Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club — Lesson #4

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 #4. From your chi flows your creativity.

This lesson focuses on how to make your creative work a priority in your life. Basically, you have only so much creative energy (and waking hours!) in a given day. How do you spend that time? Being intentional about how you spend your time is crucial. Protecting the time is an element of this. If you’re like me, you’ve had the experience of setting aside an hour or two to write only to find that something intrudes–a friend calls for advice, your boss asks you to stay late, your kid starts a kitchen fire.

We can’t always prevent these intrusions, although we can develop habits that set boundaries so that the less urgent of these problems can be dealt with at another time. My advice will still help my friend two hours from now (unless she’s in extreme distress). But I would put out the kitchen fire before finishing the sentence I’m writing.

That’s easy enough to say, but it’s a lot harder to do.  And it gets more difficult when the intrusions are attractive–the siren song of Facebook, a television show you enjoy, almost anything can seem more appealing than sitting down with that blank page. But remember that intention is the key here. If talking to the friend is more important than the work right now, then make that decision–and recognize that you’re making that decision. Don’t just fall into it.

I started my habit of writing creatively for the first two hours of every day a long time ago. Now I don’t schedule other activities at that time unless it is absolutely urgent and there is no other choice. Suffice it to say that “absolutely urgent and no other choice” is not a combination that comes along all that often, not even in my life. What are some tools you use to help you guard your creative time?


Dojo Wisdom for Writers, second edition, now available!
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. Like you, Jennifer, I write first thing in the morning, and I do it before checking email, logging onto Facebook or even eating breakfast. My rule is no computer activity until I’ve first attended to fiction, and no play, as in absolutely no Free Cell, and oh my, do I love Free Cell.

    Other things that are important for me are sleep (absolutely must get enough), meditation, vigorous exercise and walking. I’ve solved more writing problems by taking a walk than by sitting at the computer. The other key is to take time off and play. I love to write, but I need breaks, and sometimes, only a zombie movie will do.

    And so it goes…

    Thanks for hosting this book club, Jennifer!

  2. Diane, I love the idea of taking a walk to recharge. It seems like it’s something that uses up energy but it actually gives you a break and gives you a chance to fill up again.

    Scheduling time for play is something I’m learning to do more often. Here’s to Buffy and zombie movies!

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