You Are A Writer. Act Like One. With Jeff Goins.

This interview is a writer’s love-in as Jeff Goins and I get excited about being writers, as well as platform building, branding and blogging. You’ll really enjoy our upbeat chat.

Jeff Goins has a passion for writing, creativity and changing the world. His writing appears in many top blogs around the web and his blog was also voted one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers in 2011/2012. His first non-fiction book ‘Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life’  will be out in August 2012.

  • How Jeff got started with writing. If you want to know what to do with your life, don’t look forward, look back. At your passions and what you loved when income wasn’t an issue. He realized that he always wanted to write, and so, about a year ago, he started GoinsWriter to build a platform and attract attention to his writing.
  • How many people shy away from claiming the word ‘writer’ or ‘author’ for themselves. What can we do about this? Jeff and I discuss the difficulties with this. The fact we are always waiting, never satisfied, waiting for that ultimate validation. We both recommend ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield, a must-read for authors. He talks about turning pro, a shift inside you where you take yourself seriously. Don’t put ‘wannabe’ on your profile. You’re a writer when you say you are. You can read Jeff’s interview with Steven Pressfield here. We also recommend ‘Do The Work’ which is a shorter version which will kick your ass.

“On the field of the self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon. The battle must be fought anew every day.” From Steven Pressfield, War of Art.

  •  Jeff has a great Writer’s Manifesto and he also has a new ebook out soon ‘You are a writer. Start acting like one.’ He personally fights this battle every day and when he loses, nothing is shared with the world. Forget for a moment what everyone else thinks. Forget about publishing or sales, and just focus on writing for the love of it. The outcome doesn’t determine the process. Focus on the craft and anything that comes later is icing on the cake.
  • On self-publishing vs traditional. Jeff continues to ‘pick himself’ and independently publish his own ebooks, but he also has a book deal with a publisher for ‘Wrecked’. Jeff’s blog started to take off when he published his Manifesto and the momentum built. Several publishers reached out to Jeff and one had an idea based on something he had written previously. He has found working with a publisher a valuable experience in terms of brand building and legitimacy that still exists, especially for people like his parents who don’t live online (like we do!). There are lots of much easier ways to make money, but this is about creating work that matters and has an impact. The editorial help has also been great as it has stretched Jeff in his own writing. You don’t have to pick one route anymore – you can be a hybrid author.
  • How Jeff grew his platform. He hasn’t just come out of nowhere. He spent 5 years failing at it. But then he spent time learning from sites like Copyblogger (also my favorite). He has been blogging on the top blogs, he has modeled success and successfully used copywriting and great content to build a platform. He started again from scratch and built a new site using what he learned, plus guest posting and networking. [Definitely subscribe to Goins Writer and model how Jeff posts – it’s an education.] Generosity is important. It’s a kind of social karma. Jeff also emailed people he was intimidated about contacting but it paid off. In a year, he has posted 415 articles, so he is also prolific.
  • The secret of the internet, from Seth Godin. Drip drip drip. There is no overnight success. You have to work at it. Stick at it while everyone else falls by the wayside. There is a lot more noise in today’s internet with so many people publishing, but we do have to stand out. Become your own censor and only create (and publish) the best work you can.
  • On brand. You don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it helps not to be. You want people to recognize you, especially if you meet them in person. Make sure you keep consistency across the various sites. It’s also important to think of what a brand isn’t – it’s not a random selection of sites with no connection.

You can find Jeff at his site and on twitter @jeffgoins

You can find Jeff’s new book on Amazon here: You are a writer. Start acting like one. (Amazon affiliate link)

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  1. says

    Thanks so much Joanna and Jeff for this refreshing video. I just read Jeff’s Writer’s Manifesto, and found myself nodding out loud 😉 It’s so true in any aspect of life that we get the most out of whatever we do by giving the most, and by being true to ourselves – why should writing be any different? Jeff’s approach really clears away so much of the complication – almost superstition – that seems to surround writing and publishing. Sure it’s still hard work and takes a lot of courage, but we writers are fine with that :-) Thanks to both for sharing your experience.

  2. says

    Two of my fave Bloggers under one video = good times

    Loving the advice Jeff, and I’ve very recently taken the stance of saying “yes, I am a Writer/Author”. Previously i didn’t want to until i became published, but you’re right, how can you be something until you admit it yourself.

    It ultimately comes down to fear, and i no longer have room for fear so i’ve said ‘Goodbye’

    Great video, great interview, and good luck to both of you in the coming weeks :)

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

    • says

      Thanks Matt, and I love your positive attitude :) I think you can definitely say you are a writer when you feel like it – perhaps the word ‘author’ is only relevant when a book is complete and published/ self-published.

