THE WRITING WARRIOR – “Not like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich”

August 16, 2010

The Writing Warrior, 208 pages

by Laraine Herring, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2

Shambhala Books, July, 2010 

This book frees would-be (and experienced) writers from their biggest obstacle — themselves. Some of Herring’s concepts are both literary and profound. If the elements involved are: the writer, the words he or she writes and the reader—her focus is on the first two. She faces off against the writer’s mythical hamster wheel of suffering with its spokes of “the illusion of time,” “ the illusion of control,” “ the illusions of publication, success, fame and money, etc” and integrates some countering writing practices in conjunction with yoga and breathing. 

I thought the journal writing exercises somewhat elemental though they probably originated from Ms. Herring’s extensive teaching experiences, but some of her concepts—for example, “structure is alive,” “the energy of the moment,” “there is no overnight anything” and “a writer must remember he or she is always a beginner”—stayed with me long after I had finished the book. I like the joining of yoga and teaching, in fact I conduct workshops called “YogaWrite™,” but there is a danger that the focus becomes too subjective. Readers want an example of facing their vulnerabilities (and a good author provides this), but my experience is that art has to make reality, heightened reality. There are dynamics between characters in scenes that dramatize inner and outer conflicts. These techniques Laraine Herring seems to leave to a readers’ further research. Maybe they are the subject of a follow-up book, but I think would have been perfect to explore in the last third of this one (which is mostly after-the-fact bromides).

Herring can write; her rather personal examples are very moving. I wish there was more on the breathing and movement, but her comments about attaining a non-judgmental relationship with ourselves are inspirational. She says, “Don’t worry about the end results…. Write the best book possible. Then do the next right thing.” But isn’t there more? This is a book worth reading, worth believing in, and (also) worth moving beyond.

Buy this directly from amazon for $10.17. Click here: The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice



  1. Thanks so much for the review! I really appreciate it. All best,

    • Laraine, I read many books (and many on writing) but this is one I felt a real kinship for. I told my students about it at the last YogaWrite workshop and have passed it on to my daughter and her husband who are both yoga instructors. Your comments on the “illusion of expectations” have helped reorient my own writing. Thank you.

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