If I had to describe this author’s approach to teaching writing in one word, that word would be “unique”. And fascinating. And unusual, practical and useful.
By combining oriental spiritual principles and western writing techniques, Laraine Herring has produced a writing book that finds the perfect balance between craft and creativity.
Perhaps because I do meditation (regularly) and yoga (desultorily), as I worked through this book, the meaning of my authentic voice became real for the first time. The author articulated all the difficulties I have with writer’s block (which some authors say don’t exist) and gave a sensible explanation for it: as writers, every time we write authentically, we brave the depths of our very souls [Pg 16]. Writer’s block is thus a fear-based pattern because, as we write, we don’t know what we’re going to find in our deepest psyche. Writer’s block is that discomfort arising when our writing takes us to places inside ourself that we’d rather avoid [Pg 154]. Too true!
Each of the three sections of the book deals with a critical part of writing. Part 1 describes the tools for growth; Part 2 explores the craft of writing and Part 3 shows us how we must let go our old work and move on to our next story if we are to progress as writers.
The chapters are short and easy to read. There are “Body Breaks” and “Touchstones” scattered at crucial intervals. The former are quick and simple yoga exercises, many of which can be done in the chair, and we are told how these exercises will benefit our writing process. The latter are writing exercises listed at the end of each chapter. But, as with everything in this book, these are not just ordinary writing exercises. They also challenge us to grow as both writers and as individuals.
If you hold onto the goal of publication as the hallmark of your success as a writer, you are giving away your power. [Pg 73]
The above quote is one of the many drops of wisdom the author offers her readers. She also guides us to various sources of writing: the earth, our ancestors and our body. Her advice to listen to voices of our ancestors particularly resonated with me for I, too, hear the call of the ancestral spirits crying down the ages.
Ms Herring’s successful blend of Western writing technique and Eastern philosophy is both innovative and appealing. I can’t help but feel that it has positively transformed both my approach to writing and my view of myself as a writer. This book is a gem well worth adding to your writer’s reference shelf.