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On Being Stuck: Tapping Into the Creative Power of Writer's Block

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What if writer's block became your most precious teacher? An empowering new process for writers who struggle with the seemingly insurmountable middle of a project, from the author of Writing Begins with the Breath. Writer's block is not a mysterious force that has aligned with your writing to stop you in your tracks. Writer's block occurs when hope meets fear—when our expe What if writer's block became your most precious teacher? An empowering new process for writers who struggle with the seemingly insurmountable middle of a project, from the author of Writing Begins with the Breath. Writer's block is not a mysterious force that has aligned with your writing to stop you in your tracks. Writer's block occurs when hope meets fear—when our expectations for a project or ourselves as writers run head first into the fear(s) that are uniquely tied to that hope. Writer's block is not external. It is not part of a vast conspiracy. It is a signal from deep within to pay attention to the writing and to pay attention to what the writing is asking of us as writers. Using deep inquiry, writing, body and breath exercises, and a range of interdisciplinary approaches, On Being Stuck helps writers uncover the gifts hidden within their creative blocks and deepen their relationship not only to their work but to themselves.


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What if writer's block became your most precious teacher? An empowering new process for writers who struggle with the seemingly insurmountable middle of a project, from the author of Writing Begins with the Breath. Writer's block is not a mysterious force that has aligned with your writing to stop you in your tracks. Writer's block occurs when hope meets fear—when our expe What if writer's block became your most precious teacher? An empowering new process for writers who struggle with the seemingly insurmountable middle of a project, from the author of Writing Begins with the Breath. Writer's block is not a mysterious force that has aligned with your writing to stop you in your tracks. Writer's block occurs when hope meets fear—when our expectations for a project or ourselves as writers run head first into the fear(s) that are uniquely tied to that hope. Writer's block is not external. It is not part of a vast conspiracy. It is a signal from deep within to pay attention to the writing and to pay attention to what the writing is asking of us as writers. Using deep inquiry, writing, body and breath exercises, and a range of interdisciplinary approaches, On Being Stuck helps writers uncover the gifts hidden within their creative blocks and deepen their relationship not only to their work but to themselves.

30 review for On Being Stuck: Tapping Into the Creative Power of Writer's Block

  1. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Reese

    3.5 stars Less than 160 pages long with a lot of encouraging gems, especially for someone early in their relationship with their writing process. More than craft techniques this book provides tools like guided meditations, breathing exercises and "Deep Inquiry Practices." It was a good companion to guide me through a writing slump. 3.5 stars Less than 160 pages long with a lot of encouraging gems, especially for someone early in their relationship with their writing process. More than craft techniques this book provides tools like guided meditations, breathing exercises and "Deep Inquiry Practices." It was a good companion to guide me through a writing slump.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is more finding motivation to write via New age techniques than craft. It has helped make me see my writing as a separate but connected soul source to me. In this I might be able to get back into the whole practice daily writing habit I ha before my brother passe away. I know grieving for him was part of my block, but 4 yrs later there must be another reason an through this book an others I intend to find it. This was helpful, but not a great help in crafting.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Story Circle Book Reviews

