There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~Ernest Hemingway
Writing is transcendent and torturous, frustrating and miraculous, wondrous, naked, and plain hard work. I find the whole process intriguing, and love reading what other writers have to say about it.
A fresh, new voice that I have been reading over the past few months is Jeff Goins. His blog is a treasure trove of honest, practical, sometimes inspirational, frequently provocative advice on writing.
Goins recently published two eBooks, Every Writer’s Dream and Before Your First Book, which contain cogent and succinct distillations of some of the very best of this advice. On the title page we are told each of these has been written for our “satisfaction, butt-kicking, and enjoyment.” I’d say that’s about right. 🙂
Every Writer’s Dream
Subtitled “How to Never Pitch Your Writing Again”, Every Writer’s Dream demonstrates how to build a platform, create a brand, and make meaningful connections. This has worked so well for the author that he received a book contract without ever writing a proposal, and has magazine editors asking him for content.
I love what Goins has to say here about being generous, about showing respect and about curiosity. He emphasizes the importance of offering value to others instead of engaging in sleazy self-promotion. It is a costly process, but honorable, effective, and important.
All of this takes work. It takes gumption and moxie. It will not be easy, and it is not for the faint of heart or easily discouraged. But I hope you stick with it. Because we need your voice. We need your art.
Before Your First Book
A writing career happens iteratively, over time. You don’t need to take a giant leap. You just need to take the next step….There are no big breaks. Only tiny drips of effort that lead to a wave of momentum.
So what is the next step? Where do I start? Begin by practicing in public, says the author. Create a blog. Write magazine articles. Guest post on a friend’s blog. This helps you find your voice and find your tribe. Important groundwork.
Goins then gives very specific advice around making initial contacts, including sample query letters which I found very helpful. He talks about who decides on the topic, about writing and re-writing, about persistence and how to effectively follow-up without becoming a nuisance, and about maintaining relationships once they are formed.
Perhaps the most compelling endorsement for both of these books is that I had to keep a notepad beside me while reading to write down all the ideas they generated.
If you dream of impacting others with your words…if you feel compelled to write and would love to reach a wider audience…if there is a book in you waiting to be written…you will not find a better friend than Jeff Goins. He may make you uncomfortable. He has little sympathy for
my pathetic excuses. But he will give you the resources you need to get your story out there. And he will help you do it in a way that is honorable and generous and sustainable.
Speaking of generosity, you can buy both these resources for just $4.99. You can even sample the first section of Every Writer’s Dream free just to make sure it’s a good fit.
Thanks, Jeff, for provoking and inspiring. For making me uncomfortable and helping me know where to go next. May your tribe increase.