TALKING TO JEFF GOINS, the word “comfortable” frequently comes up. He uses it, and I’m feeling a distinct sense of comfort as we breeze through a recent phone conversation. It’s odd, since the subject is a distinctly uncomfortable one. We’re talking about publishing, a topic that has never been one anyone might find comfortable. Competitive, cut-throat, cold, scary, unknowing, secretive, privileged. Closed. Impossible. Uncaring. Now those are words that come to mind when the subject is publishing. Not when speaking with Jeff, though, and his comfort is contagious.
Jeff Goins is comfortable not only with the topic, but also with the act of making publishing an available goal for all. Instead of merely talking the talk, he daily does a great deal toward that goal by blogging, publishing ebooks, teaching a new online course and soon publishing his much-anticipated book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life. See? There’s that comfortable theme again.
What initially drew me to Jeff was his writing voice, and his no-nonsense attitude toward getting the work done. Go see for yourself on his fine blog. When I initially reached out to him, sending him a copy of my new book, The Memoir Project, the result was a conversation that’s been going on since. Sometimes conducted via email, other times in blog comments, or on Twitter, our topics ranged over the many issues involved in forging a successful writing career, though this was the first time we had actually talked, and dialing the phone, I had a small level of unease over not knowing the proper way to pronounce his last name.
Getting to Know Jeff
“That depends on which side of the Mason-Dixon line you’re on,” he replied, laughing. His people are from Alabama, but his early years were spent in Illinois, where he was a Goynes. Now, living in Tennessee, he is again Go-ins. And yes, he’s comfortable with both.
The topic of comfort also comes up when we engage in a long discussion about brand, a subject, it is safe to say, that most of my writing students and peers continue to find deeply distressing. Not Jeff. He is very “intentional” about creating his brand. Blogging and writing for about six years now, he has seen much more success in the last year. The reason? He believes it is a result of “the natural process until you find the comfortable writing voice.”
“One of the things that is always true about me is that I am impatient and practical, “ he explained. “It comes out in how I write. Punchy. Intentional. I want to get to the point.”
And that’s what attracted my attention the first time I read his blog. Jeff is writing with intent, a phrase I use all the time, and while he calls it “writing for real,” we both believe in doing it, as well as sharing the ethic with others. It’s where our brands intersect, a lovely place to forge a friendship.
Join the Party
As a result of our new-found bond, we’re having a little cyber party, the favors for which are free ebooks – your choice of one of Jeff’s fabulous publications. Choose from Every Writer’s Dream or Before Your First Book. Both are filled with valuable information on how to successfully live this life of writing.
I’m giving away five of each. All you must do to qualify is leave a sentence below about who you want to be as a writer. In other words, what is your brand, or what brand do you see in your future?
When I asked Jeff to define his brand, along with “punchy,” and “intentional,” he used the words “teacher,” “informal,” “down to earth,” middle-class,” and “not-pretentious.”
“It’s action oriented,” he replied. “When I challenge them, people are responsive to that, and I hone that, and focus that on a brand that is clean and uncluttered both in terms of the visuals the word length.”
“It’s about getting you to act,” he said, sounding very comfortable with the brand.
So act. Let me hear from you, and win a book or two.
How to Win a Jeff Goins ebook
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO QUALIFY TO WIN one of the two Jeff Goins’s ebooks I’m giving away is to tell me what you want to be as a writer. What’s your intended brand? Or, what is your brand now? Go on. Understanding who you are is the first step toward getting a brand, or building one.
Don’t worry if you’re feeling shy. I’ll count your comment even if you just say, “garden writer,” or “cat lover.” Two-word minimum. How’s that for easy?
Winners will be chosen at random, using the number-generating tool on random [dot] org, after entries close at midnight Friday, February 17. Good luck to all.