Writing to Wake the Soul, by Karen Hering

Did you check your smartphone when you woke up this morning? How about your e-mail? If you did, author Karen Hering says, you may have tuned out and turned away from your inner voice and the conversations you might have had with it. Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, Hering believes that writing is a way to tune into that inner voice and discover the relationship you have with whom or what you believe in.

A Unitarian-Universalist minister who leads theologically themed writing workshops as part of her literary ministry, Faithful Words, Hering mixes a pastiche of quotes and guidance from Buddhists and Quakers, Sufis and Catholics to invite readers into a deeper relationship with writing. As the book unfolds, readers encounter wisdom from C. S. Lewis, Diane Ackerman, Sallie McFague, Terry Tempest Williams, Annie Dillard, Islamic proverbs, and Jewish folklore. This diversity presents a welcoming face to readers from a multiplicity of religious backgrounds as well as those with no religious affiliation.

All you need to engage in the spiritual practice of writing, Hering says with disarming simplicity, is something to write with, something to write on, something to write about, and the intention to write. Ah, if only it were this easy! Hering smooths the way with tips for getting started, many of which will be familiar to those who regularly dip into books on writing. She recommends making a regular time and space for writing, opening up your senses, and engaging memory and imagination.