Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grooming Deals Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Indie for the Holidays in Prime Music Outdoor Deals on Tikes

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars18
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$11.57+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2008
I am a self-taught writer. Almost forty years have flown by, but I still recall the day I triumphantly placed my first newspaper article, thick with white-out, on the editor's desk. Through sheer desperation and force of will, I managed to turn my messy pages into a sparkling published masterpiece --or so it looked to me!

Writing a book is a long, arduous journey. You will need friendly helping hands along the way. This book is one of those helping hands. It will help assure that your writing sees the light of day.

Destiny dropped this book in my lap just in the nick of time, as I am about to embark on a very personal writing adventure. When I saw the title, "Writing Begins with the Breath," for me, a yogi-writer, it was love at first sight! I thought to myself, "Just what I need!" And I was right.

Before reading the book, I visited Laraine Herring's web site. She is an award winning author and a master teacher of creative writing. She teaches workshops which use writing as a tool for healing. This book is sprinkled with lively anecdotes from her experiences as both student and teacher.

As I leaf through the book to write this review, I see underlined sentences on almost every page. "Writing Begins with the Breath" compliments the other books that encourage me down the writing path: Brenda Ueland's "If You Want to Write," Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones," Deena Metzger's "Writing for Your Life," just to name a few.

Part One, entitled "Focusing the Mind," opens with a chapter called "Risk." Herring recalls how the memoirist Michael Datcher was giving a seminar where he discussed the element of personal risk. A writer must ask herself, "What are you willing to risk to tell your stories?" She goes on to say that Datcher implied that "If we played it safe, hedged our bets, we were doing a disservice to our art. He wanted us to metaphorically slice ourselves open and see what oozed out."

In Part Two, Laraine Herring takes us into the "Deep Writing Process." Here I felt her leap out of the page and shake her finger at me like some strict English teacher. "When you don't pay attention to how scenes are sculpted, how point of view works, or how best to punctuate your sentences, the result is sloppy writing. Your inattention to detail is disrespectful to your reader and your art."

Part Three, "Embracing What and Where You Are" explores that state when you've just finished your book, and the process of letting go. Here the author reminds us that "Everything that begins, ends...Working with impermanence will deepen your writing practice."

Herring ends each chapter with "Touchstones," imaginative exercises to inspire and discipline your own deep writing practice.

The final chapter, "Stillness," brings us to a resting place, the Savasana of writing practice. Seasoned yogis may find the guidance here quite basic, but it's important to remember that the art of letting go is essential to the writing process. Here Herring quotes her yoga teacher, "The world can turn without your help for just a moment."

This spirited guide to the craft of writing has given me the tools I need to turn my messy, rambling journals into a sparkling published memoir! Thank you Laraine!!

Suza Francina is a yoga teacher, animal advocate and author of five books, including The New Yoga for People Over 50. [...]
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2007
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 writing. Her yoga exercises
(this is not Rodney Yee's or Patricia Walden's yoga) teach simple breathing, standing, and relaxing
techniques to allow gentle connections within your body to assist your writing process and allow your
characters to speak.

On every page Laraine's words float, flow, tumble, and surprise as she talks to you, her student, her
friend, and fellow writer. Yes, she takes risks and opens veins; Laraine practices what she teaches.

"Writing Begins with the Breath" is an important book for writers. But don't take my word; Natalie
Goldberg's publisher chose to publish it.

Amber Polo
Relaxation, Writing, and Romance
Relaxation One Breath at a Time
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2007
In "Writing Begins With The Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice" academician, creative writing instructor, and award winning fiction author Laraine Herring provides aspiring writers with a unique approach and distinctive guide to the craft of writing. The focus and message is how authors can tune into their bodies and connect with their emotions so that what they write becomes an expression of their whole being -- and not just an intellectual exercise. In "Writing Begins With The Breath" Laraine Herring has clearly practices what she's preached. The result is a text that is not only informed and informative, but inspired and inspiring. If you seek to write the next Great American Novel, then begin by reading what Laraine Herring has to say in "Writing Begins With The Breath"!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2009
Laraine Herring was my student at Antioch University, and now I'm recommending this book to my current students- it's a wonderful guide for all writers. Take your time, read each section with care, and enjoy the journey Laraine takes you on via the breath, the body...and then dream, WRITE.
Alma Luz Villanueva
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2008
Laraine Herring's book is about the "being" aspect of writing, not just the brain-centered "doing." The practice she describes is "deep writing," and Herring encourages readers to stop long enough to discover what that is. You may already know about craft, grammar, and storytelling. If you don't know about the "how-to", I say start with this book to get in touch with the process (opposed to the product). Herring is a gentle and wise guide through the process of opening your mind and heart to the world and your work with wonder and awe.

