After reading Jeff Goins‘ new book, You Are A Writer, you’ll come out of the closet. The little writing closet that you hide away in of course.
Jeff is a prolific blogger (goinswriter.com) who writes about writing. This book is an extension of those posts with a few juicy bits added.
Jeff loves giving; you can tell by the way he writes. In this case Jeff is giving advice on writing and how to get your writing out into the world for people to connect with. This advice is aimed at writers and wannabe writers who are too afraid to show their work to others (yeah, that’s me and probably you).
Throughout Jeff seeks to inspire and give practical tips on how to get started in this writing caper. In his fast-paced, sharp, and punchy style the reader is drawn into his personal stories and advice. It’s a great read and could be completed in one sitting if you’re keen.
If you’re teetering on the edge of wanting to launch yourself more seriously into writing but aren’t sure how to do it then this book answers your fears.
In fact, it’s all about fear according to Jeff. Fear is what stops us from doing those things we want so desperately to do. We are fearful of taking risk and in this case we are fearful of others reading our work and laughing, or criticising, or actually liking it!
The two main areas that Jeff writes about are:
Writing. It’s hard, it’s great, it takes practice, and it becomes you. Jeff wants you to find your voice and get you to start believing in yourself. You need to think of yourself as a pro. That’s simple enough isn’t it? Just say you’re a writer and begin writing.
Platform Building. Jeff gives tips on what to do to be heard. In this busy information filled world it’s not easy for our ideas to stick. Jeff tells you how to make it happen. Through a bit of effort and consistency in your use of social media and blogging you can raise your platform just like he did.
This, however, does require a mind shift. The key ingredients to this whole argument are:
- Choose Yourself. You’ve got to be the initiator and change your attitude to your writing. It’s no longer a hobby. You’re a pro. Stop waiting around for someone else to pick you on his or her team, start a team yourself. Practice, work hard, and put yourself out there. That’s what Jeff’s saying.
- Overcome The Fear. Seth Godin calls it “The Resistance”. It’s that fear factor in the back of your head, or perhaps it’s on your shoulder, stopping you from becoming a real writer (Hang on, that’s right, you’re already a real writer). This fear is costing you. It’s costing you time and energy, it’s stopping you from pursuing your dreams. It’s costing you from taking risk. It’s time to get over that fear and begin.
Perhaps we’ll let Jeff say it in his own words:
“We’re afraid of the cost. Worried we don’t have what it takes. Anxious of the road it takes to get to greatness. So we play it safe and abide by the rules. Before we start, we sabotage our work and subvert our genius” (p13-14).
“Real artists risk failure every time they release their work into the world. If your words are going to matter, you will have to do the same. You will have to let go. Until you do, you’re not creating art. You’re just screwing around. Remember: The fear of something is always scarier than the thing itself. Yes, there is pain and rejection. But the greatest failure is to never risk at all” (p32).
So, what’d I think?
First, I think it is a great book and well worth the time to read. It didn’t take very long and is packed with inspirational advice about writing. I was certainly encouraged to get cracking on a few writing projects I want to complete.
Second, I don’t think it matters whether you’re a writer or not. Much of the book is really aimed at anyone who’s creative, wants to be more productive, or in leadership. The principles in this book can help you launch yourself upon the world. Hopefully for the good!
Third, as I opened with, there are thousands of closet writers. Read this book and come out. I know I will be.
Fourth, if you’ve read a bit of Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt and the like then you will probably notice a fair bit of overlap. Much of the content within is described by Godin and Hyatt in their works. Jeff says it another way and specifically about writing – I think that’s great.
Fifth, if you’re still not won over to buy the book and you’ve actually read this far then my final point would be that you need to show him some sympathy. Go and buy the book. He’s a wranga after all, they need all the help they can get. 😉
You can find more information or purchase Jeff’s book at http://youareawriter.com/.