from the trenches

Like Yoga, Like Writing

Today the Wordwraiths are happy to welcome Daphne James Huff as this month’s guest on our blog! Daphne is an indie author, podcaster, and mom, and makes some very clever comparisons between learning how to do yoga properly and learning how to write properly… read on to find out more! Enjoy!


I don’t like the new yoga teacher at my gym.

It’s not that it wasn’t a good workout. It was. There were moments I was breathing hard and my muscles were shaking. I was sore the next day.

It’s just…she doesn’t look and act the way a yoga teacher should. And she had boring instrumental, wind chime and gong music.

There was another teacher, before her, who was great. She had the leggings, the right top, the cool mat, the hair, the voice. She was younger, put on cool hipster music, and used the sanscrit names for the poses. She was clearly the better teacher.

Or was she just a better teacher for me?

We spend so much time as writers seeking out advice, as we should. We don’t write in a vacuum, and the feedback, encouragement, and experiences of others is essential in our writing journey. But where should we go looking for it? Who do we trust to make us better, when we have what often feels like limitless options?

Do we go for those who look the best? Who have the most experience? The most positive reviews on their website from other authors?

In the end, what it comes down to is feeling.

Podcasts, I have found, are a great way to get a feel for someone, before I buy their books or courses. This can apply to both the host(s) and the guests.

There are some that I listen to, and the tone of voice or snarky attitude just turns me off completely. Even if these were the best, most renowned writing experts, I would not want to learn from them.

Others hook me within the first thirty seconds. They sound like someone I would get along with. They don’t sound too cool to hang out with me. They sound like they would listen to me and my problems, really listen. They could be saying the exact same thing as the others, but I trust them more. I won’t believe it until they say it. Sometimes, I even hear their voices saying encouraging words in my head.

These feelings are so incredibly personal, almost instinctual, and therefore wildly open to prejudice and judgment. Which is why I will give those that I initially shy away from a good, solid try. Then, I ask myself why I don’t like them. If the reasons are shallow (like my new yoga teacher just doesn’t “look” like one) I carry on, reminding myself that seeking out the uncomfortable can lead us to new ideas and better things.

But sometimes, you really just need your favorite teacher. And don’t feel guilty about liking her best. Nobody can be everyone’s favorite, yet everyone is someone’s favorite.

There are countless resources for writers out there if you look for them. It can be overwhelming, much like picking between the seventy-million varieties of yoga studios in any given large (or even small) town. You feel like you have to keep trying new ones, just to be sure you’re getting the best one.

So go ahead, try a few. But probably no more than 5 at any give time. It will just wear you out otherwise. This goes for writing advice as well as yoga studios (and sometimes trying out writing advice can be more exhausting than the yoga)!

Then, once you’ve found one that feels right, stop. Listen, learn, and, if there is nothing else they can teach you, then you move on to the next one.

(Unless the next one has boring wind chime music. Then it’s totally okay to go back to your favorite for a while longer.)

DaphnePicWhen she’s not writing, working at her non-writing job in the non-profit sector, reading, baking cookies, or hanging out with her husband, son, and cat, Daphne James Huff does a bit of yoga. But only if she likes the teacher.

Her blog at details the life of a new indie author (including failures and all the juicy money details).
She interviews other indie author moms with different definitions of success on the podcast Writer Mom Life.
She’s also on Facebook more than is strictly necessary, is confused by Twitter, and likes Goodreads!

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