Tag Archives: Jeff Goins

Rest or Rush? 4 Links that Resonated with Me

Photo of a peaceful bench in a park, with the words "Be still in His presence, and know that God is good."

photo credit: Janet Sketchley

It’s been a while since I’ve posted links to things I’ve read online that have encouraged or resonated with me. Apparently, there’s a name for this sort of post: curated content. I just call it passing on material that I think you might like.

I collected these links a year ago but didn’t do anything with them. It was good for me to go back and re-read these blog posts, because resting and rushing are timeless topics.

Here goes:

Ginny Jaques unpacks “four elements of God’s rest that can revitalize us and bring fresh excitement into our walk with Him.” Something About the Joy: Four Steps to Finding True Rest

To view it from the flipside, Carolyn Watts offers 3 Sure-fire ways to burn out.  (at Hearing the Heartbeat)

Brenda Wood asks us, Why Rush? (at Family and Faith Matters)

And Jeff Goins shares 3 Lessons We Learn While Waiting (an excerpt from his book, The In-Between, at Goins, Writer)

Advice I’d Give a Newbie Writer

Following the biweekly series of writing-related posts on Ruth L. Snyder’s blog hop, here are my thoughts for new writers:


You are a writer. Don’t wait until you have something published to call yourself one. We tend to be afraid others will laugh at us or think we’re being pretentious, but the truth is, if you write, you’re a writer. Owning that facet of your identity, and giving yourself permission to be that part of who you are, is a step forward, and if you don’t take your writing seriously, no one else will.

You’re not just a writer, though. Don’t neglect the other areas of your life, even if this one’s the most fun.


Take regular time to write. Little bits will add up. If you want to stick with this long-term, learn to write when the muse is silent and when you’d rather be doing anything else. Writing is work.

Keep writing. When you finish a project to the best of your ability, write something else. Don’t tie your hopes to one thing.

Remember the difference between writing for personal expression and writing for readers. They’re both valuable, but if you want others to read your work you need to revise with their interests in mind.

If you decide to self-publish, do the research first. And hold yourself accountable to produce a quality product, including cover art and editing. Don’t sabotage what you’ve written by packaging it poorly.


Get to know other writers online or in person. Learn from their experiences and their mistakes. These are the people who will encourage and understand you, and you’ll do the same for them. Help other writers, with no agenda. Some of it will come back to you anyway. My favourite online writers’ organizations: The Word Guild, InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, American Christian Fiction Writers.

Connect with other writers, attend conferences if you can. Be teachable, and don’t turn getting published into an idol. Enjoy the journey, and remember that anything worth doing will take time and practice. If you’re good today, imagine how much better your writing will be after you’ve put in your “apprenticeship”.

On conferences: don’t wait until you’ve “earned” the right to be there. The sooner you go, the less bad habits you’ll have to un-learn later. And the more writing friendships and contacts you’ll develop. My favourite conference: Write Canada. Choose a conference based on location but also based on faculty and course options. If you can’t get to one, there are online offerings like WANA International, and many conferences offer mp3s or CDs of their teaching sessions.


As well as conferences, check out books and blogs on writing. A few books I’ve reviewed and recommend: You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins; The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke; Unleash the Writer Within by Cecil Murphey. Blogs I find helpful: How to Write a Story by Valerie Comer; Write With Excellence by N.J. Lindquist; The Seekers (group blog). There are, of course, many more resources. Feel free to leave your favourites in the comments! 


Do your very best. Don’t let fear of imperfection keep you from sharing your work, but remember to make that work shine as brightly as you can. Serve the art. Don’t be careless with it. This goes double if you’re a Christian. Yes, God may have given you the idea. But He gave you the task of presenting it well. He can use poor writing, but good writing gets into the hands of many more people who He may want to touch with it.

The only way to know you won’t succeed is to quit, so persevere.


I mention this last, but if you’re a Christian it actually needs to come first: pray. If God has gifted you to write, He will make a way to use what you write. It may not be what you have in mind, nor on your timetable, but His way is best. Follow His leading, even if it’s into areas of writing that aren’t your top choice. He knows where this will go, long-term.

To read what other writers are saying about this, follow the blog hop: Just click on the image below.

Blog hop for writers

Review: Wrecked, by Jeff Goins

Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, by Jeff GoinsWRECKED: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, by Jeff Goins (Moody Publishers, 2012)

You know those books you buy because you’re sure they’ll have a big impact on your life? And then you leave them alone because you sense the process will be uncomfortable?

Don’t do that with this book.

Yes, buy it, but do yourself a favour and read it.

Based on the subtitle (When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life), I expected a book full of painful stories. That’s why it sat on my e-reader for so long, untouched.

Wrecked does share experiences—the author’s and others’—with the homeless and the poor, and they catch at the heart but not in a damaging way.

The main point I took from the first chapters is that yes, the needs are overwhelming, and no, we can’t make it all better, whatever “it” is. But it’s okay—even healthy—to step into others’ hard places and to offer what small help we can, even if it’s only by our presence.

