Creative Careerist: Jeff Goins

 

About the Creative
Jeff Goins is a blogger, speaker and author. He works for Adventures in Missions, a nonprofit, where he serves as the Communications Director. In his free time, he writes books and shares ideas worth spreading. His book Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life was released on August 1.

What does an average day look like for you in your creative career?
Well, since I work a day job, my creative work usually happens before 9am and after 5pm. With a newborn (and less sleep), this has become increasingly difficult balance. But an “average” day begins with a few cups of coffee, 30–60 minutes of writing/blogging, checking email, and then getting to work. In the evenings, I spend time with my family and then often pick up the laptop before bed (once the baby goes down for the night) to write some more and waste a little time on social media.

How did you get to where you are now in your career? What key moments, decisions or circumstances brought you here?
Man, this is a tough question–and an awkward one to answer. The bottom line for me is that for the past year and a half, I’ve tried to work ahead of my passion. What I mean by that is I’m never doing one thing and evaluating the results. I’m doing five things at once (e.g. writing a book, launching a blog, doing an interview, and connecting with people at conferences) in hopes that one of them works. At times, they all have, which has created a lot of momentum to get my writing career going. Some of the key moments for me (although it’s hard to dissect, because I tried to do a LOT all at once) were probably: 1) the day I started calling myself a writer, 2) the week I gave away my first eBook (and got over 1000 subscribers in a few days), 3) the day I won the Write to Done award for “Top 10 Blogs for Writers”, and 4) the day I got my first book contract. There are, of course, others, but those are a few significant milestones.

What excites you most about your work?
I love that I love what I’m doing, while I’m doing it — regardless of the awards or accolades.

What is its greatest challenge for you?
Doing something for popularity instead of for love of the work.

How do you get your best ideas?
I’m not sure which ideas were my best ones. I’ve always just tried to cultivate a discipline of capturing ideas and sharing them. Some are good, and some are bad; the discipline for me is getting them out into the world.

What do you do when you get stuck? 
Show up, anyway. Sometimes, stuff happens, and sometimes it doesn’t. But I’m off the hook; I did my work for the day.

How do you make sure you make time for creativity in your life?
Once you create a habit, it’s kind of easy. Your passion is no longer a dream and becomes something you can’t not do. It’s all about doing something long enough that it almost becomes a compulsion, albeit a healthy one.

What advice do you have for other aspiring creatives who want to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t follow me. Follow the path and calling you’ve been given to walk. It’ll be a lot more fun than trying to imitate someone else’s success. As Seth Godin says, “There is no map.” Make your own way. Just don’t stand still.

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