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Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice

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4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  169 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In this distinctive guide to the craft of writing, author Laraine Herring shows us how to tune into our bodies and connect with our emotions so that our writing becomes an expression of our full beings, rather than just an intellectual exercise. With warmth and wisdom, Herring offers a path to discovering "deep writing"—prose that is unique, expressive, and profoundly auth ...more
Paperback, 211 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Shambhala
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Judy Croome
Mar 10, 2011 Judy Croome rated it it was amazing
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.
...more
Kat Kiddles
Jan 25, 2011 Kat Kiddles rated it it was amazing
This has been the most difficult book I’ve ever experienced – like watching a car crash and not being able to look away. There were times when I was screaming inside with resistance, hating the truths she was smacking me in the face with, and she knew! She knew exactly when I was about to throw the book in the kitchen sink and douse it with dish-washing liquid before cutting it up with fork and knife. She knew because just before those moments came, she would slam on her brakes and remind me tha ...more
Sarah
Dec 02, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any english/writing student
In reading this book, I found the activity to be very relaxing compared to other books I have read. This is probably because the author shows you how calm and collected one should be during the writing process. Herring gives many physical exercises to help relax the body and ease the mind so that there is no tension or stress during the procedure. These “body breaks”, as the author refers to them, are simple techniques that one practices while reading along. As I read, I grasped the meaning of w ...more
Thomas DeWolf
Oct 25, 2014 Thomas DeWolf rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I read a lot of books on the art and craft of writing. What a particularly liked about this one was Herring's focus on the authentic and critical connection between our writing and our bodies.

"Deep writing comes from our bodies, from our breath, and from our ability to remain solid in the places that scare us. It comes from merging with what we are writing – from dissolving our egos so that the real work can emerge through us, without conditions for success attached to it."

I believe she is corr
...more
Saba Razvi
Aug 11, 2008 Saba Razvi is currently reading it
Rather unusual approach to the writing process. I like that it bridges mind and body because writing so often forgets the body in process, even though it relies on the body to generate the raw materials of the product...
Amber Polo
Feb 04, 2009 Amber Polo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relaxation
I’d guess the most difficult book to write is one meant to tell other writers how to write. Laraine
Herring has succeeded in writing a book for every writer’s bedside table.

Beginning with the belief that your body’s cells hold memory, stories, and experiences, creative
writer/teacher Laraine Herring wants every writer to write authentically. What is authentic writing?
Different for each writer – you know it when you read it.

Using story, advice, clues, and exercises, she leads writers deeper into
...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Laraine has a way about her that gets you engrossed in everything she writes and you can't help but absolutely enjoy it. Her book is inspiring and it goes along what I believe writing to be: it flows from us, something that is every bit part of who we are. I owe here teaching me the names of some authors in order to expand a bit further; I was really glad to get into the world of John Gardner thanks to her. Her words are so beautiful, vivid, and she has the capacity for keep my attention as long ...more
Wendy
Feb 20, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
Herring calls this book a process book rather than a craft book. I haven't read many craft books until recently -- have read 3 within the last 2 months -- and this is by far the best. Encompassing ideas of yoga, Herring offers writing exercises that allow the writer to explore her inner life as well as her writing, both the overall process and the specifics, such as plot, character development, etc. This book helps me feel that my writing is important, even if it never sees the pages of a magazi ...more
Mary nbr
May 06, 2016 Mary nbr rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
بیشتر یک سری تمرین آرامش و تنفس، تامل روی شخصیت رو محور قرار داده، یک کتاب پرورشی در سطح مبتدی ولی با نثر و جملاتی روان و دوست داشتنی. نیازم رو با توجه به اسم کتاب و هدفش برآورده نکرد.
Erin Lyndal
Nov 26, 2015 Erin Lyndal rated it it was amazing
A lot of books about writing are awful. They are dull or patronizing or repetitive or something else.

I enjoyed this one a lot because she's very well rounded in talking about a lot of aspects of writing, including solitude and the grief that comes when finishing a project. The exercises at the end of each chapter are generally helpful and insightful--not too fluffy, as many exercises are. I enjoy her unflinching, accepting honesty.

