Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

050: How to Do a Do-Over: Interview with Jon Acuff

Doing something well requires time and focus. There are always other tasks competing for our attention. It’s the job of an artist to focus on the right things and ignore the distractions.

050: How to Do a Do-Over: Interview with Jon Acuff

This week on The Portfolio Life I talk with my friend Jon Acuff about his new book Do Over. Jon and I talk about starting over and how that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily starting from scratch.

Listen in as we talk about being brave, starting new things, and what it really takes to do a do-over.

Listen to the podcast

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You can also listen at iTunes or on Stitcher.

What a “do-over” looks like

Jon Acuff is a New York Times bestselling author and someone I’ve followed for years. He’s also a good friend.

Jon’s story is that he got his dream job, wrote a book about it, and then walked away from it. Through the challenging and confusing experience of beginning again (which he shares in his latest book), he learned what bravery is all about.

During our conversation, we talked about comparison and the fear of missing out. In being a writer, there’s always the temptation to watch what others are doing and think you ought to be doing that, too. But just because something is working well for someone else doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

We often overfill our calendars and say yes to any opportunity that comes our way. But pretty soon, we’re no longer doing our best work. The way we get back to putting first things first, according to Jon, is to be honest.

Sometimes, it’s easier to tell people what they want to hear than to tell them the truth. Jon is an honest writer who cares about people. Relationships aren’t always easy, he admits; they’re often awkward and messy. But connecting with others is worth the struggle — there’s value in community.

Jon’s writing is full of humor and truth that’s presented in a way that’s easy to digest. “I share intuitive ideas in counterintuitive ways,” he told me. And I couldn’t agree more. That’s never been more evident than in his latest book, Do Over, released earlier this week. If you’re feeling stuck, this book will give you what you need to begin again.

Show highlights

In this episode, Jon and I discuss:

  • Why Jon walked away from his dream job
  • The struggle between telling the truth and saying things that will be shared
  • The benefits of community
  • The single most important thing authors need to remember
  • Jon’s biggest fears he’s currently facing
  • And so much more!


Have you ever been stuck and in need of a do-over? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.