Your Guide


Laraine Herring

I am the author of On Being Stuck: Tapping into the Creative Power of Writer's Block; Writing Begins with the Breath and The Writing Warrior (all 3 with Shambhala Publications); Lost Fathers: How Women Can Heal from Adolescent Father Loss (Hazelden) and the novels Ghost Swamp Blues (White River), Gathering Lights: A Novel of San Francisco, and Into the Garden of Gethsemane, Georgia (both with Concentrium). I direct the creative writing program at Yavapai College, and I am the founder of Fierce Monkey Tribe. I have an MFA and an MA, and one of my passions is using story and writing to work with grief and loss. I also teach at the Kripalu Institute, the Omega Institute, and 1440 Multiversity.

Questions? Comments? Email me!

About this Course



A Virtual Retreat Connecting Writers with the Wisdom of Their Stories


With Laraine Herring

founder of Fierce Monkey Tribe


Saturday, February 28, 2015

9 am – 4 pm MST

(yes, it will be recorded if you can’t make it live)




What would you say to each other?

Where would you go?

Where could you go if you stepped back and let your story lead you?



“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” – Lao Tzu



Your story has something to tell you. Are you listening?


Hidden inside your story is a secret that only you can find. That secret heart is your story’s inner genius—and yes, your story has one—and no, you can’t predetermine what it is. You can’t think your way to it.


You write your way to it.


Your Story’s Inner Genius is its DNA—its inhale and exhale of movement and breath. This Genius is dancing beneath the words and paragraphs, waiting for you to say hello.


Your Story’s Inner Genius is its pulse. Its unique way of expressing its themes in the world. Its fingerprint, which, by no coincidence, is a merging of its soul and yours.


Your Story’s Inner Genius holds the thematic links of your work. It’s the connective tissue that makes your characters, scenes, and conflicts relevant to the story. It’s not just what your book is about, but it’s why this story chose you, out of all the other writers in the world. It picked you. Why?


Every story has its own way of making itself known to you. It’s in that whisper you can’t quite hear. That chord reverberating in the back of your throat. That spice of scent that reminds you of something that used to be so very close but now is beyond touch.


Through your kinetic energy of practice and commitment to the work, you unlock the potential energy of this Genius. Your magic wand is open and honest communication with your writing. You uncover this Genius slowly, with reverence. You allow it to approach you, like a feral cat stretching out her paw. You don’t try to trap it, trick it or tease it.


When your writing reaches out to you, what do you do?


It’s time to put down the to-do lists. Turn off the chatter. Wake up and transform your monkey mind into monkey magic!


This one-day virtual retreat provides useable tools and practices to help you approach and connect with the Genius of your work-in-progress. This program is for fiction writers, memoirists and any writer who is living with a story in his or her bones.


The day before the live retreat, you’ll receive a guidebook for the day to come along with an mp3 meditation to prepare you for the retreat.


Here’s what you’ll receive during Your Story’s Inner Genius:


-       One day of live soul-to-soul connection with your story made possible by:

-       Sacred at-home time to dive deeply into your work

-       Live Q&A and sharing with me and the rest of your group

-       An understanding of what brings you to your story and what blocks you from connecting with it

-       Tools to uncover the inner genius of your work and learn how it shapes your story

-       Activities to help you partner with the heart of your story so you can co-create together

-       A connection with the wisdom of your body as a friend to support your writing

-       A private forum through our course hosted on Ruzuku to provide support prior to and in the days following the retreat.


But this retreat is more than one magical day. Our program's container is 14 total days. Here's how:


In each of the SIX DAYS prior to the live retreat day, you’ll receive a Fierce Monkey Byte of inspiration, an action step, a writing prompt, and a short mp3 meditation or video link to help you prepare your body, soul and story for our time together.




In each of the SIX DAYS following the live retreat, you’ll receive a Fierce Monkey Byte of inspiration, an action step, a prompt to help you maintain momentum, and a concluding 30 minute mp3 meditation.


You’ll also receive at the end of the two weeks a downloadable, printable PDF Monkey-Manual of the retreat, including the slides from the live day.


