Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Announcing the You Are a Writer Contest Winner!

Well, I told you to get creative and crazy, and you did just that. Thanks to everyone who contributed a confession to the You Are a Writer Contest. There were songs and costume changes, acronyms and poems, artwork and photographs — and more!

Award Photo

Photo credit: Kheel Center (Creative Commons)

After reviewing over 130 entries, my eyeballs hate me, but I’m confident in the winner we’re about to announce. But before we do that, here’s a word from our sponsor.

This contest is brought to you by…

You Are a Writer is a book about making an important declaration. Writers write. So if you’re writing, then you’re a writer — whether you realize it or not. And if you’ve yet to declare this, your greatest work is still ahead of you.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of my latest eBook yet, you can do so here. I’m offering the book in three basic packages, the smallest of which is only $5. Also, check out the Platinum Package that released this week — it’s available for $19.99 for a limited time!


It was so hard to pick a single winner (but I promised you one, so a winner you will have!). I had to narrow it down to a few final contestants and ask my wife to help me pick out the final winner.

Since there really were some great ones, I decided to give two people the “runner up” prize (which I just made up): a free version of the Platinum Package of You Are a Writer, which includes all eBook formats of the book, a writing worksheet (with six nifty exercises), and the brand-new, four-part audio series featuring yours truly.

Runner-up #1: Funniest entry

I chose this video, “The Places Where I Write My Book” by Ross Gale, because it made me laugh out loud more than any other entry. I can’t wait to read this book that’s been written in so many interesting places. It was a great video and well worth the “Funniest” award.

Runner-up #2: Craziest entry

“I Am a Writer!” by Molly A. Nelson was straight-up crazy. Props to Molly for committing to getting into full Spartan garb and using my book as a movie script (also great job on the melodramatic close-ups). Gerard would be proud.

And the winner is…

Only one could win, and although it was hard, I think Dustin Smith’s “Now I’m a Writer” was a clear winner.

The reason I chose this entry was because it was done with excellence, offered an inspiring declaration, and was incredibly creative (I mean, he used his own music, folks!). He’ll get everything the other winners got, plus a $100 Amazon gift card.

Everybody wish Dustin well in the comments, and check out his blog. Here’s his winning video (click here if you can’t see it in your email or RSS reader):

Honorable mentions

There were a lot of other great declarations (you can see all of them here). Here are a few worth mentioning:

Thanks to everyone who entered! For those of you didn’t win, I hope you’ll still consider picking up a copy of You Are a Writer and/or sharing it with friends.

What entry was your favorite? Share in the comments.

*Photo credit: Kheel Center (Creative Commons)

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Absolutely loved the winning video, very powerful! Actually brought tears to my eyes (I know, I’m such a sensitive person), but it really just hit a chord with me, because that’s what I used to do for so long. Now I’m a writer.

  • So many good ones, Jeff.  That would have been hard to choose!  Enjoyed watching them.  After watching that first video, I am tempted to start writing on a bed of toilet paper. 🙂

  • Thanks for laughing at me Jeff. I will resent your wife forever.

    • loved your video!

      • Thank you. I had a speech prepared in case I won, but I guess the world will never know how much I would thank myself.

        •  I think you should give that speech anyway, Ross. 🙂

    • Really funny! great job!

    •  Actually, she wanted you, Ross. I was the one who went with David. I just don’t like respecting responsibility, so…

  • Congratulations Dustin – and all the other writers that played along. I’ve been surrounding myself by writers of late.  Their creativity of word and sparked the creativity of art. 

  • Way to go, Dustin!! Great concept and delivery. I dig the B&W.

    “I used to write, but now I’m a writer.”

    • Thanks! I’ve always wondered why no one uses B&W in YouTube videos… 

  • Mike Zserdin

    Congrats to all!

  • FreddieTeague

    Congrats, Dustin!
    Very well done video!
    Keep writing.

  • People put so much effort in this! Great jobs. You really did have a tough job! 

