You Are A Writer – A Look at Jeff Goins Newest Ebook


Did Jeff write me a personal letter on becoming a writer? The voice he writes in rings with the experience of someone who has been through the fire, and come out with pages of knowledge he wants to share! For all the aspiring writers, bloggers, creatives in the building, let me tell you this is worth the price of admission. A short book, granted, but packed full of useful steps towards being a writer.

The most important message Jeff wants to convey is YOU ARE A WRITER (hence the title). I know have done this before, hesitated in describing myself as a writer and going public. Once you have made a commitment, everything simply comes one step at a time, and Jeff does a great job of laying those steps out.

What I appreciate most about Jeff’s writing is his honesty. I see many of my struggles in his writing, and he’s not afraid to tell the ugly parts of his story, of the self-doubt, distractions, and pain involved in being a writer. But he doesn’t stay there, laying out the steps to being successful. He admits the hard work, long hours, and a chance you may never reach the mountain top you have sighted for yourself.

The trick is though, if you love writing, if you can’t do anything else, each piece, each connection, each opportunity to share with others is your mountain top. Pursuing your passion, treating people with respect, and simply writing is what you were made to do.

Oh you want to know details? Of course, how silly of me…

5 Vitally Important Lessons from You Are A Writer

  1. The Process of Turning Pro
  2. The Secrets of Successful Writing
  3. The 3 Tools Every Writer Needs
  4. The 3 Important Relationships of a Writer
  5. Preparing & Pitching Your Writing (w/ bonus form letters!)

In keeping with his honesty, Jeff wraps up by sharing the pitfalls of success, and to remember your love for the craft. It’s all that will keep you true.

So what are you waiting for? If you are a writer, it’s money well spent.

Buy the book here and start shipping!

Get the Kindle edition

Saturday Shakedown: Music, Film, and Reading


I hope everyone is having a good weekend, we’ve had a great start here in NC. To prove it to you, here’s a great shot from our community dinner last night, and one of my favorite pictures in a while.

Click to embiggen, and check out the dogs!

What am I listening to this weekend? Great question, thinking about the beats that drive my writing today…

  • Public Enemy – Harder than You Think
  • Barr Brothers – Beggar in the Morning
  • Blind Pilot – Half Moon
  • Alabama Shakes – Hang Loose
  • Of Monsters & Men – Mountain Sound

Friends, I don’t know about you, but there is so much to enjoy these days! Spring is in full effect, so get outside and enjoy the beauty of this earth, wherever you are. Swim, paddle, run, surf, hike, play, just do something and use that body!

If you do find yourself looking for some new material to listen/read/watch, consider the following:

Make It Count“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all”

 

My Favorite Articles:

The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers – Great read on CopyBlogger, which includes some of the most helpful blogging advice on the internet.

Top 20 Motivation Hacks – If you haven’t read about Leo’s personal transformation, do so here, and the check out the post on how he motivated himself to do it.

The Secret to Your Next Creative Breakthrough – I’m going through this in some ways, making the choices and prioritizing what I want to do. Jeff puts it all together nicely.

Applying the Nature Principle to Your Life – A guest article by Richard Louv on the North Face blog. Richard talks about the future of jobs in green business.

Let’s Bring Back Repair – A guest post by Story of Stuff author Annie Leonard. We live in a society of replacing, rather than repairing, our possessions. Annie talks about the impact on the earth of this mindset, and offers resources to help us do a little repair of our own.

Get Inspired!

Inspiration Squared

I hope everyone has a great weekend, whether it’s work, play or relaxation you’re engaged in. Be present in the moment and take it for all it’s worth!
See you Monday morning.

Finding Your Focus


If you’re finding my blog via my guest post on the Buffer blog, welcome and thank you for clicking through! You will notice pretty quickly (and I’m telling you anyway) that my blog has a few recurring themes, but lots of variety. Like many of us, I’m still finding my writing voice, and my focus online. 

If you are reading because you have been with me for the past few weeks or months, thank you for continuing to return and read. This post is for everyone, but I thought it would be nice to give a little context to my blog.

