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Dojo Wisdom For Writers

Author: Jennifer Lawler

Reviewed by Claire Krulikowski

10110402Let's lift a glass to all of us writers, for writers are a dedicated, inquisitive lot deservedly infused by a belief in our own talent, filled with desires for publishing success, beset by seeming impossible odds of reaching the zenith of our deserved recognition and monetary success. Too, writers stumble daily through a swamp of ponderous questions such as "how to?", "why me?" - or, better yet - "why not me?" Most never reach the fulfillment of their dream's potential, others give up the chase entirely.

Jennifer Lawler (the author of 20 books, and a Tae Kwon Do black belt) has been there/done that and risen above the wonderings and overcome circumstance. It was, she says, when she began applying the principles she'd learned in the dojo (martial arts training hall) to her writing career that she'd actually kick-started her writing success. Now she shares this experienced wisdom with other writers.

Each of the 100 lessons starts out with an explanation of a martial arts principle. Lawler than expands that application to writing, often including a true story to illustrate her point. Each lesson ends with a suggested exercise for the reader. So, what are some wisdom lessons? Here's five sample headings along with my brief synopsis:

* Lesson #3 - Respect your Centerline (Translation: keep your writing and your self esteem protected)

* Lesson #14 - Know Your Target (Translation: know what you're trying to do and what you're trying to accomplish).

* Lesson # 32 - Push Beyond Your Limits (Translation: get out of your comfort zone; create work that's deeper than you tend to create)

* Lesson #60: Draw Out the Guard (Translation: use your skills and techniques to create openings where none existed)

* Lesson #99 - Adventure Feeds the Spirit (Translation: get out from behind your monitor)

100 lessons may sound ponderous to you, but Lawler keeps them short and writes in her characteristically breezy, humorous style that's filled with personal anecdotes to illustrate her points. She wisely includes tales gleaned from the experiences of 11 other writers in addition to herself, and thus broadens the ground to which readers can relate. Nonetheless, it's very possible Lawler might have made an equally indelible impression by writing a book of, say, 25 or 50 Dojo Lessons for Writers as several of these 100 could easily have fit within the explanation of some of the others rather than standing on their own.

Yet, read them sparingly, savor each, rather than rushing through. You'll realize that Dojo Wisdom for Writers is actually offering lessons that can benefit your personal life in addition to kick-starting your writing career.

For additional information about Jennifer Lawler, you can check her website at: www.jenniferlawler.com .

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October 28, 2004 in Nonfiction | Permalink

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