Laraine Herring holds a MFA in creative writing and a MA in counseling psychology. She is the author of several books and has developed numerous workshops that use writing as a tool for healing. Learn more about her at www.LaraineHerring.com. In this out-of-the-box handbook for aspiring writers, she displays her ability to wed spirituality and creativity in vivid and surprising ways. Herring begins with three practices designed to bring out what she calls "the writing warrior" within you: breathing, shaking, and writing. The first will be familiar to practitioners of meditation. The second is a shaking exercise that breaks down energy stagnation in the body and opens up its channels. And the third is the panoply of suggestions and ideas at the end of each chapter: the exercises under "Internal Conversations" and "Write Now."
In a section titled "Building Your Foundation," Herring counsels us to give up all expectations about the end results of our writing. The main thing is to show up and let everything else go. "Don't write with an agenda," she says. She wants us to be in the writing and not around it or hop-scotching next to it. Practice is necessary: "writing begets writing," Herring concludes. Get out of the way of the writing which is another way of saying don't cling to your own ideas of attachment and aversion.
Another section of the book deals with getting rid of the illusions that are part of the Writer's Wheel of Suffering. Among them are the illusions of time, thoughts, what a writer is, identification, control, distractions, and publication with money, success, and fame. Instead of dwelling on these follies, Herring champions our vulnerability, soft eyes, self-study, waking up, intuition, revisions, impermanence, and seasons of the work. We had thought that five or six of our favorite writers in this genre had done all the fieldwork; now we will add Laraine Herring to this inner circle.