    • Agreed. There were so many impressive creations.

  • Congratulations, all! =)

  • Liane

    I loved what you said and how you said it. It didn’t just meet the contest requirements, it inspired me on one of the points that Jeff makes – to go beyond what is safe and to put the real me into my writing. Thank you!

    •  Well said, Liane.

    • Yep- got to give credit to Jeff for that one. I think he’s inspired us all.

  • LOVED Dustin’s video. “I used to write, but now I am a writer.” It really resonated with me. Great job Dustin!!!  WOO!

  • These are all really good! Congratulations! 

    I have to say that there are a few things that I will carry with me now because of these videos. 

    1. In my head I will forever hear “I am a writer” in a Spartan battle cry. Awe. Some. 

    2. I will forever wonder, “What kind of toilet paper does Ross use and why didn’t I think of ‘Fort-writing’ before now?” 

    3. Great job Dustin. Loved the raw honesty and vulnerability I saw there. I was inspired. I am a writer!

    Great idea Jeff. 

  • Great video Dustin. Congrats on winning!

  • I have an affinity for humor (and forgot about all those blanket forts I made as a kid!!), so I thought Ross Gale’s video was charming and clever.

     I also thought “Know It. Do It. Declare It.” was brilliant (awesome idea to use the vintage movies!) Way to go, Sarah! 

    Congrats due to Dustin – very nicely done!

    •  I thought Sarah’s was great, too. Very creative.

    • Sarah Elisabeth

       Thanks, Paula! Hmm, vintage…those are the shows and movies I grew up on, and I’m only 26, but a little old fashioned I guess 😉

      • Oh, you’re welcome. It was neat to see those old shows again – I grew up on them too, but they were fairly recent then!

         When I first watched your video, I thought you were probably an older guy (didn’t notice your name…); the real clincher was seeing you at the video’s end – so cool and unexpected with the perfect amount of humor. Keep up the great work (writing as well as videography) – you’ll go far!

  • Reina Laaman

    I don’t know if I could pick a favorite, or decide which is the most creative. I’d say most of them were more inspiring than over the top. But I certainly enjoyed checking them all out!

  • Benjamin Loh

    Wow Dustin’s entry really came from within. I’m really moved myself.

  • That first video was HILARIOUS. 

    I loved the one you picked for the winner. Really something.

  • Molly

    Good job Dustin!  I like the black and white and great words, of course 😉 I love Ross’s fort. I need to start writing in one.

    As for me, craziest entry eh? The first rule in how to play dooooes mention — create the ‘craziest’ most fun video 🙂 I’ll refrain from sending hate mail though! I had fun doing it. Great idea and contest Jeff! 

    •  You were great, Molly! It was a hard choice. I seriously deliberated over it. Don’t hate too long. 😉

  • Thanks for the mention, Jeff! Big congrats to the winners and way to go to everyone (winner or otherwise) who took the reigns and declared themselves writers!!! 

  • Congratulations, Dustin!  Loved the video and your music.  Thanks for reminding us to take risks in our writing.  May I post your video on my blog?

    • Sure thing.

      • Thanks for the permission, Dustin.  Hope I did you proud in today’s post.

  • Good job writers!!

  • They’re all brilliant!

    It must have been such a hard choice, but, Dustins is brilliant 🙂


  • Atta boy Ross!

  • frugalportland

    WOW he totally deserves the win! Good job and congrats to all the winners!

  • Congrats to ALL of the winners. 🙂

    I loved Dustin’s video too. Well done. Loved the lighting and style.

    And I loved the funny one too, especially since my son is a blooming YouTube prankster. He has crashed into toilet paper at Wal-Mart more than once. Yesterday was Justin’s first anniversary with YouTube. He already has 6. 7 million views and a viral video. I think I need to go into comedy. Haha. I’m trying to glean from my 18 yr. old son, especially since I’m 7 years into blogging and still at the beginning.

