Jeff Goins: “How I Became a Full-time Writer

As you can probably see by my title, the reading that I did was Jeff Goins’ blog post about how he became a full-time writer. What I really enjoyed about it was that Jeff came to become a full-time writer by starting out doing it on the side while he had his “regular” job. This was relatable because I see this as the path I would like to take as I pursue a career as a professor of religious studies. While teaching in the field is something I would love to do, it is the writing and the research aspect of the field that really captures my love.

I read a few different blogs, articles, etc. before I found this one and I would say that Goins does a good job of capturing some of the common themes in them when he cautions those who want to become full-time writers:

When people ask me how I did this, how I became a writer, and what advice I have for them, I usually caution them. Pursuing a dream is hard and costly. It requires lots of energy and dedication, but it can be worth the effort.

These days, most people I meet are talking about their dreams. They want to launch out into their life’s work or pursue a calling, and they’re doing it all wrong.

They think they need to take a giant leap out into the unknown when, in fact, the opposite is true. It’s all about small steps over time.

The advice that I think a lot of people (myself included) could take from his post was advice that came from his friend, advice that changed his life. What his friend said was that Goins doesn’t have to want to be a writer because he already is a writer. He just needs to write to be a writer. From that point on Goins owned the title of writer and would introduce himself as Jeff Goins, writer. I think this is powerful advice because I often don’t consider myself a writer because I have yet to have anything published. However, I should probably give myself more credit and own the title of writer because I have dedicated years to studying the craft and improving my writing. This advice from Goins’ friend reminds me a lot of something I heard awhile back.Image result for a professional writer is an amature that never quit

I think this is great advice that goes with what Goins was trying to say because writing is all about growth and commitment and the continual process of getting better. After owning the title of “writer” Goins eventually started to believe it and that was when his commitment continued.

After he believed he was a writer he needed to iron out a schedule so that he could build up some consistency in routine (another problem I think so many of us have trouble with). After all, he had a wife, a full-time job, and other commitments so finding time to write was a difficult barrier he needed to break down, but his dedication led him to getting up at 5 am so he could find time to write. At first it was difficult, but then it became a habit that would happen without him having to try. He would wake up, get his coffee, and write.

Establishing a routine was a common theme in all of the readings I did because once something becomes “part of the day” it is a lot easier to be able to get in the zone of writing. Each writer stressed how difficult it was when getting settled in to a new routine of writing, but also highlighted how much of a joy it became once it was habitual. Instead of using the excuse that he didn’t have time to write, Goins tossed that excuse aside and made time. The hardest part about connecting to this advice as college students, I think, is the fact that my schedule is never consistent. Sure, my day starts in the early morning when we get my daughter ready for school, but when I go to bed usually depends on the type of homework I have that evening. If I have a big assignment or a lot of reading when I go to bed can range from 12-3 in the morning. This really threw me off when I got up at 5. My hope is to find another routine that involves the weekends and days where I know my schedule better.

Goins talked about how he didn’t make the jump to writing full-time right away,  but instead built himself a following while keeping his regular job. He talked about how he was able to view both careers of his as beneficial to the other and utilize what he learned in one to help him with the other. I think this  was really beneficial for me to read because I try to do this with both departments (writing and religious studies).

The following quote was his final thoughts on what it takes to become a full-time writer and how he was able to do it. Overall I think it is powerful advice that I can identify with:

“The real secret to launching out as a full-time writer or full-time anything is will. It comes down to owning your calling and committing to the work, however hard it is. For me, this meant I had to stop saying “I don’t know how” and start saying, “I’ll figure it out.” It meant learning to be more patient and perseverant at the same time. And you know what? I did figure it.”


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