Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Writing Warrior

The Way of the Writing Warrior

If true freedom is going to survive within you, you have to be willing to fight for it. You have to have a sword in each hand at all times. One sword is for your own mind and the other sword is for everyone else's mind. You must be ready to use them. Anyone who wants to be truly free must be willing to stand alone in the truth.
-    Andrew Cohen

The beginning always starts off easy. “I want to write a book,” you say. So, maybe you take a class or two. Maybe you buy a book on writing. Maybe you join a critique group. In the beginning, you are filled with possibilities, burning with potential and promise. In the beginning, you really believe that in one semester you can learn all there is to learn about writing and be on your way to the Great American Novel. And then the beginning, with its sweet kisses and daily flower deliveries, turns into the middle. What was once svelte and flexible and able to party until 3 am and still go to work the next day, turns into the same old stories, the same old morning routine, the same old conversation over and over and over.
“This is no longer love!” you exclaim, and toss your idea, once burning with fire and promise, onto the pyre of self-loathing and vow to start anew with something fresher, more exciting, more flexible and inspiring than ever before. These new kisses are even sweeter, the flowers ever more fragrant. This is the one. And then this beginning becomes a middle. And this middle has a spare tire around its belly. And this middle lost its job. And this middle’s eyesight is failing. What to do? This one was the one! Obviously, you don’t know how to pick ‘em. After all, how could something so right turn out so wrong? Next time you’ll pick one even younger. Stronger. With a faster car.
Anyone can fall in love. Not just anyone can stay in love.
The path of the writing warrior is about staying in love. The path of the writing warrior is about ruthless self-study. It is about looking in the mirror and noticing, without judgment, what you see. It is also about recognizing what you don’t see. It is about accepting that you cannot see it all. It is acknowledging that you see the world through lenses, and acknowledging that each lens provides a distortion. It is having the courage to remove the lenses as you become aware of them. It is having the courage to know when you still need a lens. It is standing back and watching, with more than a little smile, the chatter of your mind.
A writing warrior stands steady in the center of his work, not reaching too far into the past or too far into the present. He is rooted to the earth and his spine is reaching toward heaven. She identifies and acknowledges the distractions and illusions in her path, and with compassion and clarity, strikes them down. She is aware of her patterns and tendencies to get in her own way, and she can laugh at herself, openly and with wide lips. He knows his time on earth is finite and wants to live it fully. He knows he has essays to write, stories to share, poems to create, and he knows it is his responsibility to write them. She knows that writing is sacred, that it carries great power, and that it takes work. She knows that though the stories and poems appear as gifts, they require her diligence, her patience, and her discipline to realize their full potential. He must be alert. She must be faithful.
The writing warrior’s pen is a sword used both to slice away the illusions of her own mind and the illusions of the world around her. The writing warrior does not pick up the pen lightly. He respects its power, its magic, and its teachings. He knows it carries responsibilities. She steps up to the page, the battlefield of the morning, bows to the pen, the page, and to herself. She is ready to cut away what does not serve. He is ready to carve out a new landscape. The pen is also ready, and bows to the warrior, offering its ink as a sacred covenant.
Welcome to the path. We have been waiting for you.

The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice 
Available Summer 2010 from Shambhala Publications


Heather Leah said...

I don't want to wait until summer to read this book! Just by reading this intro, this passage into the meat and guts, heart and soul of this work, I am teary-eyed, because I know you are speaking to me...and to others like me. And I am grateful that I know you understand me...and that I am not alone on this path. Thank you for this work and for walking this path!

Ann Victor said...

Can hardly wait for this book to hit the shelves!

Love the cover as well.

Laraine Herring said...

Thank you Heather & Ann! I'm excited about this book. We're in the final editing stages now. I'll definitely keep everyone updated!


ALMA said...

BRAVA GATA, it looks wonderful...of course, I love the swords, absolutely necessary...Almaluz xoxo

julieT said...

Is there any way to pre-order this book?
I am reading Writing Begins with the Breath for the third time...actually, I should say I'm studying it for the third time.
I'm in the middle of writing my first novel. Part of my daily writing routine includes reading Writing Begins until my muse starts screaming for me to put your book down and go write mine!
You're writing has been life altering for me, not just my writing life, but my life as a whole.
You have an obvious beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your writings with me.

Laraine Herring said...

Wow, thank you, Julie! :-) I'm really glad Breath is helping you.

The new book will be out in August. (And actually, I'll have a novel out by then too!) :-)

I'm guessing amazon will have a pre-order a few months prior to that, and I will ask Shambhala if they have any pre-order option.

If you like, you can go to my website ( and there's a link to e-mail me. That will go to my personal e-mail. If you want to share your contact information with me, I can send you notification when you can order, and you can be assured the blog will have some info on it!

Thanks again. You made my morning!

Lyn said...

Congratulations on the book--just read Dave Richo's Being True to Life: Poetic Paths to Personal Growth, also Shambhala. Very nice! Will definitely want yours.