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