jayellebee's Blog

October 11, 2010

Robert Dugoni

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 3:56 pm

     Betcha didn’t know the third week of October is “California Writers Week.”  The Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club celebrated that fact by hosting Robert Dugoni at our recent meeting .  Mr. Dugoni is the author extraordinaire of such acclaimed legal thrillers as The Jury Master and Bodily Harm .  With six internationally best sellers to his credit, he travels extensively speaking to groups of writers and readers alike.  We felt honored to have him join us.

     Saturday turned out to be one of those rare and wonderful occasions when expectations are far exceeded.  Bob (his preferred moniker) was engaging, entertaining, and encouraging.  We in the audience laughed, learned, and longed to get back to our own manuscripts while the glow still warmed our creative juices.  But not before we rushed to purchase Dugoni’s books provided by Orinda Books and enjoyed time, one-on-one, with the author – who graciously inquired about our work and offered us introductions to his friends in publishing.

     Bob told us how he walked away from a successful law career to pursue his passion for writing.  Not an easy path for the married father of a young son to choose, and he stumbled across more than one pitfall.  I believe the learned wisdom he shared with us writers can be applied to most any career.

     A friend of the struggling writer shared this philosophy when Dugoni’s hopes reached low ebb, “If you follow your dream, the money will come.  If you follow the money, your will lose your dream.”  Bob found “the four Ps” essential to his breaking into the world of published authors:  patience, perseverance, prayer, and persistence.   All good, encouraging stuff.  But my favorite part of Bob’s talk involved recollections of his son’s Little League experiences.

     When the son was nine, facing unpredictable pitches thrown at him by other boys, fear paralyzed him.  He was too afraid to swing the bat and struck out repeatedly.  Bob tried to encourage his child with the time-worn phrases Little League parents have shouted at their children on fields the world over.  “That’s all right, son.”  “We’re just here to have fun.”  “You’ll do better next time.”  The boy didn’t believe a word of it.  Striking out wasn’t fun. 

     With time, hard work, and practice the youngster grew to be a very capable ball player who loved the sport.  Years later, Dad noticed his son smile at an opposing pitcher as the one took his stance and the other took the mound.  “Why do you do that?” the father asked his young teen. 

     “Do I?” the son asked.  “I don’t think about it.  I’m just having fun.”

     The point?  A beginning writer (or tech support person, or chiropractor, or aquarium maintenance technician . . .) has to overcome the fear of failure.  We all have to overcome inertia, keep trying, and work to improve our skills.    We have to put ourselves “out there”  and work through the rejections before we can enjoy success.  We have to swing before we can get a hit.

     I encourage you to do two things.  First, visit Robert Dugoni’s website at www.robertdugoni.com.  He is a good man and a good father with important things to say.  Second, treat yourself to one of his books.  I’m enjoying Damage Control now and my signed copy of The Jury Master is next in line on my waiting-to-be-read shelf.



  1. Hi, Joanne,

    I was in Hawaii last Saturday, so I couldn’t come to the meeting. I was so bummed as I really wanted to hear him talk. So thanks for doing a blog post on the event. I wish I could have talked to him about publishers. And I want to read some of his books. I had heard of him before–all good.

    Hawaii was wonderful. We got a little rain, but in the tropics, there’s an old saying: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute! It was no problem, and felt refreshing actually.

    Hope to see you soon. Will you be at the next CWC meeting? See you then I hope.


    Comment by Bee Hylinski — October 11, 2010 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you, Joanne, for recapping what I missed last Saturday. Since I was the one who booked Bob to speak at the meeting, I was particularly disappointed that I had to cancel my reservation on short notice. What was so important, or more important than being present for the Jack London Lecture? My 3-yr.-old grandson was with us for the weekend. I spent Saturday at Fairyland in Oakland and feeding the ducks and seagulls at Lake Merritt. Tough trade-off, but I think I chose the better part in the long run. I’ll have to follow the speaker’s advice, as you have so kindly reported. Thanks again.

    Comment by Alfred J. Garrotto — October 13, 2010 @ 6:48 am | Reply

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