Retreat. Replenish. Revitalize. Recommit.


“Laraine Herring's workshops are magical. She knows the way into a story isn't always through the front door, sometimes side or back doors are best. Her exercises incorporate not just the mind, but the body as well, where the mysteries reside. She creates a safe space for explorations, discoveries, and even breakthroughs.”

-       Michaela Carter, author of Further Out Than You Thought



Here’s how it works:


When you register for Your Story’s Inner Genius, you’ll be prompted to sign up through Ruzuku (our course hosting service). This is free; it does not add you to any mailing lists for Ruzuku, and it requires no special software to download. You need only a computer connected to the Internet. You’ll be added to the list of participants at that time.


On Sunday, February 22, you’ll receive your first notification from Ruzuku that there’s a new module for you. Simply click the link and you’ll land on the course page for Day 1. You’ll find any prompts, activities, video links or mp3 links there.


You’ll receive new content February 22 – February 27.


On Saturday, February 28, we’ll meet together live in our course event space. You’ll be e-mailed an access link and a reminder. This will be recorded for you if you cannot make the live event. You’ll also be able to download all slides and handouts. More information on how this works will be sent out to participants.


(Times are Mountain Standard Time, Arizona)

Time Zone Converter:


9 am – 10:30 am: Meet together in our virtual retreat space. I’ll share a short presentation with you to get you started. We’ll do some breathing and body-based exercises, establish intentions and do a grounding activity as a group.


10:30 – 2:00: Work on your own using the guidebook activities and processes.


2:00 – 4:00: Reconvene live for Q&A, sharing, and more activities and a final closing practice.


Sunday, March 1 – Friday, March 6:


You’ll receive daily content supporting your on-going practice and connection with your writing. On Friday, March 6, you’ll also receive a 30-minute closing mp3 meditation practice and a complete PDF of the exercises, activities, and slides from the live retreat.


Each of the daily modules in our course will have a space for you to leave comments and questions. Within the container of the retreat, February 22 through March 6, I will be monitoring those discussion boards and will respond to your posts.


You will have access to the materials, including the recordings, through Ruzuku until April 30, 2015, so you can catch up at your convenience if you get behind. You can download anything you’d like to keep.



Sounds amazing! I’m in!


$119 if you register by January 15


$130 after January 15


Registration closes on February 21.


Still not sure? Let me tell you a little more.


I’m a writer, teacher and conjurer. I am the author of seven books, including Writing Begins with the Breath and The Writing Warrior from Shambhala. My third book with Shambhala, The Middle Way Through the Middle: The Transformative Power of Writer’s Block, will be released in 2016.


I direct the creative writing program at Yavapai College and I teach nationally at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and the Omega Institute. I help writers ignite their stories and unlock the potential hidden in their work.


Listen to my Meeting the Inner Writer 30-minute meditation to give you a feel for how I teach and what this retreat will be like.


Underneath all the ideas and baggage and hopes you have for your story lives your actual story. Its Inner Genius.


We aren’t alone. Our art is with us. Our stories are with us.


Come, write with us!


The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!

-       Rumi


“The Retreat offered the perfect opportunity for me to breathe, step back from the chaos I had created for myself in my every day world, and to put my writing first. Laraine created a safe space for me to be myself, to breathe, to dance, to close my eyes, to write on paper or to write on my computer, and to afford myself the opportunity to be grounded in my identity as a writer and to see through journaling what that looks like for me.”

- Kristen Kauffman


I can’t wait!

Pssst! Neither can your writing!


Register by January 15, 2015: price $119

After January 15: price $130



Still not sure? I want Your Story’s Inner Genius to be positive, useful, and inspiring for everyone.


If you’ve got additional questions, please e-mail my support team at before you sign up.


Cancellation Policy


I know life happens. If you withdraw up to 21 days before the program starts, we will return your tuition minus a $40 administrative fee. If you withdraw 20 days or less, prior to the start of the program, your tuition is non-refundable.


“Through Laraine’s authentic nature and ability to listen, I learned that writing is as much an act of bravery and strength as it is about being gentle and flexible. I can't wait to be one of her students again!” 

– Naomi Kaplan