Much like any spiritual calling, the impulse to write demands courage, devotion, and a deep sense of purpose. In this inspiring guide, writer, and writing coach Jill Jepson explores the connections between the creative life and the spiritual life through diverse sacred practices. Drawing on the traditions of Buddhist monks, Navajo storytellers, Amazonian shamans, and more, she offers more than eighty-five writing meditations, prompts, rituals, and exercises to help you overcome blocks, access your inner resources, and discover your authentic voice. Her enlightening instruction and nurturing guidance will incite you to write with joy, honesty, and true vision. – FROM THE BOOK BACK
AUTHOR GUEST POST…A man—say he’s a carpenter, although he could be a lawyer or teacher or basketball coach— has finished a hard day at work, eaten dinner, paid some bills, and taken out the garbage. Now, instead of hitting the sack, he stays up for two hours, hunched over his desk, writing. A woman—we’ll make her a single mom who owns a catering business—drags herself out of bed when it’s still dark to work on her poetry before the kids get up. A college grad turns down a job with an accounting firm, moves into a ratty apartment, and lives on canned beans so she can spend her time writing a novel. What is wrong with these people? Are they crazy? Addicted? Masochistic? No. They are writers.
If you write, you understand. You know that writing is more than a hobby or profession. It is a spiritual calling, an irresistible impulse, a command from the Universe. When you hear that call, even faintly, you must answer.
Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing With Passion and Purpose is for all people who know that impulse, whether they are professionals or beginners. It explores writing as a spiritual practice and an act of deep significance. It looks at writers as more than artists, but as shamans, warriors, mystics, and monks.
How is a writer like a monk? We don’t usually live in desert hermitages. Few of us are celibate, and fewer still humble. But we do share with monks our dedication, our need for solitude, and our willingness to work for little pay. And for many of us, writing is a kind of meditation, or a form of prayer.
Mystics experience unique states of awareness where the boundaries of the self seem to disappear. Any writer who has felt a flow of energy that seems to be coming from outside himself, who has looked up from his writing to discover in amazement that hours have passed, or who has the sense that his work is writing itself and he is just a vehicle, knows what writers and mystics share.
In many cultures, shamans are believed to travel out of the ordinary world to the spirit realm, where they encounter demons and ghosts, and face horrific challenges. The writer’s shamanic journey takes her to the world of her darkest memories, fears, and fantasies, to the hidden and frightening side of life. But, like the shaman, the writer returns to the day-to-day world strong and whole—and with the power to heal our world.
And if you can’t imagine the writer as a warrior, think of this. To be writers, we have to have the discipline of the soldier. We must be able to fight for truth. We need the focus of the warrior on the battlefield. And to write with honesty and honor and depth, we need a warrior’s courage.
Shaman, warrior, mystic, and monk. If you are writer, you are all of those things in one. Developing those aspects of your writing life can open your creativity and take your writing far beyond what you’ve ever imagined. With over eighty exercises—what I call “sacred tools”—Writing as a Sacred Path can show you how.
Jill Jepson is a traveler, professor, and transformational life coach, and the author of three books and over 60 articles. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Universityof Chicago as well as degrees in writing, psychology, social science, and Asian studies. Using her extensive travels to places as diverse as Guatemala, Syria, Siberia, and Afghanistan, her writing explores spiritual traditions, history, culture, personal growth, and the writing process. Through her business, Writing the Whirlwind, she offers coaching and online workshops for writers, activists, and others. You can visit her website at www.writingthewhirlwind.net.