Writing Wild by Tina Welling
Book Review and Commentary May 2, 2016
If you’re a nature lover, you will love this book. It goes beyond the act of writing and into the depths of conscious awareness. Using your intuitive nature creates a deep partnership with the natural world, so says Tina Welling. She is a novelist (three novels published by NAL), nonfiction author, an active hiker and cross country skier. And a skilled communicator with nature.
The goal of ‘writing wild’ is in the recognition of knowing ourselves through our natural world. Welling believes that while we receive nourishment from the earth, the earth receives nourishment from us. It is within this bond, within this exchange, that we can create our highest art.
The act of writing wild weaves inner and outer environments, the writer becoming conscious of this interconnectedness. How to do this? Welling suggests ‘spirit walks.’ Walking is figurative because the writer is to “set your butt on nature itself.” Sit on that log or flop down into the snow: breathe deeply, use all your senses, recall feelings or emotions.
This approach goes further than just observing nature or recording impressions. We are looking to create a new experience in this process of spirit walk. And there is a path to follow: naming, describing, interacting. I like how Welling asks us to follow Nature’s rules of creativity. Imitate the stillness of a mountain, follow the weave of a spider web, experience how a snowflake travels and lands on the earth.
Until reading this book, I did not really notice the degree of day becoming night in light transitions. Because Nature is pure energy, it can be your writing partner, says Welling. She has a section on mistakes that worked, releasing locked energy, and chance and synchronicity.
Welling knows from her own experiences with nature, that “what we create then creates us.” I found this whole book and its theories circular and very agreeable. How does all this directly help your writing? This approach and her exercises create a conscious clarity, insights, focused developments, which direct an ordered thinking of language, clean prose, and sensory data. And this is the authentic realm of the writer.
This is a book that teaches how to pay attention, open your heart, touch the hidden secrets, and speak. Skills that all serious writers need.
Visit Tina Wellling Website.
My Recommended List of the Best Writing Books I’ve Read
Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg (book review here)
Method Writing, Jack Grapes (book review here)
Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury (book review here)
On Writing, A Memoir, Stephen King (book review here)
Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway. All the basics of how to write: the writing process, show vs. tell, characterization, fictional atmosphere and place, story structure and plot, point of view, theme, and revision.
Story, Robert McKee
Story Trumps Structure, Steven James
The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner (I reread this book once a year, it’s that good)
Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern
The Art of Character, David Corbett
Getting into Character, Brandilyn Collins
The Secret Miracle, the Novelist’s Handbook, edited by Daniel Alarcon
Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande
The Faith of a Writer, Life, Craft, Art, Joyce Carole Oates
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose
Elements of Style, Strunk & White
Best Editing Books for Writers:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne & Dave King
A Dash of Style, Noah Lukeman
The Grammar Bible, Michael Strumpf & Auriel Douglas
Line by Line, Claire Kehrwald Cook
The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein
Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Second Edition, Ernest Gowers
Chicago Manual of Style
Words Into Type, Third Edition, Skillin & Gay
Next writing book on my list to review is
Steering the Craft, A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story
by Ursula K. LeGuin.