As a writer in spirit, if not quite so much on paper (yet), I found myself looking for a jumpstart to get writing again. And then came the opportunity to review a book titled You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One). The signs were all too obvious, so I jumped at the chance, got my hands on an advance copy of the book, and read it front to back in one sitting.
The author, Jeff Goins, is a writer for writers. From the first page, he sets himself up as someone who has found a path around the marketing and pitching and networking, allowing him to focus on simply writing. And through the book, he shares what he’s learned, broken down into simple messages like three tools every writer needs, establishing a brand, making connections and practical advice on how to get started. Interspersed throughout the book he shares his own journey from being someone who dreamed of a writing life to someone who actually has a writer’s life. It’s simple, relatable, and something even I – a writer who longs to write – can see herself doing, and doing well.
Goins’ book is littered with simple sentences which punctuate his message. Lines like, “what it takes to start is not talent but the willingness to finish, to follow through”, and “It’s time to stop waiting to be asked and start creating”. In between sound advice and practical tips, he captures the fear of failure that lies in the heart of so many writers and faces it head on. Goins doesn’t shy away from the Am I really good enough? conversation all artists have with themselves time and again, and he encourages his reader to simply push through and write anyway.
One of my favourite anecdotes in the book captures an idea that I don’t think even Goins himself realized is perhaps the most powerful in the book. He writes about something he picked up from Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, where Pressfield “explains you have to ‘turn pro’ in your head before you can do it on paper”. Goins reached out to Pressfield seeking clarification, and Pressfield responds with “When you say you are (are writer), you are”.
This idea of saying you’re a writer, then living like one – versus trying to live “like a writer” and then saying you are a writer – is one I found completely inspiring. I don’t write, and then I’m a writer. I’m a WRITER. So I WRITE.
Gems like this are scattered throughout the book. An easy read, with practical advice to get you started and inspiration to keep you going, it’s a book every writer should have at their fingertips. Something to reach for when the naysaying voices in your head get too loud, to bring you back to your drive and purpose – to write. Because You Are A Writer.