Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club – Lesson #16

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 #16: Physical Strength Creates Mental and Emotional Strength

One of the most important lessons I learned when I began training in martial arts was not to give up when I was tired. Some of my greatest breakthroughs occurred from pushing myself a little bit more. And I found that building my physical strength (by continuing to work even when I was tired) also helped me build mental and emotional strength, not just by some magical form of osmosis but also because I applied the lesson from martial arts to other areas of my life.

Today instead of talking about how physical strength creates other types of strength, I want to talk about the idea of pushing yourself a little in your work as a writer. I’ve been thinking about this because of a project I’ve been working on that is more challenging than I expected. While part of me wants to go find something fun and easy to do, I’ve found that this more challenging project is pushing me to re-develop some good writing habits.

One of these is intense focus. Because the project is challenging, I’m tempted to wander over to Facebook every ten minutes. But the project is also heavily deadline-oriented and I don’t have time for that. So I have had to push myself to maintain focus for long blocks of time throughout the day. This is something I know how to do but over the past few years, I’ve been less vigilant about maintaining the habit. Getting it back feels good, but if I hadn’t taken on the challenging project, I wouldn’t have to push myself in the same way.

What are some things you’d like to push yourself a bit to do in your writing life?



Dojo Wisdom for Writers, second edition, now available on Amazon in print and ebook! (Nook and other ebook versions here)
Catch a Falling Star (by Jessica Starre) and The Matchmaker Meets Her Match (by Jenny Jacobs), two of my favorite novels.

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  1. Interesting question. I’d like to push myself to sustain my fiction writing for a longer stretch of time than I do now. Work constraints usually limit me to about 60 to 90 minutes a day, but I’d like to push myself to go longer and see what happens. I don’t have work constraints every day, so I’d like to try pushing for just a teensy bit longer. Yup, I think I’d like to try this even once to see how it feels, and of course, to see what pops out onto the page. Thanks for asking!

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