    Thanks for the opportunity to be considered. I feel blessed that my contest video was retweeted by the SCORRE conference. What a sweet surprise.

  • Those were my favorites too.

  • Congratulation Ross Gale! I truly enjoyed your video. Cheers~! 

  • Congratulation Ross Gale! I truly enjoyed your video. Cheers~! 

  • Great videos. So much creativity expressed in so many ways. GREAT declaration, Dustin!
    Thanks for the honorable mention! 

  • FGHart

    Fantastic contributions by all (and I’m nowhere *near* getting through all of the entries). You definitely picked a great winner, truly inspiring. For myself, I found the challenge to be just what I needed to take the first step, to declare myself a writer. 

  • Meg R.

    Congratulations Dustin, it is an amazing journey you’ve traveled.  Congratulations Ross, I don’t know which image I liked best, bed of bathroom tissue or the fort that’s big enough for you to stand up in, lol.  I loved it.  Congratulations to all the runner-ups, for your bravery in putting yourselves out there.  Congratulations to all who entered, that makes you all winners and best of all ~ Committed Writers ~ applause, applause, applause. 

    Jeff, I’m still back at commitment to be the best writer I can be.  These young people are all so amazingly talented, creative and brave. 

    •  Committed writers — I like that, Meg.

  • Meg R.

    Congratulations Dustin, it is an amazing journey you’ve traveled.  Congratulations Ross, I don’t know which image I liked best, bed of bathroom tissue or the fort that’s big enough for you to stand up in, lol.  I loved it.  Congratulations to all the runner-ups, for your bravery in putting yourselves out there.  Congratulations to all who entered, that makes you all winners and best of all ~ Committed Writers ~ applause, applause, applause. 

    Jeff, I’m still back at commitment to be the best writer I can be.  These young people are all so amazingly talented, creative and brave. 

  • Susanjmccann

    Dustin great video, thanks for your inspiration

  • Tami

    Congrats Dustin! Great job! I love your video! 

  • Tears watching Dustin’s video. Absolutely a clear winner. Packed with passion and heart. Loved it.

  • Way to go Dustin, loved your video. My kids still want me to win, but I told them that they should have tried harder like Dustin and they wouldn’t have made their Daddy lose. Seriously our family had a blast making our video on Sunday. Thanks for the free family fun Jeff.

  • Sarah Elisabeth

    Dustin’s video rocks, one of my favorites! Awesome job.

    Can’t believe I made Honorable Mention, thanks, Jeff! lol, it was a blast to make, and I learned a lot along the way, like how to download videos from YouTube and only convert the audio file…way cool. I’m a writer, not a geek, so little discoveries like that excite me more than they should.

    Awesome contest, Jeff, I hope your book sales went through the roof…they should 🙂


  • Excellence gets noticed. And it should. Great job, Dustin.

  • “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” -Ernest Hemingway

  • anokina.shahbaz

    You have started a movement Jeff! This is incredible. And truly inspiring. Congrats to all the winners 🙂

  • Terry Gassett

    Thanks Jeff for your continued inspiration! Congratulations Dustin – your video is awesome! I am enjoying reading and viewing each and every one of “I Am a Writer” entries. Sooo many talented writers!

  • Congratulations, Dustin! You deserved to win. Nice, simple idea, well executed, with a great message.

    A couple of other entries I really liked were Semicolon and I’m a writer (and maybe a rapper).

  • awesome Dustin great job 🙂

  • Hgeorgoudiou

    Congrats Dustin. Thanks for such a thoughtful and honest video. Great job!  

  • It made me smile, even tear up a little bit. GREAT JOB DUSTIN! Proud of you. And Jeff, I agree, this is a clear winner: well done, brave and honest. 

  • Loved it, Dustin!  Great job.

  • Beautiful Dustin. Inspiring in content, authentic in delivery. Thank you.

  • Very impressive article. I have read each and every point
    and found it very interesting