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 #17 – The Relaxed Fist Is Stronger Than the Tense One
This is one of those counter-intuitive things that makes sense once you’ve done it. When you first start training in martial arts, you think that if you tighten your muscles, you’ll deliver a more powerful punch. But you actually deliver a more powerful punch by relaxing your muscles. This is because you can generate more speed that way.
Being tense also makes you tired faster. That means you stop sooner or give up earlier.
Being relaxed about your work, your writing, doesn’t mean being lazy about it. It doesn’t mean not caring what happens. It means not believing that there is only one project, or one opportunity, or one person/editor/publisher/agent/shiny awesome orb of spectacularness that will make all of your dreams come true and you had damned well better not screw it up.
It’s hard to be creative under those circumstances. Being relaxed as a writer means not thinking, “This is IT. This must be PERFECT or I will FAIL and I will however inadvertently flush my writing career down the toilet.”
It means being willing to be wrong, or stupid, or misunderstood. And doing this whole crazy thing anyway.
Tell me about a time when you were relaxed in your writing. I want to know what happened next.
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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More by Jennifer Lawler
To go to the beginning of the California series of blog posts, click here.