Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

044: What To Do When It’s Your Turn: Interview with Seth Godin

When it’s your turn, the most important thing you can do is realize it’s your turn. Marketers have led us to believe we need to wait to be picked or approved, but that’s simply not true.

044: What To Do When It's Your Turn: Interview with Seth Godin [Podcast]

This week on The Portfolio Life I’m joined once again by a role model of mine: Seth Godin. In this new episode, Seth and I talk about his new book What To Do When It’s Your Turn, the invention of writer’s block, and what you can do to change things for the better.

I also ask Seth a question I’ve always wanted to ask him, one of the world’s most popular bloggers: how does he write? The answer might surprise you.

Listen to the podcast

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


You can also listen at iTunes or on Stitcher.

More about the new book

The excuse for this interview was Seth’s new book, but we ended up talking about a lot more than just that. Honestly, I asked him every question I’ve ever wanted to ask and even got an inside look at how he approaches his career as a writer, entrepreneur, and marketer. It was fascinating.

When deciding what kind of book to write, like the last one he just published, Seth approaches the craft uniquely. Rather than looking at what book he thinks he could sell, he decides which book to write based on whether or not he cares enough about it to devote a year of his life to its making.

Seth asks himself, “What do I need to read?” Then he makes the assumption that there are other people like him who need to read that book, as well. This time, it meant crafting a book that’s more like a magazine than a book. And he released it in a pretty remarkable way (find out how in this week’s episode).

Highlights from the show

  • You have to write the book that wants to be written.
  • The people who are doing good writing almost never have time to complain about how unfair things are.
  • The magic of writing is that we all get the same 26 letters. It’s what we do with them that matters.
  • The secret to non-fiction writing is you have to write stuff that almost everyone says is insane, stupid, wrong, or ill-informed. Otherwise we’ve already read it.

Resources mentioned in the show

Because I love his work so much, I’m also giving away one copy of each of Seth Godin’s 18 books to a lucky winner. Go here for more information.

What’s stopping you from writing your book that wants to be written? Share in the comments.

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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  • I love this interview. There’s something about Seth that always puts my stomach in knots. His advice is always encouraging, inspiring, and actionable. I appreciate the generosity both of you practice!

    • I agree, Will, and feel the same. I forwarded your comment to Seth. He got a kick out of it.

  • I think what’s preventing me from writing the book that needs to be written is lack of practice. How many years of blogging or how many blog posts must one write before he or she can take a stab at writing a book?

    • Chris Goodchild

      Just start writing it Declan! The first draft is ALWAYS rubbish and it’s part of your practise too 🙂

      • I never thought of it like that! Thanks @Chris Goodchild:disqus for the advice! Now it’s time to start thinking about that book that wants to be written…

  • I’m not sure which book I want to write, and balancing all the content creation I’m currently doing ( freelance writing, blogging, guest posting, newsletters, etc) has been a challenge. But I’m hoping to finally write my first ebook this year.

    • I’m excited to see you do this, Elizabeth!

  • I don’t care enough right now. That doesn’t mean I don’t care at all, of course, because my book rewrite is like a bur in my brain. I would rather say it’s my passion, but finishing it will really come down to pushing through to the end. Over the past 2 1/2 years I’ve given priority to building my freelance writing business with a three-year goal of going full time. So that is where the passion has been funneled in this season of my life.

    Popping in the ear buds now to listen to the podcast!

  • Just finished listening, what a great interview. Very inspiring.

    Jeff – I have to ask, how did you get permission to use RJD2 for your intro? 🙂

  • Virginia

    My block used to be a lack of self-confidence, but now I think I have overcome that, and I am trying to identify the blog and/or book that needs to be written by me. Thanks for asking.

  • Time, money and spending most of my (joyous) time with a 4.5 year old are things that “prevent” me from writing the book I would most like to contribute to the world…

    • Those are not all bad things. I can relate, Cheryl. It’s challenging to find margin to do other things that are important but just don’t seem to fit in the schedule.

  • Thanks Jeff for interviewing Seth – I regularly read his blog. Seth is the guy that breaks all the rules and makes it work. His blog post are most often a brief a short paragraph but he packs so much into so few words.

    What is stopping me right now? – Putting my butt in the chair and writing.

    • Thanks, Jon! I agree. Seth really challenges me, too. I’m always left thinking of things that I never thought before. 🙂

  • I just finished my second book for this month and that was Tribes.
    I “won” via someones Instagram giveaway, his “Your Turn” book and that is close to the top of my to-read list.
    This is a great episode. It felt unique compared other interviews I have heard with Seth.
    Shall be re listening to this episode as it full of tidbits.
    Thank you Sir.

    • Loved that one. One of my favorites of his.

  • “We’re most likely to change when the people around us insist that we do.” So great!

  • Dan Erickson

    But don’t use any semi-colons. Amen.

  • V

    I used to agree with previous comments about semi colons but suddenly I understand them. They are very practical and useful.

  • Thanks Jeff and Seth! Inspiring, encouraging and affirming.

  • Great episode! Thanks Jeff and Seth for the information and inspiration.

  • I’m excited to listen. I’ve heard a lot about Seth Godin (especially on this blog) but have never ventured into his material. Baptism by all 18 books seems like a good way to get acquainted.

    • Heh. Indeed! Hope you win, Mark.

      • Well it’s all in your hands now Jeff.

  • ME.

  • That was the short version of the answer to your question. Here’s the long version. MOVE out of my way. It’s MY TURN.

  • What a great podcast, Jeff. Seth Godin is so many levels of awesome and you are beyond cool for doing this book giveaway. Thank you!

  • Roy Saunderson

    Great opportunity to hear Seth Godin on his art and practice of writing. Enjoying the interview!

  • Dear Jeff,
    Thank you very much. I am now a days reading your articles/blogs and they are really beautiful and giving insights to learn in life not only in writing but also in other matters of life. I am also trying to write in my blog and I am a just starter. As I have also passion to become a writer, I will keep on writing and I think this will help me to make my writing better.
    My blog is: http://www.bibashari.blogspot.com
    Hari Shrestha
    Kathmandu, Nepal

  • I listened to the podcast the day it came in. I archived it but knew I had to listen to it again. Yup, I was right. The first time I tried to listen to it for one reason or another distractions cropped up taking away from my focus. Upon a second review I was able to take away more nuggets of wisdom from both Jeff & Seth, thanks guys. It’s quite interesting Jeff how you have groomed us in the past to be visual learners via your blog to an audio learner via your podcast. Thanks for stretching us. Love the podcast, love your blogs.

  • Really enjoyed this Jeff! Your podcast is one of my favorites! Thanks for all you do!