  3. says

    Great interview. Jeff is a breath of fresh air in the writing blog space and I’ve been following him for some time.

    They key to his success is simplicity – he’s passionate about what he does and he speaks from the heart. He’s an uncomplicated read and it’s always fun to read his posts and gain insights into the kinds of things that, as writers, we all think about, consider and often dwell upon.

    Keep up the good work both :)

  4. says

    I usually enjoy all of your shows but this was especially inspiring. I liked what Jeff had to say, especially this: writers write. We shouldn’t simply write about writing or talk about it, just do it! This is how it becomes a career instead of remaining a hobby.

  5. Tracie says

    The two bloggers I always turn to, wrapped up in one great post! What a pleasant surprise :)

    I loved this! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • says

      AMEN!!!! A Creative Oasis! I’m there!!! Write because you have to write the way your doctor would tell you Breathe because you have to breathe. Writing should be like that! If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Throw Momma from the Train”, (Directed by Danny DeVito) Billy Crystal played a writing teacher who coined a phrase, “A Writer Writes, ALWAYS.” I use that now! It’s so true.

      Write because it’s as much a part of you as your eye color, blood type or your love of chocolate covered broccoli. Okay, forget that last part! 😀

      I’ve been wondering if I should write something about a behind the scenes story from a movie I would have loved to make, only the star of my would be movie died before it could happen and he was (in every sense) irreplaceable! I’m gonna take the dive, now, and see what comes of it! Thanks, Joanna and Jeff for your inspirational/ motivational kick in the pants when I needed it!

  6. says

    Thanks so much for sharing Jeff! I am inspired! I appreciate the segment on branding. Joanna – Thank you for sharing such excellent resources on your blog. I am simply blessed each time that I read your blog posts or listen to your podcasts.

  7. Another Anon says

    A writer is a person that writes. Action is necessary for the state to be had. It’s existential in nature. You do (write), therefor you are (writer). Period. An author is one that publishes. All book authors are writers at some point, but not all writers are authors.

    Publishing has always been a “button that you push”, more or less. Yes, “Big Publishing” has built fortresses with tons of gatekeepers, but if you had money you could always be published. Now, publishing has realistic distribution which is affordable. The fact that a writer has been published has never stood as a testament to or measurement of quality. Never!

    The biggest thing differentiating “aspiring writers” from “real” writers and authors is that writers and authors prefer motion over meditation.

  8. says

    I was fortunate enough to get a review copy of ‘You Are a Writer.’ I finished reading it several days ago, wrote a review and posted it on my blog – yet the message it sends has stayed with me all these days later. I Am a Writer. Thanks to Jeff for writing the book and thank you Joanna for another great interview.

  9. Tonya Moore says

    Kudos to Jeff for following his passions and for being able to turn around and share his experiences and views on taking charge of one’s aspirations. I’m looking forward to grabbing a copy of ‘You Are a Writer’ because I certainly need a little reminder every now and then…

  10. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this interview with Jeff. I really enjoyed your chat. It is so relevant to those of us who are doing the work of being a writer/author. Blessings, Deborah H. Bateman-Author

  11. says

    Joanna–Great interview. Jeff had practical & real advice. Thanks for picking excellent guests and themes for your podcasts. I agree with Jeff. You have a unique voice, representing the questions novelists are asking, and you do provide a wealth of insight on your blog.

  12. says

    This is a great site! A blessing!!!! And I love your podcast. Thanks for uploading these IMPORTANT lessons! Jeff’s story is kinda like mine! I’ve loved writing for a while. I wanted a typewriter when I was ten! PLEASE pass my THANKS on to Jeff!!!

  13. says


    I’ve been reading your work for some time now. Practical, valuable and wholesome. Thank you for the affirmation: “I am a writer.”

    Here’s my gratitude in verse. Enjoy!

    W – Write from your heart, write what you know;
    R – Reach deep within, reach how you feel;
    I – Indulge and start, indulge word flow;
    T – Trust thought unseen, trust writing skill;
    E – Etch craft and art, etch inner glow;
    R – Realize quest keen, realize goodwill.

    A – Act with passion, act with word wit;
    T – Thrust clear action, thrust makes due hits!

    W – Work here and now, work day by day;
    O – Opt to align, opt to dare do;
    R – Reap fond endow, reap precious say;
    K – Keep your own time, keep up with you!


  14. Jeffrey Agar says

    Thank you Joanna for sharing this not so controversial but so informative interview with Jeff Goins. I recently started reading Jeff’s blog and now I have found another blog (yours) in which to invest my time. There is so much to learn and so much to do that it is a blessing to find places which give a lot of quality information in a little space. May God bless your efforts and may many would-be writers and almost-writers and wanna-be writers change into writers. Hardworking, consistent, growing professionally; writers. Again, thank you.


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