Book Review: You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins

Normally I don’t review books that aren’t directly related to Louisa May Alcott. However, in a sense, You Are a Writer (So Start ACTING Like One) by Jeff Goins is related. Here’s why.

Beginnings

I started blogging because I was in love with Louisa May Alcott and I wanted to meet other enthusiasts. I wrote because it was a means of communicating that love. And in the process of communicating my love, I fell in love with the tool, her tool – writing.

What’s Jeff Goins got to do with Louisa?

Jeff Goins is a writer. He writes one of my favorite blogs, Jeff Goins, Writer and has taught me ways to improve this blog. But the most important thing he has done is help me say the following: I am a writer.

Making the admission

Getting to the point of admitting this fact was difficult. I felt like a poser. I wasn’t a writer. Heck, I couldn’t even call myself a reader until recently because I hadn’t read at all until two years ago.
And here I was writing about a prolific writer, an author who had written a timeless classic. I was putting myself out there commenting and analyzing when I had no credentials. I wasn’t a scholar. I wasn’t a reader. I wasn’t a writer.
Then I met Jeff Goins. And now, even though I’m still not a scholar, I am a reader, and I am a writer. And my love of Louisa which drives me each day to read, probe and question, makes me qualified to comment and analyze.
You, the readers, have been tremendously supportive with your comments and we’ve had lively discussions along the way. I look forward to many more.

Book review

This post is a roundabout way of reviewing Jeff Goin’s new book, You Are a Writer (So Start ACTING Like One).
  • Any book that drives me to my computer to write when I know it’s going to make me late for work is a treasure.
  • Any book that gets me to set my alarm to an earlier time so that I will not make myself late for work with my writing is a treasure.
  • Any book that stokes the fire is a treasure.
You Are a Writer is such a treasure.

The purpose of You Are a Writer

The premise of this book is that once you claim your vocation as a writer, you can choose where to go with your writing. First, you have to choose yourself.
He maintains the necessity to write for yourself, to write because you love it. If you love it, your passion will attract readers and eventually, publishers. It will give you the strength necessary to get your work out to the world.
His justification for writing for yourself? There are people out there waiting for your ideas.

A motivational book …

The first part of You Are a Writer is motivational. It stoked my fire so much that I spent three hours furiously making a record of my ideas. They came tumbling out of me as I drove to work such that I had to leave myself 8 voice messages to make sure I had a record of them. Then I spent 2 hours writing them down.

… and a practical book

The second part is practical. While Goins covers the traditional aspects of trying to get published (working with editors, making the pitch, etc.), he introduces new ideas that get you, the writer, behind the steering wheel. He gives examples from his own success to back up these ideas. The challenge is allowing yourself to think outside the box.

Proof that it works

Much of what Goins recommended are things I have done instinctively over the years as a blogger and former e-magazine publisher and I can testify from my own experience that they do work.

Universal application

The general thrust of these ideas have a universal application, applying to anything you want to achieve in this life, creative or not. It comes down to living authentically, tenaciously, passionately, persistently.

The verdict?

A book that can make me get up willingly at 5:30 every morning to read and write is a good book! 5 stars.
You Are a Writer is available in ebook format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit the website for more information.

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