Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

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“Pow! This is a good one, a wake up call and just what you need to read. Thanks Jeff, for sharing your art.”
Seth Godin // Author, We Are All Weird

What Does a Great Leader Look Like?

King piece in chess

One of the great leaders I’ve had the privilege of meeting is my former boss and mentor Seth Barnes. Seth hired me a year after I graduated from college and was the first person to call me a writer.

In fact, he hired me to help him figure out how to use blogging to grow the brand of his organization. Social media had just become a new trend, and he was certain that the future of online marketing lay in great storytelling.

He was right.

Help Me Choose a Cover For My Next Book


I’ve been busy working on my next book and my publisher recently sent me two potential covers. I’d love to get your feedback on these.

007: Three Simple Steps to Starting a Writing Career [Podcast]

Photo credit: David Goulart via CC

If you’re holding down a day job, fitting writing into the cracks and crevices of your life, it’s easy to dream of making a dramatic change. It’s even easier to think you need to.

But the truth is, you don’t have to abandon everything. In this episode of the podcast, we tackle three key strategies to build a career as a writer.

The Illusions of Money, Power, and Fame: Why Fitting in Is Overrated

If I could go back in time and give my awkward, chubby, baggy-T-shirt-wearing, 14 year-old self some advice, it would be this: fitting in is overrated.

Even then, with my grunge music and superfluous flannel shirts, I believed it could be true. That the promises of this world are not worth what we have to trade to get them. But now, as an adult, I know this to be true.

Things are not often what they seem.

Waiting to Be Published? That’s a Stupid Strategy

Girl waiting by subway

Earlier this week on Twitter, I asked a question about self-publishing and got more responses than I expected. Turns out, many people are still waiting for permission to publish their work.

They’re still looking for a magic bullet that will allow them finally share their message with the world. They want someone to pick them — and that’s just a silly, if not downright stupid, plan.

006: Guy Kawasaki Interview: Stuff Does Not Sell Itself [Podcast]


If you’ve written a book, or if you’ve even thought about writing a book, you’ve probably considered self-publishing (unless you’ve been offered a big, fat advance).

In this episode of the podcast, I talk with Guy Kawasaki about self-publishing, entrepreneurship, and why you need to own your story.

The Mr. Miyagi Guide to Practicing Your Craft

Years ago, when I hired a young storyteller, I knew she was going to need some direction. As soon as she started, I told her, “I want you to ask permission anytime you do something on your own… In other words, you’re handcuffed to your team.”

At first, she didn’t understand this. But eventually, I explained the point of the exercise. She was incredibly talented and had always worked on her own, so I wanted to teach her the importance of working with a team.

Then she said, “Oh. So you’re going to Miyagi me?”


Beware: This Is Just About the Worst Advice You Can Give a Writer

“This too shall pass.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this adage before. Maybe you’ve gone through a difficult situation and someone said it to make you feel better.

Or perhaps you were blocked or frustrated and said it to yourself. Some of us even have it posted on our computer monitors as a reminder of the temporary status of our situations.

I’ve heard it a lot lately. It’s become the catchall phrase to soothe any worry and struggle. And as comforting as it seems, this is not a harmless saying.

In fact, if you’re a writer, it could prolong what you’re going through or, heaven forbid, make it worse.

The Wrong Reasons to Write

Calvin and Hobbes Cartoon

I used to think writing was about stringing together smart sounding words in a way that impressed (or maybe confused) the reader. And I was wrong. But not for the reasons you might expect.

I wasn’t writing to express or communicate. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Yes. Believe it or not, there are noble reasons and not-so-noble reasons to write. And I would encourage you to make the former your motivation for pursuing the craft.

So how can you tell which is which?

What Really Happens When You Start Over

What Really Happens When You Start Over

Nobody likes starting over. At least, I don’t know anyone who does. But sometimes life forces you to reboot – whether you want to or not.

Sure, there are those rare, crazy ones who love the thrill of a new venture. But if you’ve spent any time building anything, you know that uneasy feeling in your stomach when you have to begin again. It’s hard.