A note from Kat: Wait! Don’t freak out. I know, there’s a boy on How They Blog…
I didn’t intend for this to be a girl only blog, it just happened that the first bazillion bloggers I interviewed…were women.
Jeff is a published author, a full time blogger, a husband and a new dad. Brave man that he is, Jeff is also our inaugural male interview here at HTB. So, be nice.
I had the honor of meeting Jeff at the Declare Conference in August. Again, he and David Molnar were two courageous men among a sea of women bloggers. I was honestly impressed by how much time Jeff took to chat with everyone. He and David could have easily shared their presentations and then hid in their room, but they dove into conversation and shared wisdom with everyone who asked.
Jeff is graciously sharing much of that wisdom today.
Jeff published a book called The In-Between which is about the most important moments in our lives, the ones happening right now. And in that book he tells the story of how he became a writer, which is really about using the time he has today to be who he wants to be tomorrow.
Also, for anybody who is interested in building an audience for their words, Jeff teaches an online course called Tribe Writers that opens a few times a year. To find out when they launch their next class go to http://tribewriters.com/.
Meet Jeff Goins
1. Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.
My name is Jeff and I am a writer. I have written for most of my life but it wasn’t until three years ago that I started calling myself a writer at the challenge of a friend who asked me what my dream was. When I told him it was to be a writer he said, “You don’t have to want to be a writer, you are a writer. You just need to write.” — > Click to Tweet This!
Three years ago I started a blog about writing and about my writing journey. Last year my wife and I had our first child, Aiden. My wife really wanted to stay home to raise him but we couldn’t afford for her to do that. I started exploring ways to make money online. I already had the blog at that time but it hadn’t turned into a business yet. Last year I learned how to build an online business helping other writers, bloggers, and communicators. It became so successful that I was able to not only let my wife stay home but I was also able to quit my job and do this full time.
2. Tell us your blogging story.
I have been blogging for 6 years. After 8 failed blogs I found one way to not fail and that was with my writing blog, goinswriter.com. My thought was, I could help other writers who were struggling with some of the same questions I had by just sharing my own story of struggle.
3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.
My biggest blogging failure was when I promised everybody who bought my first eBook that I would give them a free blog review. After 250 people replied, I realized I was in over my head. Eighteen months later I’m still trying to fulfill that promise. The lesson I learned was to be really careful about over promising. Nothing matters more than your audiences’ trust, and the worst thing you can do is to violate that trust.
4. What are the intangibles that have helped you succeed?
I would say the most important thing was faith. My faith in God helped me understand my identity as a writer and actually exercise it. It also made me believe that this was not something just for me but something that I was actually called to. The second thing that has been really important has been my wife’s support of my dream. When we got married she vowed to be my biggest fan and she has never disappointed, even when I questioned myself and wasn’t sure if this was a career worth pursuing. She believed in me and kept pushing me to continue.
Gadget and App Recommendations
1. How do you capture your blog ideas?
I use an app called Drafts and that syncs with Evernote. Whenever I get an idea I use my iPhone to capture the idea, and then I send it to Evernote. So whenever I sit down to write, I’m not starting from scratch, I’m building on an idea that I’ve gotten earlier and develop it into a blog post.
2. What are your most useful computer/web apps?
I only have a few. First is, Wunderlist, a task management app I use that is really simple and syncs with all my devices. It allows me to make lists of the things I need to accomplish and then organize those in a way that helps me to get things done.
Second, is Drafts, which is a note taking app I already mentioned. I use that in conjunction with Evernote which stores just about all the information I would need, whether that be for travel or writing or whatever. And then, my calendar. I use iCal to organize all my dates; my assistant helps me to manage that and keep it organized.
On Social Media and Writing
1. How do you keep social media from running your life? Is it a struggle for you? Any social media management tips?
It was a struggle for me until I realized I didn’t have to be constantly watching social networks to have the kind of impact I wanted. A lot of people think social media is a conversation and I don’t really believe that anymore. I don’t believe it is just a conversation; it is more than that. It is an opportunity to say something that matters. As a writer, if I’m constantly distracted checking Twitter or Facebook then I’m not spending time thinking about the things I want to say. What I do is use a tool called Buffer that allows me to schedule my posts on Facebook or Twitter without having to be in front of those networks all the time. Then I still occasionally check them, once or twice a day, to see what people are saying and engage. For me it’s about doing it in controlled bursts of time as opposed to constantly having it open.
2. What is your writing process? When do you write? How long does it take you to create a post?
My writing process works like this: I sit down, open up my computer, put my fingers on the keys, and I write. There is nothing especially mystical about it except that it is really easy to not do and hard to do consistently. I try to do it everyday and it is more important to me that I sit down and write something than it is for me to write a certain amount of something.
It takes about an hour or two to write a blog post. First I write a rough draft, getting the title first and then my main points and introduction. Once I have that and understand the flow of the post I’ll go back and edit it once to make sure it all makes sense. Then, I’ll go back and do one final proof read to make sure it flows really well.
3. Do you have a blogging mentor or accountability group (formal or informal)? How have you created and fostered those relationships?
My informal blogging mentor is Michael Hyatt. He’s a good friend but also somebody I watch on social media and try to pay attention to what he is doing. In terms of accountability, I have a group of men that I meet with every week for an hour and a half. We work together to hold each other accountable to our goals and also help one another grow personally and professionally.
4. What is the best blogging advice you have received? (OR) What is the best blogging advice you could give?
Don’t quit. Some people get lucky and other people may have more natural gifts but, if you persevere, in the end you win. — > Click to Tweet!
Q & A with Jeff Goins
What questions do you have about blogging for Jeff Goins? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!