First Thoughts


When we first sit down and start to write, our first thoughts start to flow onto the page, flooding with raw unfiltered emotions. Then moment by moment the ego pops in and we start to have second, third and fourth thoughts. Stop and tell the ego to go play somewhere else so you can do what you’ve set out to do, just write.

Natalie Goldberg suggests we time ourselves from time to time when we sit down to write. She has some rules about these timed sessions:


  1. Keep your hand moving. (Don’t pause to reread the line you have just written. That’s stalling and trying to get control of what you’re saying.)
  2. Don’t cross out. (That’s editing as you write. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, leave it.)
  3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. (Don’t even care about staying within the margins and lines o the page.)
  4. Lose control.
  5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
  6. Got for the jugular. (If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive into it. It probably has lots of energy.)

These are the rules. It is important to adhere to them because the aim is to burn through the first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor, to the place where you are writing what our might actually sees and feels, not what it thinks it should see or feel. ~ Natalie Goldberg

vintage woman

Most of the time, (maybe 8 out of 10 times) I just let go and let be. Let creativity takes over and when I’m done and when I reread what I’ve put down on the page, I barely remember even writing it. All I know it was a moment of pure awareness where I was one, one with the creativity and the amount of time that passed by was like a blink of an eye. I love that!

You must be a great warrior when you contact first thoughts and write from them. Especially at the beginning you may feel great emotions and energy that will sweep you away, but you don’t stop writing. You continue to use your pen and record the details of your life and penetrate into the heart of them. . . .Don’t stop at the tears; go through to the truth. This is discipline. ~ Natalie Goldberg

red head

I love this image, the tears welling up and streaming down my face as I continue to write. I’ve pushed myself far with my memoir manuscript and when I push myself I get to the other side, whatever it looks like, I need to get there and writing through the tears will get me there.

Until next time, keep on typing . . . .



2 thoughts on “First Thoughts

  1. I love Natalie Goldberg. I have two of her books, and they’re my go-to books when I feel discouraged to write, or I feel writer’s block starting to creep in.

    I think I need to get back to writing with paper and pen. It’s so easy typing my journals, but it feels so rigid and “proper”. I love what Natalie says: “don’t stop writing.” I used to do her timed exercises all the time. I got away from it. But I need to pick it back up. I think I will today.

    Liked by 1 person

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