Writing Wild (Book Review and Giveaway)

Tina Welling is a fiction writer, known for Cowboys Never Cry, Fairytale Blues and Crybaby Ranch. This book, Writing Wild, is non-fiction; in fact, it is a book about writing.  Here’s how Welling describes the book:

Everything we know about creating, we know intuitively from the natural world. Over and over, nature shows us the rules of creativity. . . Writing Wild offers writers, journal keepers, and those others of us who wish to live more fully a direct pathway into a stronger relationship with wildness, both inner and outer. The result is writing that inspires, heal, enlivens, and deeply engages both writer and reader.

writingwildAs a model, she takes Joseph Campbell, who wrote, “The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”

Welling lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a place where (I imagine) you love the natural world, or you move away.

She believes in using all five senses in writing, and has several exercises to show you how to do that, too. She uses a method called “Naming, Detailing, Interacting,” which she describes in detail, so you can learn how to get the most out of a nature walk, and bring it into your writing.

She also shows us how to truly inhabit our body. For many of my coaching clients, the body ends right at the neck, there is a vague connection to fingers (for writing or typing) and then. . .nothing. I’m always surprised at how many writers live their entire lives in their head. Welling pries you out of it with gentle, easy exercises that make you realize how much of your truth lives in your body.

Once you have learned to connect your body to your head, she guides you to understand that intuition is a knowledge we all have, but often don’t trust. And that writing is the healing action that combines body and soul.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the idea that we do not, after all, write what we know. Instead, Welling says, we write to know something, and that something is ourselves. (I found a hint of Inner Hero here.)

Chapter titles include:

  • Nature as a Writing Partner
  • The Body Never Lies
  • Creativity and the Four Elements
  • Lessons from the Natural World
  • The Energy of Writing
  • Follow Your Longing
  • Wild Spirit

This book is certainly not for everyone. But for hikers, naturalists or writers curious about the world around them, you will find help, validation, and some interesting exercises to help you become the writer you already know you are.

Giveaway: Leave a comment that you want a free copy of the book. On Saturday, I will announce the winner. Make sure you stop by on Saturday, May 10 to see if you won and send me your mailing address. Good luck!

Note: Congratulations to Kaisa Mäki-Petäjä, who won Writing Wild. I love her blog, here’s the link to the boulders she draws in her journal. Send me your mailing address to QuinnCreative AT yahoo DOT com. The publisher sent me two books, and I’m giving away the second one as well. Congratulations to Diane Becka, new owner of the second book!

Thanks to everyone who left a comment!

Disclosure: New World Library kindly sent me two copies of the book because I wanted to keep one and give one away.

—Quinn McDonald is a writer who loves to read books about writing.



52 thoughts on “Writing Wild (Book Review and Giveaway)

  1. What a powerful combination. A great addition to any nature lover’s library. Thank you for sharing.

  2. There is something incredible about the connection of the feet to the writing brain. Move the feet and characters start talking. Hiking in the Tetons, Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Denali, Great Falls, my neighborhood–all sources of inspiration and invigoration. The book sounds like one I would love and learn from so count me in!

  3. hi quinn, i posted a comment this morning, but am not seeing it, would love to win the book, i enjoy writing, but mine is usually a lot of “bla-blah-blah” rambling, i need help!

  4. This does sound like a very interesting and informative book and would love to have a copy. I think I’ll check out Amazon, too. Thank you!

  5. Hi Quinn. This sounds fabulous! I’d love to win a copy. But if it’s not to be, then it’s off to my local bookshop I’ll be to order it! Thanks for the opportunity. 🙂

  6. As a nature person and writer I’d love a copy! In my experience the act of writing is discovering what we know or (re)organizing what we think we know 😉 in order to come up with new ideas and insights!

  7. This book sounds fascinating. I’ve recently moved my walking from indoors and parks to nature trails. It’s always interesting to see the different forms of nature on my walks. Besides the physical exercise I’m also gaining mentally, emotionally and physically in ways I hadn’t been before. This book would be a very welcome addition in my life.

  8. I completely agree with the writing to know ourselves. Pete, above in the comments, may want to know more about clarity, and this could relate to how he sees things in his life, even if he isn’t writing about himself.

    I am working on a memoir, which deals with a control-freak father, and I have been prone to walk away from it. This book would help me see the process from a different perspective. I would love to have a copy, Quinn.

  9. Definitely a book to read. It is on my wish list, my to read list and I would love to win the drawing for this book. Kristin

  10. ohhh this sounds like a wonderful and useful book. i do love to write, but sometimes it seems like i’m not that focused, i just ramble on and on and on-lol. i would love to learn more about journaling and this book sounds delightful, please add me to the drawing. thanks quinn.

  11. Tina’s book sounds very different from my other writing books. Being a nature girl myself, I’d love to win a copy.

    BTW, thanks for the heads up on your class at Blue Twig. See you in July.