She does suggest yoga poses here with the chapters, and you can t
...more
malrubius
Jul 01, 2010 malrubius rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
This is a very good book. It ties together writing and psychology very well, forcing the reader/writer to look inward while also examining how to express one's inner self in writing. Unlike Writing Down the Bones, however, Herring's book focuses not only on writing from the self but also on writing fiction that is not necessarily just bleeding one's heart onto the page. Most importantly, though, Herring is an excellent writer. The prose is clear and thoughtful, full of engaging analogies and tho ...more
Kayla
Sep 03, 2014 Kayla rated it it was amazing
An insightful guide to writing that explains the process well and shows how much you really need to put into it.
Cherie
Dec 17, 2015 Cherie rated it liked it
Geared towards beginning writers. Would be good in my bachelors' writing program.
Camellia
Jan 20, 2016 Camellia rated it it was amazing
I would say "Yes!" Read this book!
Cathleen
Jun 23, 2015 Cathleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Laraine has a way of saying things that are sometimes difficult to accept, but can say them in a way that doesn't judge and yet at the same time is a kick in the pants. This book might help you find your voice and will definitely help calm the noise in your head. I'm lucky to have had Laraine as a teacher. She's the real deal and this book is too.
Eleanor
Oct 04, 2014 Eleanor rated it really liked it
Shelves: writerly
Need to look at this again
Lyn
Nov 09, 2012 Lyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-interest
Herring suggests that the more in tune with our body the easier it is to write. She discusses how important it is to commit to writing everyday like most authors on writing suggest however her approach is that a finely tuned body with perform more efficently. Her body breaks and touchstones encourage you to step outside of your normal daily writing routine. I found myself writing longer after exploring the body breaks. I recommend you give her thought process a try, it makes sense!
Laura Elliott
Dec 31, 2009 Laura Elliott rated it it was ok
Um. To be honest, didn't resonate with me. My neighbor gave this to me because she was very inspired by it. I tried to read it, I really did. But it just didn't speak to me. So, I put it down and returned it. I am also a VERY slow reader. So, I really need to pick and choose what I read. If I have to keep telling myself I have to get to that book, well, it just doesn't make the cut for me.
Pedro Cabiya
Aug 13, 2011 Pedro Cabiya rated it it was ok
Shelves: meditation
MFAs have a very particular, cerebral and forced way of writing. It's like they never really "let go" and write. They think too much. It is exasperating. In this book, you can ignore all the yogi hokum and new age prose and just do the breathing exercises. They are truly helpful. At least in that respect she knows what she's doing.
Cathy Carpenter
Apr 24, 2014 Cathy Carpenter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-read
I came across this book at exactly the right time. I have a meditation practice and a growing yoga practice, but my writing practice has been stuck in resistance for a while. This book integrates everything I've been learning and needing to know to open me up to my writing practice again and look at it with new eyes.
Lindy
Writing is part of my spiritual practice and to write deeply is a reachable goal. Herring makes writing deeply part of the prescription for getting in touch with the authentic self. Writing becomes interconnected to the mind, body, and spirit experience. EXCELLENT!
JoAnn Jordan
Aug 08, 2011 JoAnn Jordan rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent guide to writing and even life. There is much wisdom in this book. The exercises are useful and challenging.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it highly to writers hoping to more fully integrate writing into their lives.
Jody Casella
Apr 07, 2008 Jody Casella rated it it was amazing
Good book for writers. There are lots of quotable passages to inspire you, and exercises to do if you're struggling with writer's block. There's a really good chapter on finding voices from the past.
Janet
Nov 18, 2009 Janet rated it did not like it
Shelves: writing
This one was even more self-help-like than the last book on writing I read. Couldn't really stomach it but did find a good quote that I will send to a good friend.
Susannah
Enjoyed this book sooo much! Practical, applicable guide to reaching into that 'creative storehouse' through yoga.
Mary
I keep this book at my desk for on-the-spot encouragement and inspiration. It's my shield against fear and doubt!
Clifford
Jul 01, 2010 Clifford rated it really liked it
This book is nicely done. The lesson I take away from it is to get yourself out of the way of the writing: let it come.
Tom
Nov 04, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it
This book is a great resource and inspiration for my little writing hobby.
David Roberts
Mar 04, 2013 David Roberts rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A helpful book to me when I started my writing. Sensitive and thoughtful.
Pixiep
May 09, 2013 Pixiep rated it it was amazing
This book has pretty much saved my fucking sanity
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Laraine Herring holds an MFA in creative writing and an MA in counseling psychology. Her short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in national and local publications. Her fiction has won the Barbara Deming Award for Women and her nonfiction work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She currently directs the creative writing program at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. She is a member ...more
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“Writing is both an act of power and surrender. Passion and discovery. It is a tug at your soul that continues to pull you forward, even as you go kicking and screaming.” (p.18)” 13 likes
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