Natalie Goldberg studied meditation with Zen master Katagiri Roshi at the Minnesota Zen Center for many years. Then one day, knowing of her interest in creativity, he said: "Why don't you make writing your practice? If you go deep enough in writing, it will take you everyplace." In 1986, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones was released.

What does it mean to make writing a spiritual practice? It means to follow in the spirit of Zen master Dogen and see, "Every day is a good day." It means, as Goldberg notes, that "the deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world." Here are some of the tips she gives in this best-selling writer's handbook: Write in different places, read a lot, and listen well. Use your senses as an animal does. Be specific. Don't tell but show. And trust your first thoughts.