Many of us hold back because we fear the pain. Since reading Wrecked, I understand that entrusting the pain to God’s wiser care is enough. I don’t have to fix it, just to do my part in His work. In fact, the book warns,

When we rush past these messy and uncomfortable moments, we take away the experiences that teach us mercy. [Wrecked, Kindle Locations 411-412]

Jeff Goins’ premise is that we each need to be wrecked to learn how to fully live. To learn that it’s not all about us. The wrecking “process” is unique to each of us. As such, the book focuses more on “what next?”

For younger adults,  he talks about not perpetually chasing yet another wrecked experience but learning the value of commitment, of sticking with a person or situation when things get hard. This is part of growing up, and it’s preparation for long-term commitments like careers, marriage and children. I liked his suggestion that our mobile younger adults begin with short-term commitments of 1-2 years (for work and volunteering, not marriage!).

Commitment teaches us to persevere for the long term, to choose to do the hard-but-right thing even when that’s something mundane like changing diapers, one more day at the 9-to-5, or simply routine chores. That’s just as much a denial of self as going on a short-term mission to serve the needy. It’s serving others and not indulging ourselves.

I’m in the older age group, and the challenge to “do the hard thing” has encouraged me in the same-old-same-old of responsibility. I’ve found myself repeating that advice when I’m tempted to slack off or whine about preparing yet another meal or cleaning another bathroom.

Wrecked is a book I’ll go back to again. I’ve taken advantage of Kindle’s highlighting feature and marked many passages. Here are a few:

We’ve believed a lie. We’ve been told life is about us. [Wrecked, Kindle Locations 451-452]

If you don’t acquire the discipline to push through a personal low point, you will miss the reward that comes with persevering. [Wrecked, Kindle Locations 1468-1469]

Jeff Goins is a 20-something writer with a heart to share what he knows. I’ve gained a lot from his blog and newsletter. Visit Goins, Writer to learn more about who he is and what he does. You might want to check out his podcast series The Wrecked Sessions, where he explores “what it means to live a more selfless, purposeful life.” To read more about Wrecked and to access sample chapters, click here.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Thoughts and Attitudes

God has encouraged me through a few different writers recently, and I thought I’d share the highlights:

At Everydays, Ashley Clark posted about God Moments, and about how our thoughts and attitudes are a choice. The highlight for me:

God is present in every situation, so there is always a reason to rejoice. We have a choice in every moment. (Read the whole post: God Moments)

Jeff Goins’ most recent weekly e-newsletter built on the attitudes-as-choice theme:

“Our attitudes are habits, so why not practice the ones we’d prefer?” (Read the whole post: One Simple Idea that Makes Life an Exciting Adventure)

My biggest takeaway from Jeff’s post? He challenged us to intentionally smile. Know what? When I do that, my body believes my face and I feel happier.

At Hearing the Heartbeat, Carolyn Watts asks:

How might seeing life as an invitation to oneness rather than as an exam change our days? (Read the whole post: Life is not an Exam)

And at Chatting at the Sky, Emily Freeman offers both optimists and pessimists a different way. My favourite line:

Let the believers consider Immanuel, the with-ness of God, right where we are, not where we wish we were instead. (Read the whole post: One Alternative to Pessimism and Optimism)

Heart-shaped puddle

Will we see the scarred pavement, muddy marks and old leaves, or will we see the heart in the puddle? [Photo credit: Janet Sketchley]

Review: You Are A Writer, by Jeff Goins

You Are A Writer cover artYou Are A Writer, by Jeff Goins (Kindle edition, 2012)

This e-book’s full title is You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), and Jeff Goins packs a lot of coaching and practical information into its digital pages.

His premise is that writers (and wanna-bes) need to stop waiting for permission or endorsement from someone in the industry. We need to write our passion instead of writing to please the gatekeepers. And we need to do it well.

It begins with showing up. Day after day.

We need to talk ourselves into writing instead of out of it. Writing regularly will train us and develop our voices. If we risk posting that writing on a blog or sharing it with our friends, we’ll discover what works and what doesn’t.

All of this—this business of becoming a writer—starts not with the hands, but with the head. (Kindle location 156)

That’s one of the key messages of You Are A Writer. The other is that it’ll take a lot of work and perseverance. Here again, a large chunk of the battle is mental.

If passion isn’t what drives you, you may not have much tolerance for the pain, rejection, and disappointment of the writer’s life. If, however, you write because you have to—because you can’t imagine not doing it—then there may be hope for you yet. (Kindle location 787)

Once we’ve decided to show up, or to rediscover the joy of writing if we’ve become disillusioned or worn down, You Are A Writer has good advice on things like platform-building, branding and connections.

Jeff Goins’ approach is to “serve your way into relationships” (Kindle location 514). Not in a manipulative way, but as a way of life. Give to others. Meet their needs. It’s the old saying: what goes around, comes around. Or the Golden Rule: treat others the way you wish to be treated.

We all know sometimes this will bite us. But it works. And it makes for a more contented life.

It’s definitely worked for Mr. Goins. He’s served up plenty of free, quality writing advice on his blog, and the gatekeepers are now coming to him with invitations.

My review copy is one of the free Kindle downloads he offered. I’m doing this review, not as repayment or even as a thank-you, but to help spread the word about a valuable resource that could make a difference in your life – if you are a writer.

Visit Jeff Goins, Writer for more about the author and to see what you can learn from his blog. You can also check out the You Are a Writer website for quotes, endorsements etc, or join the conversation on Twitter with the #youareawriter hashtag.