    Laraine Herring invites writers to create their own "Foundation Tool Kit" of "practices, prompts, movement activities, and playlists" to help move forward and deeper into their work. Besides making pencil notations throughout the book, I have typed up my "tool kit". It's full of questions for "Deep Inquiry," writing prompts, body and breath exercises, and a range of innovative approaches that I can use in my relationship with writing. Writer's block can force a writer to slow down and as Herring Laraine Herring invites writers to create their own "Foundation Tool Kit" of "practices, prompts, movement activities, and playlists" to help move forward and deeper into their work. Besides making pencil notations throughout the book, I have typed up my "tool kit". It's full of questions for "Deep Inquiry," writing prompts, body and breath exercises, and a range of innovative approaches that I can use in my relationship with writing. Writer's block can force a writer to slow down and as Herring says, that can be helpful so you won't publish too quickly or press "Send" too fast. That's a positive way of approaching what we may see as a "block" and Herring has lots of non-judgmental and wise advice like that throughout the thirty-four chapters of her book. Writing is a relationship as is the block, so Herring suggests pouring it some tea. Have a conversation. You may find you can hold hands across the table instead. You may find the block itself is the very heart of your work." Herring offers wisdom from her own experience as a writer such as: "This is a lifelong journey; the only destination is the next word." Also, rather than tracking our outcome, how about pursuing our curiosity? "Soulful meandering" sounds like a good idea to me particularly, as Herring points out, research has shown the value of unstructured activity and time for adults as well as children. "Questions stretch your work alive," Herring says and there are lots of questions as Deep Inquiry Practices in the book. I think she's right about questions being "open doors" as they "move you away from the stagnation of certainty into the openness of wonder." There can be such enthusiasm for a new idea and the beginning of a new project. I've found, it's the middle that's a challenge when all the judgments about whether the project is really worth it get in the way of continuing. In "Embrace the Middle," Herring sees the middle of a book as "the connective tissue between the innocence of the beginning and the wisdom of the end. It holds everything together. Without the middle, the ends collapse. It provides a thematic container for the entire book. In the middle, the questions that were raised in the beginning come to full fruition. We start to understand the real stakes of the story... As writers, we must pause for this uncertainty, so we will take the risk and make the changes needed to move forward." Writing is a slow process and Herring encourages paying attention during it. She affirms that writing helps you whether you publish or not. For many, writing will be a companion for life so "create a sustainable relationship with your writing that's based on mutual respect, trust, and commitment," Herring advises. It's good to remember that even when you're not writing, you're still a writer as it's "a way of navigating the world" and a way of always noticing, feeling and imagining "all that is around you." There's so much that is of value in this book and I'm very grateful for it. The practices are helpful for sustaining a writing practice and the writing life whether you describe yourself as "stuck" or not. There are many quotes I've written down as affirmations and I'll close with one of them from one of the final chapters, "Devote Yourself to Your Writing": "If you choose writing as one of your acts of devotion, prepare to be a student of its wisdom as long as you show up for its gifts. Writing will pull you forward into places you can't yet see. It will bring with it the challenges you need to become more fully alive and awake. It will bring with it the obstacles you need to grow." by Mary Ann Moore for Story Circle Book Reviews reviewing books by, for, and about women

  4. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Laraine Herring's "On Being Stuck: Tapping into the Creative Power of Writer's Block" espouses a new age approach to writing and breaking through a block through meditations, breathing exercises, harnassing your body's energy, and writing exercises. Herring employs short chapters so the book can be easily read in bite-size chunks, but much of the content seemed repetitive. Herring says the same thing two or three times in a chapter instead of expanding on the topic. This is one of those craft bo Laraine Herring's "On Being Stuck: Tapping into the Creative Power of Writer's Block" espouses a new age approach to writing and breaking through a block through meditations, breathing exercises, harnassing your body's energy, and writing exercises. Herring employs short chapters so the book can be easily read in bite-size chunks, but much of the content seemed repetitive. Herring says the same thing two or three times in a chapter instead of expanding on the topic. This is one of those craft books with nuggets of useful ideas, but you have to read through some things that make you go "Hmmm..." first. I have no desire to draw pictures of my block and personify it, nor do I want to do Pinterest boards for my writing. However, some of the writing prompts were incredibly helpful to me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    J.J. Lair

    At first I had to wonder what is this? She wants me to talk to my writing and there are relaxation tips. Relaxation tips? The thing is, there is a lot of good ideas in here. There are journal ideas and questions about writing. When I ask what my story needs to flourish, I see how the themes come into play. Rather than focus on characters, I focus on the whole, the smaller parts come into view. I highlighted ideas from the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    George K. Ilsley

    Shambhala knows what they are doing so this book is a mystery. First of all the font is too small. Second, it is a workbook rather than something meant to be read straight through. Entire paragraphs are repeated only a page or two apart -- how to sit, how to prepare for exercises. The result i found to be unwelcoming and so I chose to write rather than read this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    4.5 stars This was a nice relaxing meditative therapeutic writing book that I actually think is pretty great with helping change your mentality when it comes to processing and handling writer's block. I definitely recommend this to any other writer or creative person who happens to find themselves stuck in their creative pursuits. 4.5 stars This was a nice relaxing meditative therapeutic writing book that I actually think is pretty great with helping change your mentality when it comes to processing and handling writer's block. I definitely recommend this to any other writer or creative person who happens to find themselves stuck in their creative pursuits.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    This one was an interesting read. A lot of the focus is on meditation practices that can be used to find your writing path. I will definitely be using some of these practices with my students next year in creative writing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    A bit heavy on the meditation/visualization exercises for me, but if you're the sort who gets more out of those, this is a good one. A bit heavy on the meditation/visualization exercises for me, but if you're the sort who gets more out of those, this is a good one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Haley Keller

