"We are what we repeatedly do," Aristotle once noted. "Excellence is not an act, but a habit." Gail Sher, the author of eight books of poetry, has taught graduate classes in writing, psychology, and Zen for many years. A long-standing Buddhist, she is one of 93 lay disciples of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, founder of the first Soto Zen monastery in America.
Gail Sher believes that it is essential for writers to establish a daily regimen. In one of her four noble truths, she states: "If writing is your practice, the only way to fail is not to write." Sher salutes the slow but steady improvements that emanate from single-minded effort. She offers helpful advice on reading, overcoming distractions, moving beyond "residues" (inessentials), achieving ping ("the immediate recognition of a truth suddenly grasped and aptly conveyed"), taking care of your environment, sinking into the interior of things, and listening as a form of embrace.
One Continuous Mistake is highly recommended to writers, especially those who have found spiritual sustenance in the works of Natalie Goldberg. Gail Sher's approach is equally practical, imaginative, and inspiring.