Author of the Week–Jeff Goins

goins11-570x854This week we are featuring Jeff Goins, author of You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One). Jeff Goins is a full-time author, blogger, and speaker. He frequently speaks and writes about how to make a difference in the world through our words and actions. You can follow him online at goinswriter.com. Feel free to ask Jeff any questions in the comments section!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

When I graduated college, I traveled the country for a year with a band. We called our van our home and lived though the hospitality of host families in every city we visited. That year combined my two great loves, travel and music, into the adventure of a lifetime. Now, I live in Nashville with my wife and toddler son. We still travel and make music, and I guess we still have a van (of the mini-variety). So I’m still livin’ the dream — now as a writer, not a musician. 😉

2. When and why did you start writing books?

I had been coaching and managing writers for nearly ten years, but I wouldn’t dare call myself a writer. Until one day when a friend challenged me. “Jeff,” he said. “You are a writer. You just need to write.” Those words set me free. I started writing every day. I wrote blog posts and short eBooks at first, which led to a book contract. Now, I have three non-fiction books with a fourth on the way. It’s still crazy to think about.

3. What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?

It wasn’t so much a decision to tackle as it was an organic progression. My blog audience was growing. I had one traditionally published book launched, a second contract signed, and a successful course teaching other writers how to build their own audiences.

I grew all of that while still working my day job. So when it grew to a point that it replaced both my wife’s salary and my own, I figured it was time to take the leap.

4. Which one of your books or characters is your favorite?

It sounds corny, but I love them all. Each book represents a calling to me. Each one has resonated with people in different ways. But if I had to choose, I’d say You Are a Writer. It’s a story of embracing who you are and then taking action to live that out and share your message with the world. And it’s personal. It’s the story of what set me free, really. And the message is limitless, applicable to any field or vocation.

5. Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?

Probably my newest one, The Art of Work. Every new book stretches me further than the last one (otherwise, what would be the point?), but this one stretched me to understand how we grow into our callings. I did a lot of research, and I probably rewrote it four times before I was happy with it. Then I rewrote it two more times just for fun.

6. Who is your favorite author and book?

It depends, really. But a book that has haunted me every since I read it was The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, an author, by the way, who also haunts me. That’s the kind of writer I aspire to be — the kind that crafts words that stick with people. I wish I had a better word for it than “haunting” but that’s what I want to do.

7. What book are you reading right now?

I’m finishing up a biography of Walt Disney called “Walt Disney.” The author is Neal Gabler. I’m loving it.

8. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I get my inspiration from my life, from the things that fascinate and confuse me. I tend to write about things that I’m curious about. The writing for me is a way to figure it out and share what I learn.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like going for walks. Rumor has it, this was one of the secrets to C.S. Lewis’s creativity, as well as many others. They went for daily walks. I try to do the same.

10. Do you have any new books in the works?

I just finished the manuscript for The Art of Work, and it’s due out in the spring. I’m excited about it because like You Are a Writer, it will mean something personal to each reader. It reaches deep into their souls to help them discover their true calling, and then to take action and grow into that calling. I can’t think of any better way to spend my time.

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