I have been writing steadily for just over 3 months, and in my desire to get off my butt and do the work, I curate a general blog. I write about topics that interest me, and I have a passion for. I’ll write about spirituality, writing, sports, outdoors, business, productivity, personal matters, education, creativity, and more.

When you want to write, the 1st step is to begin writing. 

In the past, I would get bogged down in over-thinking writing, making the process of starting more difficult than it had to be. Simply starting, and hitting publish over and over, is a key part of narrowing your focus. Write about lots of topics, and see what resonates with you, where your passion can meet the needs of others. Just start.

Now, very smart people have written very good pieces on what to do after that, and I encourage you to check them out. CopyBlogger, ProBlogger, Jeff Goins, Chris Guillebeau, and several more are available to you. Just do some digging and don’t be afraid to ask!

Now I’m a little further down the road, and there is an important distinction I need to make to go the next level.

I need to find my focus, my mission, and answer the question of “Why?”

There is certainly flexibility around your mission, but your mission needs to frame your blog and why it exists. People who are arrived from Buffer are probably thinking “This guy wrote  about productivity and organization, but most of what I see here is about spirituality, writing, and running.”

I first thought, “I know people who write general, personal blogs. There’s Leo from Zen Habits, the Minimalists, Tim Ferriss, or Joel Runyon. This is true, but when I thought about it more, I realized that each of these writers has a focus and mission to their sites.

  • Leo – Simplicity and Peace
  • Minimalists – Um, Minimalism
  • Tim Ferriss – Lifestyle Design
  • Joel Runyon – Doing impossible things, telling a story

The other direction to take is to have a very specific focus to your blog, like Fitness Reloaded, The Art of Manliness, No Meat Athlete, or Smart Football. These authors craft their sites around specific content and topics, leaving the generalities to others. They are about the details! Yes, there is flexibility within their topic, but everything points back to their focus.

How did I start to narrow down the topics? Thanks to Jeff Goins’ Intentional Blogging course (free, register here), I was able to visually get down what interested me. There was a lot, as you can see. To read my entire post about the visual & generation process, click here.

As you can see, the focus of my blog and yours is important. If we want to “turn pro” in our minds, as Steven Pressfield talks about, we need to decide what the focus and mission of our work is. It’s fine to have a general blog that shares about your life, and communicates with friends and family.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about doing the work, creating value and connections for others, and being a professional. 

Once you’ve found your focus, get to it. You may need to buy a new domain name, and the process of generating content begins again. Make sure you pick a mission that resonates with you, because without that internal drive, the grinding days will feel that much worse, and your great days will not feel that great.

Do what you love, even if it makes you less money. Passion, flexibility, and simplicity are better. 

Have a great day.

So Here’s My Plan


via Smithsonian Collection

Good day everyone, it’s beautiful here in Asheville, I hope you are enjoying early Spring as well! I wanted to share with you where I’m going the next few months with my writing and work.

The Blog

I’m going to cut back to 2 posts per week, and work really hard to make them fantastically valuable for you guys and gals. I’ve been posting 3-4 times a week, and honestly I’m not always pleased with the content. My goal has been to establish a practice of writing and posting, and not getting tied up with thoughts of the posts not being good enough. I can assure you the self-loathing will continue, and I’m not cutting back because of laziness.

I’m cutting back for pace, schedule, and future content. Reading lists will only be published 1-2 times per month, I’ll post more short content on Twitter or Google+. I have several ideas I need to flesh out, and am concentrating on making them great for you.

The Writing

Another reason I’m cutting back on the blog is because I will be working hard to complete my first e-book. The target audiences are recent high school and college graduates. This year is the 10th anniversary of when I graduated high school and enrolled at the University of Florida. A lot has happened in my life since then, and it’s arguably the most chaotic 10 year stretch for most people. College, grad school, first job(s), marriage, debt, bills, oh the joys. I’ll keep you all updated on the progress!

I have also been asked to write for a running website, so 1-2 times per month I’ll be posting there. I’ll be covering gear, training, race reports, and form. When the site re-launches I’ll post all the excitement!

I will also be doing a weekly post for work, covering the topic of summer camp. I’ll write about how to prepare, what parents should talk about with their children, and general benefits of a camp experience.

