Natalie Goldberg has been practicing Zen meditation and teaching writing for the past 25 years. She lives in northern New Mexico and is the author of Long Quiet Highway and Living Color. Her most famous work, Writing Down the Bones, has sold over a million copies. At the outset, Goldberg notes: "I am still following a trail of desire, indulging my own wandering mind."

Using illustrative material from her writing practice and her lectures as a teacher, the author discusses the importance of always showing up for writing, structuring your time, handling criticism, staying connected with the senses, paying attention to details, and working with an editor. She proclaims: "A writer's path includes concentration, slowing down, commitment, awareness, loneliness, faith, a breakdown of ordinary perception — the same qualities attributed to monks or Zen masters."

Unlike many other writers, Goldberg advises her students to learn from accomplished authors. They make great mentors. Some of her favorites are Carson McCullers, William Styron, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Wallace Stegner. She includes a list of books she loves in the appendix. Of course, as she has done in all of her works on creativity, Goldberg pays tribute to her spiritual Zen teacher, Katagiri Roshi, and the value of meditation practice as a necessary tool to awaken the mind.