This post is not about worship. Consider it a bonus post. I had a chance to write a review for a book by an author I’ve quickly come to admire. I’ve been reading Jeff Goin’s writing blog for several months and love the way he challenges and pushes his readers to be better writers. When he put all of his great advice together into a book, I knew I had to read it.
For about a year now, I have been actively pursuing some dreams and goals in my life. One of these goals has involved writing. I never really considered myself a writer. It was simply something I did on the side. I journaled frantically in an effort to sort through thoughts in my mind, and blogged occasionally to put my thoughts out there for the few readers I had to see. But beyond that, I didn’t have anything to show that I was a writer.
Until I started to feel that I had something to say, and it needed to be said.
I started out clumsily on my writing journey, doing the best I could and struggling through. I still didn’t see myself as a writer and would normally call myself an “aspiring writer.” I mean, I had no published work, so what business do I have to call myself a real writer?
In the first few pages of You Are a Writer, I read:
We sabotage our work and subvert our genius… With words. Subtle but serious words that kill your passion before you can pursue it. Words like “aspiring” and “wannabe.”
A few pages later, Jeff urged me to pick up a pen and write down these words.
I am a writer.
Writing those words was, and is, freeing. It encouraged me to stop downplaying my work and be proud of what I was creating.
The thing I love most about the book is the balance that Jeff places on writing for the love of writing, and yet still pushing yourself by putting yourself out there. The first step to writing is to remember why you’re doing it. You’re doing it for the passion of writing, because as a writer, you can’t not write. The second step is to continually challenge and push yourself in your writing. Put it out there for people to see. Blog. Submit work for publication. Give yourself deadlines.
Jeff gives effective and sound writing advice. He sets achievable goals and offers creative ways to put yourself out there. He encourages the reader to build a community of support, and shows you tools that help you become a more effective writer. He gently encourages and yet gives that realistic wake-up call that writing is not easy. It takes hard work and discipline.
The book showed me the things I need to continue working on; building my platform and brand, and shipping my work and being ready for failure. Failure I am not ready for. But if I want to be a better writer, it’s time to thicken my skin a little and submit my work for criticism.
I recommend this book for anyone who has ever thought of writing but doesn’t know where to begin, for the amateur blogger that wants to do something more with his art, and for writers that have years of experience under their belt. I believe this book will encourage you to move forward and remind you that no matter how much you may not feel like it, you are a writer.
We are all hoping something we do in this world matters. That what we create will stay with people forever.
You can buy the book here, or get more information about it here.