Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Why the Story of the Starving Artist Needs to Die

Why the Story of the Starving Artist Needs to Die

For centuries, believed the great Renaissance master was just another Starving Artist, struggling to make ends meet. Michelangelo himself embraced this image, living frugally and often complaining about money. He once wrote in a poem that his art had left him “poor, old and working as a servant of others.”

But it turns out he wasn’t telling the truth.

How to Write Your Best Book: Part Four (Beyond the Launch)

How to Write Your Best Book: Part Four (Beyond the Launch)

There’s a difference between an author and a writer. An author is someone who published a book at least once. A writer is someone who continues to write and publish, cultivating a writing life. But how do you know what to write about, and when to start your next project?

Don’t Build a Business Because You Want Freedom

Don't Build a Business Because You Want Freedom

It was a year ago. I had fifteen people working for me, my business was losing money, I was stressed beyond belief, and… everyone thought I was successful.

“You know, Jeff,” a business coach told me, “you don’t have to do this.”

But I did. At least, it felt that way. When you’re good at something, you have to keep doing it even if it’s killing you, right?

How to Write Your Best Book: Part Three (Clarity)

How to Write Your Best Book: Part Three (Clarity)

We often start out with a specific intent when we begin a new project. We’re out to prove an argument and make a point. But what happens when, in the course of writing, we discover new truths that derail our message?

When author and memoir consultant Marion Roach Smith worked at The New York Times, she was told: Never go out with intent. Even when you know someone has committed a crime.

The idea was that setting out to capture a story with a verdict already in mind would skew your writing. A good journalist is open to not proving what she thinks to be true.

Authors are no exception.

Note to All Creatives: Marketing is Your Job

Note to All Creatives: Marketing is Your Job

In an interview, the novelist Ian McEwan once complained light-heartedly about what it was like to go out and market a book after spending all the time creating it: “I feel like the wretched employee of my former self. My former self being the happily engaged novelist who now sends me, a kind of brush salesman or double glazing salesman, out on the road to hawk this book. He got all the fun writing it. I’m the poor bastard who has to go sell it.”

Every artist can relate. Very few of us got into this business because we wanted to have to manage social media accounts or approve an advertising campaign. Writers became writers because they wanted to write. Actors want to act—not spend two weeks on a grueling press tour. The founder wants to be working on their product, not polishing blog posts for some content marketing side hustle.

How to Write Your Best Book: Part Two (Research)

How to Write Your Best Book: Part Two

It doesn’t matter how original your idea is or how well the message of your book resonates with readers, if it’s missing this essential quality, your writing will lack legitimacy and credibility. A little research goes a long way.