Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: You are a Writer by Jeff Goins

Several days ago I was blessed to be one of the first 100 people to respond to this blog post, so that means I got a free copy of his book, You are a Writer.

                 You Are a Writer

If I'm going to be very honest, which I'm guessing is the point of the review, I got the book because it was free and about writing.  I do subscribe to his email and to his blog, but I can't say that I hang on his every word.  Not that he isn't interesting or that what he has to say isn't important, it is interesting and important.  I think it makes me afraid because he says crazy things like "when you see success..." (pg. 93) and "This is the next step to reclaiming your life as a writer — taking yourself seriously so your audience will, too." (pg. 23).  He pushes people to ship (e.g. send it out there in the world).  As a person who likes to write writer, I don't seek publicity and an audience.  I know that sounds strange, especially considering I am writing this on a blog and I volunteered to write this review.  I am comfortable writing this blog, but an actual article or story is intimidating.  I am comfortable sharing my life on here, but to share my creativity is hard.  

I've read books that gave me ideas about how to write and others that released me from false notions of piety within my creativity.  They have all pushed me to the edge of self doubt.  This book pushed me over the edge and into working on writing.  I have a voice and a story.  I need to share them.  So those crazy things he says rubbed off on me and now I think I need to write and eventually ship.  I need to carve out a time in my day to write.  I need to find my voice consistently and send it out there.  Having said all that, I don't like detest the idea of submitting to a publisher.  I really dislike red tape and publishers seem to be wrapped in it.  So sending my work out there is something I would rather not do, but I need to do it because Jeff Goins' said so.  More than he said so, he made sense and what he said resonates in me.

I realized that I don't write stories just for the love of writing.  I want to, but I can't make an idea become a story.  I think of a character and I don't want to come back to him/her.  I don't want to work through the crap to get to the good stuff.  I don't want to work through the "Ugh!" to get to the "Yay!"  Somewhere in the preceding years I stopped writing for the love of it and I expected perfection from myself every time I set pen to paper.  "So that’s what I did. Not thinking about writing or talking about it, but actually doing it. Which is the hardest thing in the world for a writer to do." (pg. 19)  So I need to get back to just doing it and doing it because I love it.

This book got into my head and made me say, "I am a writer."  I have never said that before this book, but this week I did say that.  Something inside me moved and I feel scared.  I don't know if I can live up to that term.  "All of this — this business of becoming a writer — starts not with the hands, but with the head." (pg. 20)  "You don't have to have it all figured out.  You just need to begin." (pg. 63)   So I wrote it and I will continue to write.  I will put words together for dialogue and plot scenes.  I will put words together for blog posts and personal accounts.   I will write when I think I have too much to say.  I will write when I don't like the character or the plot.  I will write when I think I have nothing to say.  Then someday I will ship.  It might look like the conventional publisher method or it might look like the unconventional one he talks about in the book.  It might be self-published or it might just be this blog.  Whatever I write and ship in my future, this book will be something I look back on as a push over the edge of self-doubt and into working on writing.

Do you need a push into the work of writing?

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