Finally, I’ve been working on a few guest posts, and will continue throughout the summer. I’m being considered for a couple sites right now, if they are accepted I’ll re-post here. Rest assured you’ll get to read the wonderful content 🙂

Life & Work

The biggest reason I’m reducing my weekly post load is because life is going to become very busy for the next 4 months, and I want to prepare for the chaos. I work at a Camp Rockmont, and April-July is our busy season. In fact, today there are 400 people on the property for an event, and I’m on call. Work will only accelerate though, and rather than post 4 times a week and then going off the grid for 10 weeks, I’m spacing out the meaningful essays.

As you can see, there is still plenty of writing to come from me, I’m just being smart about when and where the essays are posted. Anything I write for other sites will also be linked here, so don’t think you have to go searching around. I’ve written before about the importance of regular posting (recommended by many great writers), instead of a barrage of posts in a short amount of time. If you’re in the same boat, be patient, writing is an endurance activity. 

If you would like to help me out, send your suggestions for posts and topics, and I’ll add them to my list. I really appreciate everyone has been reading my ramblings over the past few months, it has been a great journey so far! Your feedback and comments help fuel my desire to keep writing. You’re the awesome-sauce to my creative stew.

TED Talk of the Week: Jason Fried of 37signals


Jason Fried is the head of 37Signals, a company that makes web-based collaboration apps for small businesses. At Rockmont, we use Backpack, and it has really helped us become more organized and share information better. He also curates their popular Signal vs. Noise blog, and wrote a book called ReWork.

 

Besides his efforts in design and programming, Jason’s other passion is the way people work (hence the title and subject of the book).

I also enjoy hearing how and where people work, and techniques for being more productive.

  • Do you enjoy working early, late, or the usual 9-5?
  • When do you feel most productive?
  • Do you work better alone or in a group?
  • Do you feel you must be at an office, or do you accomplish more at home or the coffee shop?

In this TED talk, Jason lays out the main problems (he calls them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work.  I would enjoy hearing your suggestions and comments!

What Should Kids Learn These Days? My Reading for the Week


I hope everyone had a good weekend, Western North Carolina was blessed with an incredible weekend of blue skies and mild temps! On to this week’s readings…

Creative Commons via Moriza (flickr)

9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn

I work with kids, and so I’m constantly looking around for good reading on child development and education. For all the “experts” in the field, Leo (of Zen Habits) has identified 9 skills that kids need to be able to draw from throughout their lives. The notion that we educate kids in the same way we did 50 years ago is losing traction, we are training them for the past. We can’t predict the future, and it changes rapidly. So what should be the essence of what they learn? Click to read Leo’s recommendations.

How to Speed Read like Teddy Roosevelt & Scientific Speed Reading (separate articles)

I’m always reading, but can become discouraged with how my list increases by the week. The picture of the 15 books of Christmas? I haven’t finished a single one. I used to be very snobby about speed reading, thinking I wouldn’t get anything out of the book if I sped through. I going to try and change that. Many of the books I have I don’t necessarily need to read analytically, especially some of the business books. Now there is information that is helpful in them, but there they are, resting on my shelf. I’m going to give it a shot. Do any of you speed read? What are your thoughts?

A Coaching Philosophy

Vern Gambetta is one of my favorite sport trainers and coaches working today. He really knows how to breakdown a movement in to small steps that can be improved upon, gradually improving the athlete as a whole. Also, despite being a “guru” and speaking at events around the world, he also takes time to be the strength coach for a girl’s volleyball team in Venice, FL (they’re pretty good). His posts on working with athletes and coaching styles are very thought-provoking, which you can see after the jump.

Seth Godin’s 1st Reading List of 2012

It’s Seth, ’nuff said

Speed Freak

Swiss climber Ueli Steck has ascended some of the classic alpine routes in the world in record time. It’s a fascinating read on his training, drive, and trappings of new fame he has found himself in.

Using Great Storytelling to Grow Your Business

A short read that covers 2 ways to craft your story in to a memorable one. Techniques used: LOTS and the Story Spine.

Visual Panoramic of the Sistine Chapel

Indescribably beautiful

Thanks for checking in this morning, I have a post in the hopper that will be up tomorrow. In the meantime, I would love to hear what you’ve been reading, and how it’s inspired you!