One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths For Writers

Paperback | April 1, 1999

byGail Sher

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Based on the Zen philosophy that we learn more from our failures than from our successes, One Continuous Mistake teaches a refreshing new method for writing as spiritual practice. In this unique guide for writers of all levels, Gail Sher?a poet who is also a widely respected teacher of creative writing?combines the inspirational value of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way with the spiritual focus of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Here she introduces a method of discipline that applies specific Zen practices to enhance and clarify creative work. She also discusses bodily postures that support writing, how to set up the appropriate writing regimen, and how to discover one's own "learning personality."

In the tradition of such classics as Writing Down the Bones and If You Want to Write, One Continuous Mistake will help beginning writers gain access to their creative capabilities while serving as a perennial reference that working writers can turn to again and again for inspiration and direction.

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From Our Editors

In the wonderful, nurturing tradition of self-help books for artists, poet Gail Sher’s book will appeal to anyone looking to harness their writing talent and make the experience joyful and rewarding. One Continuous Mistake combines Zen with the joy of creating, taking the position that the mistakes writers constantly make are more inst...

From the Publisher

Based on the Zen philosophy that we learn more from our failures than from our successes, One Continuous Mistake teaches a refreshing new method for writing as spiritual practice. In this unique guide for writers of all levels, Gail Sher?a poet who is also a widely respected teacher of creative writing?combines the inspirational value ...

Gail Sher is the author of eight books of poetry and one book on breadmaking, in addition to her books on writing. Awarded Teacher of the Year by the combined educational faculties of the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and San Francisco State University, she has taught graduate classes in writing, psycholog...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 7.7 × 4.7 × 0.6 inPublished:April 1, 1999Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140195874

ISBN - 13:9780140195873

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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Customer Reviews of One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths For Writers

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sticks out on the Shelf As a writer who has many books on writing, this one stands out. Stronger in the beginning then towards the end of the book. Sher offers great advice and exercises for any level of writer. A quick but dense read and a must for writers who love books on writing.
Date published: 2000-10-03

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I: A Writing "Habit"
Exercise: Writing Zazen
1. Four Noble Truths for Writers
2. Pointing Directly at Your Own Heart, You'll Find Buddha
3. Single-Minded Effort
4. Grandmother's Fingerpointing
5. A Writing "Habit"
6. Waves of the Sea Belong to the Sea
7. Writing Posture
8. The Kiss of the Asp
9. The Writer's Middle Way
10. Distractions
Part II: Like Jesus, It's From God. And From You.
Exercise: Writing Kinhin
11. Stay-at-Home Days
12. Fleeting Thoughts
13. Books Read Us
14. Reading Supports Writing—But Watch Out!
15. Bleached-Bone Simplicity
16. Ode to a Drawer
17. The Rubbery Time of Revision
18. One Continuous Mistake
19. Like Jesus, It's From God. And From You.
20. Ping!
21. Five Pillars of Writing
Part III. The Lesson of Little Red Riding Hood
Exercise: Sneaking Up On Your Mind
22. Tigers in the Lowland
23. Invisible Practice
24. The Gentle Cycle
25. Writer's Block: The Magic Mountain
26. Writer's Anorexia: The Abuse of Creative Power
27. The Lesson of Little Red Riding Hood
28. Writing Parents
Part IV. Beauty Plus Pity
Exercise: Watching the Mind
29. If I Think About Myself, Does That Mean I'm Selfish?
30. Writer-Jock
31. Writing and "Right" Livelihood
32. Who Is Writing Better Vedas?
33. Ripples on the Surface of the Water
34. Art Is Theft, Art Is Armed Robbery, Art Is Not Pleasing Your Mother
35. Beauty Plus Pity
36. A Button and a Few Bones
37. Life Is Not Killed
Part V. A Word Is a Charged Situation
Exercise: Mot Juste
38. Huckleberry "K"
39. Tibetan English
40. The Told Story
41. Art for Life's Sake
42. The Look of a Voice
43. Grasp the Thing, Words Will Follow
44. Wild by Law
Part VI. "No, No—Poetry Is Serious! Zen Is Not Serious."
Exercise: Silence Is Not Silence Is Not Silence
45. The Gospel According to This Moment
46. "Ashes Do Not Come Back to Firewood"
47. Lady Murasaki's Insight
48. Heron and I
49. Lean Words & Quietly
50. The Frida Kahlo Principle
51. An Angel in the House
52. Not Knowing
53. One World at a Time
Appendices
A. Guidelines for Beginning Writers of Haiku
B. Your Reading Personality
C. Your Learning Personality
Notes
Bibliography

From Our Editors

In the wonderful, nurturing tradition of self-help books for artists, poet Gail Sher’s book will appeal to anyone looking to harness their writing talent and make the experience joyful and rewarding. One Continuous Mistake combines Zen with the joy of creating, taking the position that the mistakes writers constantly make are more instructive than their successes. Including ideas on everything from proper posture and beneficial environments to optimum times of day for writing and meditations for writers, this book is an inspiration to everyone from journal-keepers to professional writers.