Writing as a Sacred Path by Jill Jepson is a practical guide to discovering the deeper purpose behind your writing. She describes writing as a vocation or calling; not just a job you do, but something you feel compelled to do regardless of the outcome. Writing becomes a central part of your life and you can’t imagine living without it.
“When you see your writing as more than a hobby, profession, or craft – as a profound expression of your self – you have no choice but to write with utter conviction and authenticity. The deepest sources of creativity within you will open.”
The book explores the connections between creativity and spiritual practices and how these connect you to a wider reality. Writing can be a way to show appreciation for others and the world, as well as being a form of meditation or contemplation and self-exploration. To write well, you must keep an open mind and heart and be willing to engage with the experience of being alive. But this isn’t easy:
“Responding to the call to write, as with following any true vocation, requires a kind of surrender – a yielding that can be painful and frightening. It takes courage to forge ahead even when you have no idea where you’re going. It takes a willingness to accept the possibility of failure. It means relinquishing a certain amount of control over your life for the sake of something larger. … But the profound satisfaction you will draw from writing is worth every minute of doubt and fear.”
The book includes ideas, suggestions and exercises that support and encourage your desire to go deeper into your writing practice. It draws on various spiritual traditions as inspiration, divided into four paths or gateways:
- The Mystic Journey
- The Monastic Path
- The Way of the Shaman
- The Warrior Road
The mystic path explores ways of transcending the ego and developing higher states of awareness that allow you to take a unique perspective on daily life. The mystic knows how to go beyond themselves into a wider reality and that can trigger imaginative insights and creative inspiration for your work. Meanwhile, the monastic path explores the importance of silence and contemplation, as well as the importance of community and responsibility to others.
The shamanic path explores the journey into the spirit world to gain knowledge and healing as a way to work with your subconscious, dreams, memories, and imagination. It also provides a way to reconnect with and learn from animal teachers and the natural world. While the warrior path explores the importance of courage, strength and discipline, as well as the responsibilities of being a writer.
“One mark of a warrior is the knowledge that what she does can make a profound difference in the world. Because of that power, warriors are trained never to act recklessly or in malice. The writer, too, must live with that awareness. Like the warrior, you possess the power to alter the course of people’s lives – for anything you write, no matter how trivial it seems, might change some reader’s beliefs or impel her to act. That power makes you honour bound to write with the utmost integrity. If you are a writer, you are engaged in a battle for truth, justice, and peace, whether you want to be or not.”
Writing as a Sacred Path inspires you to go deeper and to take your writing more seriously and have fun in the process. It provides a new way to think about your writing and to remember that the opportunity to write and share your work is a great gift – one not to be taken for granted. The exercises, meditations and prompts are inspiring and fun to do, and will help to unlock your creativity and find your unique voice.
On my ‘Free Your Pen’ blog I’ve shared some of the exercises from the book, one from each path – starting with the mystic path…