    To be honest, this book wasn't for me. While I like to read books on writing, this one was focused around how to motivate yourself to write. You don't get any practical advice beyond motivating words and journal/meditation topics about writer's block. The author is a proponent of mindfulness and meditation. Each chapter is very short (a few pages at most) and each ends with a task meant to motivate you to write. These tasks are prompts that you can write about in your journal (that the book encou To be honest, this book wasn't for me. While I like to read books on writing, this one was focused around how to motivate yourself to write. You don't get any practical advice beyond motivating words and journal/meditation topics about writer's block. The author is a proponent of mindfulness and meditation. Each chapter is very short (a few pages at most) and each ends with a task meant to motivate you to write. These tasks are prompts that you can write about in your journal (that the book encourages you to keep) or meditations that you can do. While I think journaling and meditating can both be helpful, I didn't get anything out of the activities in the book. There are more than thirty chapters, and many of them felt repetitive. They were essentially the same thing said with different words, so the book felt even less worth it as I continued to read. I would say this book is worth checking out if you want to start keeping a journal and/or meditating on writing (and need help getting over a mental barrier to write) and you need prompts. Other than that, you're not going to get much from this book. I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for a review. This did not affect my opinion. http://hmweasley-blog.blogspot.com/20...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca M

    An unassuming little book that offered up much more than expected. This is a process book, NOT a craft book. Includes thoughtful, practical essays and practices to help you get to the root of whatever kind of block you’re dealing with. Recommend to all writers looking for new ways to approach a sore issue.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rosa

    ON BEING STUCK focuses on personal development block´s and how they affect writer’s work. The author refers to writer’s block as a pause on work to pay attention to what’s going on inside us. ON BEING STUCK uses imagery thanks to “personification, character creation, and active imagination” to embrace, for example, shadow work – false beliefs. Moreover, this book includes practices like meditation, breathing, gratitude and inquiry; therefore, several activities to reach the subconscious mind to d ON BEING STUCK focuses on personal development block´s and how they affect writer’s work. The author refers to writer’s block as a pause on work to pay attention to what’s going on inside us. ON BEING STUCK uses imagery thanks to “personification, character creation, and active imagination” to embrace, for example, shadow work – false beliefs. Moreover, this book includes practices like meditation, breathing, gratitude and inquiry; therefore, several activities to reach the subconscious mind to deal with writer’s block, for instance, keeping a dialog with your writing or your fears about writing. I think this book works for people that have neglected their spiritual or personal development practices, and it shows through blocks in their writing, besides that, offers advice for beginners as consistency, commitment to writing, writing schedule, lack of technical knowledge and for advance writers as taking risks, research and perfectionism. This book is not everybody cup of tea so read the sample first before you buy it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Sherrin

    As a disclaimer, I shall state that I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. That being said, this book was an interesting perspective on using the author's spiritual self to get out of writers block. While it was an interesting new perspective in things, I don't think it's something that pertains to me and meditation does not work with me when it comes to any kind of art. There were other things, but the options were limited with me. I will probably give this book to a friend of mine who might As a disclaimer, I shall state that I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. That being said, this book was an interesting perspective on using the author's spiritual self to get out of writers block. While it was an interesting new perspective in things, I don't think it's something that pertains to me and meditation does not work with me when it comes to any kind of art. There were other things, but the options were limited with me. I will probably give this book to a friend of mine who might be able to find more use out of it than I was. I was happy to try something new, it just didn't work for me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    On Being Stuck approaches writer's block from a perspective I had never considered. Does the spiritual well-being of a writer influence their ability to write, and to write well? Laraine Herring makes a solid case with this book. Can meditation unleash creative powers? I don't know, but the next time I'm stuck it'll be worth a try to find out. I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. On Being Stuck approaches writer's block from a perspective I had never considered. Does the spiritual well-being of a writer influence their ability to write, and to write well? Laraine Herring makes a solid case with this book. Can meditation unleash creative powers? I don't know, but the next time I'm stuck it'll be worth a try to find out. I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    This is definitely one I will keep on the active bookshelf, to go back to and work more with the exercises and prompts. Very good, gentle, practical advice that resonates for me...but I haven't put any of it into practice yet. Next step! This is definitely one I will keep on the active bookshelf, to go back to and work more with the exercises and prompts. Very good, gentle, practical advice that resonates for me...but I haven't put any of it into practice yet. Next step!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trenchologist

    Another book that isn't quite my vibe. But I took notes and some inspiration of a few things to experiment and try, which is the reason for reading and contemplating books like this. Another book that isn't quite my vibe. But I took notes and some inspiration of a few things to experiment and try, which is the reason for reading and contemplating books like this.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Louden

    Wise, gentle, embodied I nodded my head with every word. If you want a more sane and whole way to get your work done, check this out!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Tey

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marian Godfrey

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lena

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nisa deniz ekmekci

  23. 5 out of 5

    AJ Hadigan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lachie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katharine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Allie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Mullins

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jacey

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richard

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