What Actually Works: How to “Make It” as a Writer

As we get ready to close registration for this round of Tribe Writers, I’m getting some questions on whether or not the program “works” and what kinds of success previous students have had. And I realized something: those are the wrong questions to ask.


These days, everyone’s trying to sell you a trick or a tactic, some quick hack that’s going to speed up your success. At times, I think, I’ve even been guilty of making such promises. And it’s not that formulas and strategies don’t sometimes work. It’s just that they aren’t enough.

Take writing, for example. This week, we close registration on another class of Tribe Writers. The next eight weeks will be filled with another group of writers learning how to get their message heard and how to build a career around that craft.

But that’s not really what they’re learning. They’re learning how to be, not how to do.

We promise things like how to build a blog and get 1000 subscribers or start making thousands of dollars per month off your writing, because these are tangible things that people understand. However, what I’ve come to understand is that the intangible is almost always more potent than the tangible.

You don’t need to learn how to hack Amazon or a simple trick to launch a bestseller. I mean, those things are fine short-term, but it’s not really what most aspiring authors want. What we want is to know, at the deepest level possible, that this is what we were meant to do – and we are actually doing it. No more pretending or hoping or waiting.

You are a writer. That’s what you want to hear and believe and live. It’s what I want, what we all want to believe about ourselves and secretly fear is untrue.

What you really need

I learned this recently when I was asking our community what they tell their friends when folks ask about Tribe Writers. How do they describe this thing? Here’s what some of them said.

Jan Cox, children’s author and poet, said:

“Good question. It is a shot in the arm. It is intentional. It makes you focus. It builds on what you know and pushes you past it. It is clear and well put together. Jeff is always a question away. The members help one another.”

Clara Lucca Hinton, who manages a Facebook group of over 100,000 people said:

“Tribe Writers is a group of passionate writers who gather for daily food from their fearless leader Jeff Goins.”

Dave Kwiecinski told me:

“Just this weekend, at a marketing workshop in Atlanta, I described it as the best community of writers on the planet. ”

Sarah Simmons said:

“I say it’s an online writing course, but so much more, and that it changed my life. TW showed me a path to success and how to be myself on the way there. And I always let people know the community alone is worth its collective weight in gold (with 4,500 members, that’s a lot of gold!).”

Are you seeing a theme here? I am. What helps people succeed is not a trick or a tactic. It’s a community. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again:

Every story of success is a story of community.

Jeff Goins

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So if you’re wanting to succeed, and that looks different to everybody, you should stop asking yourself, “What should I be doing?” and instead start asking, “Who should I be hanging out with?”

Because who you spend your time with will influence who you become much more than any strategy or lesson you try to learn and apply.

But what about the outcome?

Of course, this sort of thing doesn’t sell as well as the instant results that tend to pollute this World Wide Web in which we all get ensnared:

  • “Become an Amazon best seller in 7 days!”
  • “Make $100,000 in 6 weeks!”
  • “Write a book in 30 days or less… even if you’re a terrible writer!”

But is that what you really want? Chasing results will always leave a little empty, if you don’t understand at a core level who you are and why you do what you do.

That’s why I’ve tried to focus my work on helping people become who they are – as writers in courses like Tribe Writers and as human beings with books like The Art of Work.

It may not sell as well as the abundant promises of sudden success and riches we see from the world of Internet marketing. But I sure feel better about it.

And here’s the thing: if you focus first on the process, the results will follow. Activity follows identity. But if you focus too much on the end result and forget about the means you use to get there, you just might make some unfortunate compromises.

Success stories from Tribe Writers

So far, this is working well for us. When people ask what kind of success Tribe Writers has helped people achieve, I’m proud to point to some of our shining examples of alumni:

Or about Jackie Bledsoe who has become a full-time author and authority on mariage and family. Or Anne Peterson who has written multiple children’s books and devotionals. Or Sandy Kreps who has authored several books on simple living and regularly blogs on the subject.

So, yeah. People get results. They see “success.” But what I now realize is that success means something different to everyone. And by far, the biggest success you can achieve as a writer is to actually become one.

The bottom line

What I’m trying to convince you of is this: only you get to decide when you become a writer. No success hack or marketing tactic can help you do that. So the onus is on you to take action.

Don’t wait for it or dream about it or wonder. Own your identity. Find a community who will support and encourage you. And then let your activity follow.

To be honest, I think this is really hard to do on your own, maybe impossible. I fell into some important relationships in my own journey, but some of that was luck and some of it was me finally humbling myself to realize I couldn’t succeed on my own.

When people started asking me how I did it, I realized there weren’t many communities to which I could direct people. So I created one, sharing all the best practices and lessons I learned from hundreds of guides along the way. I hired a team to help me grow and manage this community, we called it Tribe Writers.

It’s not for everyone, but it is for the person who is frustrated and isn’t afraid to ask for help or invest in themselves. If you’re waiting to become the writer you were meant to be, you should join us.

And if you sign up before the deadline, you’ll get some snazzy bonuses including a copy of Bryan Harris’s “Rapid List-building Course.”

Find out more here.

BONUS: I recorded a special mini-sode where you can find a few of my raw, unedited thoughts on the truth about becoming a writer. To listen to the show, click the player below (If you are reading this via email or RSS, please click here).