routers, T1 phone lines, coax vs. twisted pair cable, etc…) and one of the booths had as a gimmick a fortune teller. This woman took my hand in hers, looked at my palm then up at my face. She told me to read Natalie Goldberg’s books. I did.

    Now, approx. 15 years later, I am ready to bloom I think.

  2. So glad you found my blog. Natalie Goldberg is a great writing gardener, helping all sorts of writers bloom. Loved the story about the fortune teller at the high-tech networking event — I too have a “high-tech” past. I worked in the semiconductor industry for over 20 years, writing “on the side.” But for the last 12 years I have been a full time writer, and no longer have to live on the sidelines of my own life. It can be done! Bloom away …

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