Blog Tour - Jill Jepson's Writing as a Sacred Path

Thursday, August 06, 2009

This Book Excerpt is part of the book's virtual tour, courtesy Pump Up Your Book Promotion


If you are reading this book, you have already heard the call. Maybe, at this point, it’s just a whisper, a small voice quietly urging you to put your ideas down in words. It occurs to you that you might try writing some day. You think, “I should write the story of my grandmother’s life” or “If only I could create a poem about the way my kitchen smells in the morning.”

Or perhaps the voice is more insistent. Characters appear full-blown in your consciousness, complete with faces and bodies, histories and dreams. It isn’t so much that you’ve thought the characters up as that they have arrived uninvited. You wake up to find them sitting at the foot of your bed saying, “Well? Have you given us substance yet?” You long to put it all down on paper. You have to tell their stories.

Here is a shocking truth: few people write because it is fun. It can be fun, even exhilarating and delightful, but that’s not why writers write. True writers keep at it even when the experience falls squarely between aggravating and ghastly. They labor at work that sometimes depresses and exhausts them, for little pay (or none at all), even in the face of failure. This impulse may sound like masochism or addiction, and perhaps it is, but it is also something greater and more compelling: it’s a vocation, a calling.

In the spiritual sense, a vocation is not merely a job one sets out to do, but an irresistible impulse, an urge strong enough to lead a man or woman to renounce a successful career for a life of service, to give up children and family for the rigors of the monastery—or to risk everything in order to write. Like religious men and women, writers often feel they’ve been chosen or destined for their work. Novelist Starling Lawrence describes his desire to write as a “commanding impulse.” Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes’s prolific creator, saw his writing as something “marked out” for him by Providence . “I write because I can’t not write any more than I could not breathe,” says novelist Elaine Marie Alphin. Writing isn’t something you choose to do, in the way you might decide to become a teacher or firefighter. More often, writing chooses you.

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison has said that in order to weed out the overwhelming number of commitments she faced, she had to ask herself which were the things she absolutely had to do—the things without which, she would die. She had two: her family and her writing. Many writers share the feeling that writing is what keeps them alive. Sometimes, they mean this quite literally. Poet Frank O’Hara said that the one thing that kept him from suicide was the thought that, if he died, he would never write another poem. And Pamela Wagner, a poet who suffers from schizophrenia, says that it is writing that has kept her alive—in every sense of the word. Even if writing isn’t the one thing that stands between you and madness or suicide, it is what makes a writer feel alive. If you are called to the path, not following it is a kind of living death. Writing is an natural and as necessary as breathing.

You can purchase Jill Jepson’s personal growth/writing book at Amazon.

About the Author:
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 University of 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

About the Book:
Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing With Passion & Purpose is a one-of-a-kind writing book that plumbs the practices of four great spiritual vocations—that of the shaman, warrior, mystic and monk—to provide a new, inspired approach for writers. This invaluable offering is for those who yearn to write with purpose and direction, to develop a deep connection to their writing, and to make writing their spiritual path. It is a both a practical guide to cultivating the spirituality inherent in the writing life and a profound exploration of writing as a sacred act. It is a richly-textured but accessible book that shows readers how to use myth, meditation, ritual, and other sacred tools to deepen and expand their writing practice. Writing as a Sacred Path offers readers a way to approach writing itself as a life-changing spiritual practice.

Weaving a tapestry of anecdotes, quotes, and personal experiences, Writing as a Sacred Path offers techniques for breaking through blocks, encouragement in times when the writing life becomes difficult, inspiration for the daily work of writing, and no-nonsense ways to write bravely, honestly, and with real vision. It also gives us deep insight into and hands-on guidance through the spiritual nature of the writing life.

Writing as a Sacred Path springs from the author’s years as a writer and teacher and is based on her highly effective workshops on the spirituality of writing. As an anthropologist, linguist, and novelist, Jepson has explored spirituality throughout the world, learning from mountain peoples in Afghanistan, rice farmers in India, fishermen of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, urbanites in modern Tokyo and Beijing, and laborers in Siberia. Writing as a Sacred Path draws on the experiences of the many writers with whom she has worked, as well as on meticulous research into the biographies, interviews, published letters, and writings of authors from Sappho to Stephen King, from beginning students to great masters. Both a working writer and a scholar of world religions, Jepson calls on the words of theologians, lay practitioners, and sacred texts from an array of traditions—Buddhist, Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Native American, Taoist, Pagan, and others.

Writing as a Sacred Path looks to karate black-belts, the legend of King Arthur, and Star Trek’s Klingons to show how the writer is like a warrior—and why she must be. It guides the writer through the life-changing experience of the mystic as a means of understanding the personal ups and downs so many dedicated writers face. It details what writers can learn from the simplicity and devotion of the monastic life—or from the healing journey of the shaman. It delves into the ways writers throughout the ages have tapped into the Mystery or looked to the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions to offer the modern writer nourishment and support.

In its pages, you will find:

• A wealth of exercises designed to help you navigate your writing life.
• Guided meditations to develop keen focus, access sources of strength, and delve deeply into memory.
• Suggestions for using dreams, rituals, music, and mandalas in your writing.
• Stories of famous writers and their struggles to over come writing blocks.
• Strategies to help you find your unique voice, and tap into creative energy.
• A simple process for shedding negative thoughts, fears, and anxieties that hinder the creative process.
• Descriptions from contemporary working writers of how to blend writing and spiritual practice.
• Ideas for using the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions in your writing practice.

Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing With Passion & Purpose unveils the mysteries surrounding practices that shamans, warriors, mystics and monks have honed over the ages. Jepson offers a clear, compelling guide for every writer and aspiring writer who seeks to better navigate the ups and downs of their writing lives, to unlock the transformative creative powers within.

If you like this post, then please consider subscribing to my Full Feed RSS.
You can also Subscribe by Email and have new posts sent directly to your inbox.

You Might Also Like

0 People said

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to like, subscribe and comment...