  12. Hi Quinn, I’m one of those writers who seems to totally live in her head, while the body has been getting strangely misshapen and too big. Would love to know how to connect my body with my head. And to see how my love of trees and ponds and mountains fits in with my writing (because they don’t usually appear in my writing, but the love is there). Thanks for the opportunity to have a chance at this appealing book. Jean

  13. As a nature loving, highly intuitive person who likes to write, this book sounds perfect! I’m a massage therapist, too, so “The Body Never Lies” sounds especially intriguing.

  14. This would be a fantastic book to add to my collection. I’m currently going to school for a Associates in Creative Writing and I find myself constantly “living inside my head”. Can be very frustrating!

  15. You always find the most interesting books! As a person who has lived in my head for most of my life, I love the idea of being in touch with all of our senses to bring out our creativity in all things, especially writing. I was also happy to hear you are coming to Colorado to teach in July. I am hoping to meet you then!!!!

  16. I have been following your blog for a short time but I look forward to every single post. And almost every time I found at least one sentence that has spoken to my core which has the prompted me to then forward on to friends. I am going to Yellowstone in 2 months and this book sounds like the perfect accessory to my journal book while I’m there. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world!!!

  17. Many consider the body a vehicle for the head, and not much more.
    I’d be very much interested in reading this take on living a wilder life. And writing what we don’t know in order to find out–fabulous take on the advice we constantly hear.

  18. This sounds like a wonderful addition to my library. it would be so awesome to win it but I am for sure going to see if the library has it. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention 🙂

  19. A free copy of Writing Wild wld be awesome. Allowing intuition to propel ur art as a way to find ur “fit” makes sense.

  20. I’m about to get up and do my weekly trek up South Mountain. I’ve done a little photo journaling about my hikes, but writing about what I already know sounds like a great compliment to my Inner Hero journaling, photography, and painting what I know. Thanks for anther opportunity to win a great book Quinn.

    And by the way, your book “Inner Hero” is fantastic. I’ve been journaling, healing and creating ever since I purchased that gem! Thank you so much. It has complimented the course work from Brene Brown “The Gifts” in an amazing way. If you every wonder if your work has made a difference in someone’s life … wonder no more, you have, and I can’t thank you enough!

  21. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity Quinn. I have other talents but writing isn’t one of them. I’ve been working (baby steps) on improving and this book sounds amazing! I’ll keep my fingers crossed on Saturday!

    … the Joseph Campbell quote is definitely going in my journal!

  22. This book sounds like something I could really use. I love the idea of inhabiting my body and using my intuition in the act of writing. It makes so much sense, though for me, it’s hard to do. Thank you for this offering. Peace, Vicki

  23. This sounds like a beautiful book. Writing with and about nature is “my thing”. I know I would love this book; thank you for telling us about it too!

  24. I would love to have a free copy of this book–it sounds like the perfect fit for the women’s weekly writing group that I run. Several of the women in it are living with chronic illnesses and are already working on connecting more with their bodies for healing. I also have been planning to integrate more observation of and connection with the natural world into this group, because of the connection with the body. For the past month or so I have been including more elements of body and nature awareness in my weekly facilitation plans, and I’d just (last week) started looking for a good sourcebook to draw from. This book would be such a help to everyone in the group–and to those whose lives they touch, as each bit of healing we do ripples out around us. I would so appreciate receiving a copy of this book!

  25. i would love to send this book to a dear friend who is going through a divorce and has moved to Washington and has been reconnecting with herself through hiking and cooking and exploring nature..it would be perfect for her at this time!!

  26. “Write what you know” usually sounds strange to me. Writing is part of my job, but what I need to write about is something I (invariably) don’t know. How to do some new kind of work on some new piece of equipment we’re hoping to sell, or how to program in a language I haven’t used before. What I care about is unambiguous clarity, and very little else. Being concise is good, although secondary.

    Don’t give me the book (I’m not very interested in fiction), but I’m glad to see another counterpoint to “write what you know”.

  27. Would love a copy of this book it so resonated with me. I love being outdoors but do find it a challenge to write about what I see and how it makes me feel when out in nature. sounds very inspiring.

  28. This book sounds great! I would love to win a copy and thank you for offering one–for offering all the giveaways that you do. I recently found out that I am not going to be able to scale back on my day job to spend more time on my writing and art, so I’m looking for some encouragement and this book sounds like it could provide it.

  29. Pick me, pick me, pick me! 😉 Oh, I want to read about writing as a way of knowing, not as a way of stating the knowledge we already have. I often have realisations as I write and often I realise I have written about something important and insightful only well afterwards, maybe weeks later. Did I write about something I knew but did not know I knew? Did I come to know it as wrote it? Or was is when I read what I had written? It’s a wonderful feeling: “Oh boy, I never knew that I knew that!” And to see how the idea or thought unfolds in my writing! That “Follow Your Longing” especially entices me. Oh, please, pick me! Or else I have to buy it myself… (How’s that for a threat! Ha!)

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