Jeff Goins is a blogger and a writer who has done something extraordinary by leveraging his blog into an opportunity to publish Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life (Moody Publishers).
Q. What three pieces of advice do you have for other bloggers who want to follow in your footsteps?
A. One, don't follow someone else. Blaze your own trail. One of the biggest detriments to the creative life is the comparison trap. For years, I compared myself to people who were building larger, better, more awesome platforms than I was. And all it did was lead to bitterness and frustration. Two, don't overlook conventional wisdom. Yes, make your own path, but don't ignore the norms you see most authors following. One thing for me that was more of a discipline than a delight was getting out of my comfort zone to meet new people, network with other writers, and go to events (I'm a little shy). Three, WRITE. I know this should be a given, but it's not. All the time, I meet writers who are spending hours each week talking about writing, asking advice about writing, and even reading about writing. And they wonder why they don't have a book contract... Nothing beats actually practicing your craft.
Q. What are two things that you wish someone would have told you about building a tribe through a blog when you first started out?
A. "It's not about you," and "Don't be afraid to fail."
Q. What advice do you have for the person who wants to write or blog and is still struggling to find their audience?
A. Stop stalling. Just start writing. You'll figure it out as you go. We don't follow authors just because of their topic or genre. Sure, that may be how we discover Anne Rice or John Grisham or whomever, but the reason we stick with those writers and keep reading their words is because of their voices. It takes time (and feedback) to find your voice. So how do you find an audience for your writing? You just start. You cast the net wide and start narrowing it down as you go. Through the process, you discover more about yourself — what you like and don't like to write, for example. Chances are the audience you thought you wanted is the one you'll end up with. And that's a good thing. On a more practical level, start guest posting. If there's one overlooked secret to building a blog audience, it's this: Stop publishing so much on your own blog, and start going where people already are. Build a relationship with them (through your content) and create inroads back to your platform.
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