Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wednesday Review – You are a Writer

Jeff Goins' You are a Writer (so start acting like on) promises to " help you fall back in love with writing and make the connections you need to build your brand as a writer" and delivers. If we don't take count his  relatively short Writer's Manifesto (available here for free), this is Jeff's first book and an excellent one at that.

The self-made man's basic message is clear:  you already are a writer because all you need to do to be one is write.  You don't need publishing contracts, roaring fans and New York Times best sellers to get the title: you need to write.  Also, you need to believe that you are a writer and present yourself as such.  Who's going to take you seriously if you don't?  Jeff's words meet with Neil Gaiman's who said in a famous address to the University of the Arts: "If you don't think you can do it, then pretend you're someone who can and act like they would."  In short, fake it until you make it.

Jeff also addresses another important theme: you have to choose yourself.  In other words, don't write to please others.  You have a story to tell and there are many people out there who will connect with what you have to say, so just say it as it is and you'll find your target audience.  In fact, they will find you!  Just as Kevin Costner hears in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come."

The rest of the book covers in a very comprehensive manner how to create and expand a platform and how to get published.  What's great about Jeff is that he doesn't pretend to reinvent the wheel.  He even gives the reader a disclaimer: "you could google this yourself."  However what makes this book stick is that it is grounded in the author's personal experience and hardship.  Which leads to another very important point: this is not a make-easy-money book.  His method requires a lot of work, sacrifices and dedication. As it should!

You are a Writer is a no-nonsense manual on how to become who you are.  Although it is intended for writers, the philosophy can be applied to any craft.  If you are a maker (see this great definition of makers), Jeff's book can help you get back on track.

Needless to say that I really enjoyed this book.  The style is very concise making it an easy read.  You are a Writer really hit home with me because when I started reading it, I was in the midst of reconsidering my take on writing.  Until recently, I had been writing to make money and (big surprise...) failing miserably.  I found no pleasure in my art and sitting at the computer to please readers was daunting.  Having already abandoned this view of my craft, Jeff's book convinced me that I had made the right choice.  And so, I review this book not because I must but because I enjoy doing so.

You can get a free copy of You are a Writer here in exchange of an honest review.  The book will only be available for one more week.

Follow Jeff on twitter or read his blog.  You won't regret it.


  1. Thanks, Stephanie, for the kind review.

    1. My pleasure! I've actually read the book twice and intend to read it again!

  2. Sounds like a good book! I should be reading more books on craft. Also, the part about writing for yourself is a good reminder, and one I needed to hear.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    1. I'm glad that I could give you tools to work with. :)