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    Review of DOJO WISDOM FOR WRITERS by Jennifer Lawler (see her website)


    Penguin Compass, July 2004

    Whether they know it or not, writers and martial artists have a lot in common. People ask 'why do you do that' to both groups. The rewards from each are only partly financial and both groups needs to find something deep within them to motivate themselves. The common predjudice is that you need a lot of talent to succeed at either but accomplished writers and martial artists know that no amount of talent is sufficient without the hard-work basics to convert it into capability. In 100 short lessons, author Jennifer Lawler takes the lessons she learned from years of martial arts practice and applies them to writing.

    Some examples: Flexibility is Strength; Self-consciousness prevents action; Protect the Beginner; Overcome fear by encountering it. Some of these are obvious but even there, Lawler provides a writing 'exercise' that goes with each lesson, extending the thought, applying it directly to each writer--whether the writer pursues fiction or non-fiction.

    Obligatory note: like Jennifer Lawler, I am both a writer and a black belt level martial artist and have long believed that the two are closely related--two art forms that complement one another. That said, you don't need to be a martial artist to find Lawler's 100 lessons to be useful and fun. DOJO WISDOM FOR WRITERS isn't a 'how to' book. Instead, it's designed as a source of inspiration, little hints from one writer to another, and some thoughts on how to make the lonely journey to becoming a writer (or a warrior) more fulfilling.

    DOJO WISDOM is a 'frosting' book. If you could only have three writing books, you'd probably want to start with something like TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER by Dwight Swain or WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Mass. But once you've got the basics, you'll want to add books that inspire, encourage, and motivate. DOJO WISDOM is a great choice for that list--and a great idea for a gift to your favorite author.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/24/04

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).