Book Review — You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins is an affirming read for any writer, beginning with the title. Anyone who writes or claims to want to write needs this book. There is plenty of negativity in the world and if you have a dream, there is somebody waiting to squelch it. If you write already, or if you dream of being a successful writer, then you need this book.

 Affirmation is a central element of the book. Jeff Goins shares his own experiences and uses them to reassure his readers that being listed on the New York Times best-seller list is not the only possible definition of success for a writer. Writing is one thing. Publication is something else. Fame and prizes and guest spots on Oprah and Today are completely other. Unless you write, you are not a writer. If you write, you are a writer. This theme weaves its way through all parts of the book. Just as you weary of any of the more mundane topics, Jeff will give you another shot in the arm to keep you moving.

 To say this is not to give away his whole book or even his most important concept. Writing is the key that unlocks the door to success. Jeff’s book explains how to craft the key, how to use the key, what doors you need to unlock, and a few hints at what will be on the other side of some of those doors.

 For example, in the second chapter of the book, Jeff says, “there must be a life behind the writing.” As you explore this chapter, you will start asking yourself some important questions about the way your life shapes your writing. By the time you reach the third chapter, you should be energized about writing and about your place in the writing world.

You will need that energy, because this book delves into the greatest bugaboo for all the writers I know: marketing. That isn’t where he starts, because you cannot market a product you have not created. Jeff begins at the beginning: a product that is true to its creator. You cannot market with integrity unless you are writing with integrity. Starting there, the book leads you in an orderly fashion all the way down the road to publishing success. Yet Jeff does not permit the budding writer to forget that the writing product that is for sale must grow out of the character of the writer or any success is hollow.

 A cook who created something akin to this book would have made a rich flavorful sauce by reducing the liquid components to dense layers of flavor fine-tuned with herbs and spices for a unique gustatory experience. This is not a lengthy book, but it is dense. You can read it in a few hours. However, you will immediately realize that in order to savor it, you need to go back and read each section more slowly, unpacking the density and applying the principles to your unique artistry as a writer.

You can get better acquainted with Jeff Goins and learn a few more new tricks for writers at his website

 This is not the only book a writer needs, but every writer needs this book.

 I received this book as an advance copy for review purposes from Jeff Goins. I was not asked to give a good review nor was I offered any compensation for the review. This review is my honest appraisal of this book.

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