Dojo Wisdom Book Club – Lesson #6

Welcome to the Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club! Every Wednesday, we meet to discuss one of the lessons in Dojo Wisdom for Writers. We’ll go in order, so it’s easy enough to follow along. Read the lesson, then read the blog post, then comment in the comments! Do feel free to comment on each other’s comments. I’ll answer questions as quickly as I can.

Lesson #6: Be open to what happens next

In this lesson, I talk about building on your experiences and being open to opportunities that may come your way. I never set out to write a bookshelf full of martial arts texts and I didn’t plan on running a romance imprint—but I’m delighted that I had the chance to do both of those things.

But the bigger-picture point of all of this is to not get too tied up in goal setting. Don’t get me wrong, I think goals are great, and certainly better than wandering around aimlessly. But the point of anything (writing, life) isn’t necessarily to get to the end. The point is to experience the journey. If you spend too much time focusing on the end result and are disappointed that you didn’t get exactly what you wanted, you miss all the great stuff you did get.

Have you had something surprising happen in your writing career? What was it, and how did you feel about it? Do tell in the comments!


Dojo Wisdom for Writers, second edition, now available! Check out the special low price ($2.99 for the Kindle edition) for the Nanowrimo month of November only!
Catch a Falling Star (by Jessica Starre) and The Matchmaker Meets Her Match (by Jenny Jacobs), two of my favorite novels.

And don’t forget classes for writers—and more on writing at



  1. Hah! My writing career has been nothing but one surprise after the other. I started out as a desk editor at a wire service, jumped into fiction, ran away from fiction, put my foot in freelance, stumbled away from freelance and then went back to it. Here are just 2 examples of unexpected opportunities.

    #1 – Eighteen months ago, I had not engaged in serious fiction writing for, oh say, about a decade. After years of struggle, I had given up. I wasn’t able to produce. I was frustrated and sick of the irritation, but then a writing workshop I had attended and love (The Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop) need to raise money, so I volunteered to participate in their write-a-thon. My only goal was to raise money for this worthy institution, but I also had to write. (You can’t participate in a write-a-thon without writing.) What a surprise! I did raise money for Clarion, but much more importantly I got myself back into the habit of writing fiction, and a short story, one novella and a good start on a novel later, I now consider fiction to be a key component of my work.

    #2 – When I went back to freelancing 6 years ago, I was desperate for a way to pay the bills. A friend had to pull out of an assignment because of illness and recommended me. I only snatched up the job because I needed to make the mortgage payment. Today I’m still doing an annual publication for this client, and the client (bless them) now pay me to travel the world with them writing and photographing their adventures. This work has also helped me add science writing to my skill set, and did I mention the photography? When I started this gig, I didn’t even own a camera.

    Sometimes it seems like the only thing I want to do is give up on writing, but then I think about the opportunities that have come my way, and all I can do is smile.

  2. Diane, I love those stories! One of the opportunities I enjoy most but rarely think to mention is all the great people I get to meet that I otherwise wouldn’t meet.

    So many good things have come about because of a little serendipity–and the willingness to say yes now and then.


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