148: How to Become a Prolific Writer and Publish Over 200 Books: Interview with Jerry B. Jenkins

Writing your first book is like running a marathon. When it’s finally over, you’re equally excited and exhausted. You might even be a little sick (of your book). Now, imagine doing that almost 200 times.

148: How to Become a Prolific Writer and Publish Over 200 Books: Interview with Jerry B. Jenkins

With my fifth book getting ready to release this summer, I can barely fathom the level of discipline and creativity required to produce 20 books in a lifetime, let alone a couple hundred.

This week’s guest on The Portfolio Life, has sold over 70 million copies of his 189 books (and counting) and yet maintains a humble demeanor, works diligently at his craft, and encourages other writers on their journey.

Listen in as Jerry B. Jenkins and I talk about how he got started writing at a young age, the hyperbole of public perception of writers, and the advantage of experiencing success later in life.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Jerry and I discuss:

  • How writing was his answer to a calling
  • Achieving the freedom to write leisurely because you love it
  • Rejecting the idea of retirement
  • Not measuring success by sales or accolades
  • How not to get on the bestseller lists
  • The relationship between passion and purpose
  • What is within your control as a writer
  • If it gets easier to write as you publish more
  • When to say “no” to a writing project
  • Why deadlines are a writer’s best friend
  • How writing a book is like giving birth
  • Treating fear as a healthy motivator
  • What role procrastination plays in getting writing done
  • The myth of writer’s block and the truth behind it
  • Why perfectionism is a mask for fear
  • Getting a phone call from Stephen King
  • Writing without guilt and still being present for his kids

Quotes and takeaways

  • Writing may be the vehicle through which you answer your calling.
  • “You don’t get on the bestseller lists by trying to get on the bestseller list.” –Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Writing books doesn’t get easier. It gets harder.
  • “Writers don’t write because they are writers, they write because they have something to say.” –Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Schedule your procrastination
  • “Procrastination may be a prerequisite to being a writer.” –Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Just write something. It doesn’t have to be pretty.
  • “Writers are the only profession in the world who allow themselves the conceit of writer’s block.” –Jerry B. Jenkins

The only thing I can control, is how much of myself I give to the quality of the writing.

Jerry B. Jenkins

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What is writing to you? How are you answering a calling as a writer? Share in the comments

Click here to download a free PDF of the full interview transcript.

20 thoughts on “148: How to Become a Prolific Writer and Publish Over 200 Books: Interview with Jerry B. Jenkins

  1. Writing is something that is really important to me and that is the principal thing that keeps me going and writing wise coming up with really awesome ideas and a wickedly clever narrative with strong characters driving it is the key part of it. That way by following this paradigm I can make the work I do become best book that I possibly can. I also feel that it is essential to get the right message throughout the content of the novel so that the passages I write in it when it all comes together the way I want it to be formatted in and the order of each section that goes into it. The reason for this is that when I organise the narrative and do the planning practise for my character descriptions and the parts I am describing to form part of the novel’s plot the readers who are reading it will be able to follow as far as they possibly could reach their imagination towards the kind of writing style I have envisaged the book to be.

  2. I do believe in writer’s block, BUT I don’t give into it. It is fairly easily resolved if you try. Switch to another creative activity temporarily or go for a walk. Mine rarely lasts beyond that.

    1. How is your book writing going? I writing my first book. How far along are you? How do you stay encouraged?

      1. Hi Cassandra! How did you know I was a writer? Lol. It’s going well! I am staying motivated by finding other communities of writers both online and in person. And I’m also just aiming to write everyday, even if I don’t think it’s good enough.

        1. I figured you were a writer. Can you suggest a community of writers that I can follow. Is your book fiction? Mines is. I took a break from the story to write character profiles. Be encouraged.

          1. There’s probably a writing group in your city you can join. Also Meetup.com had writing groups by location. I’m writing fiction. Be encouraged as well!

  3. I think the link to the transcript is broken. I’ve tried it three times today and I get an error message “405 Not Found.”

  4. I also cannot access the transcript to the discussion, getting the 405 message as well.

  5. Excellent interview. I love Jerry’s blog and all the info he shares with writers. So good to hear his voice and to hear the interaction with him and you, Jeff. Really enjoyed it.

  6. Jeff, this was THE best podcast on writing that I’ve heard in a long time. I nodded, smiled and laughed several times thinking about my fight with procrastination and getting into the middle of my manuscript, thinking, “why am I doing this?”

    I loved the marathon analogy. Like running, writing is hard work. No one gets to the 20th mile of a marathon thinking about how much they love what they do. Lol. It was great hearing such an accomplished author say this.

    Thank you for sharing, keep up the great work!!

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview because it helped me to manage my expectations as a writer. I found his advice to be very practical, useful and realistic. This will help me to be more diligent to write whether I feel like it or not. Now I realize if I have writers block I still need to show up and write.
    I love the way he made his children a priority by spending time with them.
    I understand the reasons writing would not get easier because the further along you go the more you demand of yourself.
    Thank you so much for having him and thank you Jerry Jenkins for coming and sharing your wisdom with us! I appreciate it!

  8. So awesome.I worked at being a creative writer..read Writers digest for years.
    Unfortunately,I had a stroke in 1998,and basically had to completely learn how to do everything from scratch..how to eat,..the stroke paralyzed my hands..but now I try to do SEO
    for folks that write. http://onlinevisability.com/ is my website,still being built.But after a while,learning the whole process of working with folk’s that write,has eased my process of the grieving over the lack of the ability to write anymore myself.That whole ebb and flow of ideas that once drove my thinking is gone now..
    I enjoy your site..I have read from it often in the past,and actually found it today in my bookmarks list.
    Keep up the awesome work.

  9. So enjoyed this interview with Jerry Jenkins. I am a member of his Guild and listen to him interview other writers. It was fun to hear him be interviewed. Thank you to both of you for taking the time share what it’s like being a writer. 🙂

  10. Great interview. Multiple writers said that we should show up and write regardless of writer’s block. I have yet to develop this persistence and consistency.

  11. This interview was amazing! So many notes I took! Just the right information, just the right encouragement at just the right time. I’m glad I discovered this site! Thank you for the fantastic interview … AND, Mr. Goin, you are an excellent interviewer, letting the guest speak and finish the train of thought, stepping back and NOT talking about yourself … using your opinions – just a bit – as a jumping off point, not afraid of being wrong … a lot of national media folks could learn a thing or two from you. Blessings!

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