Jeff Goins has gone from a virtual unknown to a rising star in the blogging world with a subscriber list of over 8100 and a book deal…all in little more than a year. I stumbled across him when I saw that he was listed as one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers on Write To Done (2011-2012).
Once I read some of his posts and The Writer’s Manifesto, I was hooked. His 2 books, Before Your First Book and Every Writer’s Dream are must reads for aspiring writers. His first print book, Wrecked: When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life, will be published this August.
Here’s what Jeff has to say…in his own words. Fran Sorin
1. You’ve got some exciting things happening in your life. Can you tell us about them?
Well, I’m about to birth two things this year. One is a child, and the other a book. Both are my first.
The book is called Wrecked and is about how discomfort changes your perspective for good. I’ve written a few eBooks in the past, but this is my first print book with a publisher and everything. It comes out in August, and I’m pretty excited about it. You can pre-order it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
The baby’s due in June. People keep telling me my life is going to change as a result of it, and I’m sure it will. But I’m also sure I will have no idea how to prepare. Still, my wife and I are doing our best to make room in our life and set our expectations accordingly.
2. When you started your blog a few years ago, it was because you wanted to get answers to questions. Did you?
Actually, the blog has really only been going for about a year. And yes, I think a lot of my questions have been answered. I now understand how writers get published (at least, one way they do), what it takes to live a creative life without going crazy, and lots of other things. But I also have a bunch more questions now.
3. You say that you’ve been writing most of your life. Since when? About what? Was there a time when you stopped? Why?
The first piece I remember writing for pleasure (not school or anything) was a short story about Gargoyles I penned in a spiral notebook when I was twelve or thirteen. Even before then, I’ve always loved words. My mom used to read the dictionary to me during car rides. I was pretty good at spelling.
Writing has always been an escape for me, but never a serious pursuit. That is, until recently.
4. Your trip to Spain during college seems to have been pivotal for you. Can you tell us how it changed your life?
It was. I actually talk about this in Wrecked. Basically, what happened to me was my worldview was changed. I realized that the world was a lot bigger than me and my understanding. I fell in love with different cultures and languages and was ruined for life.
5. Both of your books Before Your First Book and Every Writer’s Dream are filled with a slew of useful information. But they’re also a personal story about you and your journey as a writer. How did you develop your style of writing?
It’s been a process. Blogging has really helped. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words and something like 1500 articles (probably more). All over the course of about five years. Somewhere in there, I found my voice.
6. Do you consider yourself to be a storyteller?
Yes, I do. I think we all are storytellers. Your life is a story that deserves to be told. My dad taught me that.
7. In Before Your First Book you talk about the years you wasted as a writer. Tell us about it. Do you have regrets?
Yes, I do. I wished I would’ve built a platform sooner. Everyone talks about why you need one if you ever want to publish a book. I spent years doing freelance writing, thinking I was building a reputation. I wasn’t. All the while, I could’ve been doing the kind of writing I wanted a lot sooner if I had created my own website and put great content on it.
8. You seem genuinely surprised that you’re going to have a hard cover book published. Did you ever expect it? What does it feel like?
Maybe. Like in ten years or something. But no, I didn’t expect this all to happen in less than a year. It feels kind of surreal. I don’t think I’ll believe it until I have a hardcopy in my hands. Maybe not even then.
9. Missionary work is a big part of your life. Can you tell us about it? Does it inform your writing? If so, how?
Yes. I’ve been working for a Christian, short-term missions organization since 2006. It’s basically been my first real job. I love being part of an organization that is about life change, not just the bottom line. I think I need to be kind of that kind of work.
There is a general theme of generosity in my writing that I draw directly from this kind of work. Working for a nonprofit ministry, I’ve learned that life doesn’t work if you’re primarily concerned with yourself. You need to help others.
10. How does a nice Chicago boy end up in Tennessee?
Well, I don’t know about the “nice” part, but I love it. The rolling hills, warm weather, and culture of hospitality. The food’s great, too. Unless my wife lets us move to Spain, I can’t see myself living anywhere else.
11. You’re clearly a man on a mission. How would you define it?
So what’s my mission? I think I’m still figuring it out, but I feel like I’m closer to it than ever before. I understand my purpose to be something like this: to help people live and tell better stories.
12. Anything else that we should know about you…besides that you like Pez?
I used to collect Pez dispensers — love those things. You should know that I’m coming out with a new project very soon.
If you have any writers who are readers, they will definitely be interested in it.
Just follow my blog, Goins Writer, for updates. If you struggle with these issues of building a platform and getting your writing noticed, you won’t want to miss it.
If you’ve read Jeff’s blog, let us know what you think. If you haven’t I suggest that you get yourself over to Goins Writer and check it out!