"Deep writing comes from our bodies, from our breath, and from our ability to remain solid in the places that scare us," Herring says. The term also refers to the connection or pathway we cultivate between our heads and our bodies. Herring offers breath and body exercises throughout the book to help readers find the space between the inhalation and exhalation where deep writing lives. That place, she says, is "between the doing and the dreaming, our place of power, of mystery, and of authenticity."

Part I is about "Focusing the Mind" and begins with a chapter on "risk." From my own experience, I know there needs to be some urgency in a piece of work to keep me going. There must be something I need to uncover. Herring describes writing as "passion and discovery." How true! She ends each chapter with "touchstones," which are lively prompts for your own deep writing practice.

From the one-word chapter titles of Part One such as risk, authenticity, humility, curiosity, empathy, acceptance, and relationship, Herring moves on to Part Two and "The Deep Writing Process." The section begins with "Self-Awareness." This is a pre-writing stage of asking yourself why you write or don't write. In her chapter called "Process vs. Product", Herring says writing is not a task to be accomplished; rather, it is a relationship to be nurtured and cultivated throughout our lives. I think that is the most important aspect of this book--that writing and all forms of creativity really become a continual process of uncovering with the constant practice of showing up.

Herring is a writer of fiction and non-fiction and has experienced what she writes about. Along the way, she shares anecdotes from that experience, some of which is from the classroom as she has been both student and teacher. I especially enjoyed her touchstones at the end of the chapter called "Shadow-Boxing." Most of them are about your creative work and what themes emerge in it. Herring makes many references to novel writing. When she gets to Part Three, she helps readers get in touch with that state of having finished writing a novel. This is a place of being in between projects and involves a process of letting go.

Writing is a sedentary practice, or has been until now. The many "body breaks" Herring offers for calming, imagining, and letting go are constant reminders to come back to the breath and an awareness of the body where so many of our stories live.


Laraine Herring teaches creative writing in Prescott, Arizona. She holds an MFA in creative writing and an MA in counselling psychology. Herring has developed numerous workshops that use writing as a tool for healing grief and loss. She is the author of Lost Fathers: How Women Heal from Adolescent Father Loss, and Monsoons, a book of short stories. Her fiction has won the Barbara Deming Award for Women, and her non-fiction work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can learn more about her on her website.

by Mary Ann Moore
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2009
This book really does offer something quite different in its conception and approach to writing than the thousands of other books on "writing" (many of which are simply 'clones' of each other). It is genuinely thoughtful and draws deeply, though not specifically and certainly not in any New Age-y way, from traditions in Buddhism and meditation. I think it really offers a unique and thoughtful approach to coping with the perennial writers' problems of writer's block. character development etc. It offers no quick fixes as so many other books do but instead emphasizes finding and developing depth in one's own life, and to use that as the well from which to sustain creativity.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2015
Took my breath away. Nothing phoned in here. Herring writes, "Witness your stories. Don't direct them. After they've found their own direction and voice, you can tighten them up, massage the plot, develop more tension. But don't do that before you have the material to do it with. Attempting to control your writing is a surefire recipe for suffering."

Reading this was the beginning of my letting go with my writing, learning how to truly be in relationship with it vs. aggress it. It has immensely improved my productivity.

Gina Greenlee, author of Hush Life, a fiction debut.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2011
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 that I'm not the first to go through this, that I'm not the last, and most importantly, that if I so choose, I will be able to find my way to the other side. Inhale. Exhale. And so the breath returns.

To read the full review visit The Uncustomary Book Review.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2013
The greatest tool for creative writing is self-reflection, and this book aids the writer in re-connecting with their higher power so to speak. Great relaxation techniques and good writing exercises at the end of each chapter to help the writer work through blocks and hang-ups. Wonderful book!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2008
Writing Begins with the Breath is a joy to read, and the meditation exercises are wonderful and revealing. Writers don't always write because they want to, but because they must. The author captures what many writers experience within themselves, even if they never intend to publish a single poem, short story or book.1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Sixth Edition (1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers)Hypnotic Writing: How to Seduce and Persuade Customers with Only Your Words
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Customers who viewed this also viewed

The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice
The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice by Laraine Herring (Paperback - July 20, 2010)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.