The Bad News About Turning Pro as a Writer

People often ask me what it takes to turn pro as a writer, and I’m happy to tell them. Because that’s the easy part. But the truth is that isn’t what they need.

Bad News

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Last week, I hosted a webinar and was amazed at the feedback I received. Lots of people told me how, as a result of the live training, they committed to pursuing their calling as a writer. One attendee, Bruce, tweeted: “Guys, fantastic. I’ve been to a few writer webinars. This one? Seriously, the best.”

Wow! I love hearing that. As someone who seeks to add value to the lives of others, I get a huge boost of energy from comments like that. It shows people are enjoying my content, which is always great to hear. But honestly, that’s not enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the affirmation. But just because people know what to do doesn’t mean they’ll do it. You have to take what you learn and put it into action. Otherwise the information is worthless. Another webinar attendee, Jaina, said it best:

Thanks so much for all the encouragement — time to go write & make it real!

She’s right. What we need is not more information. We need to take what we know and make it real.

So here’s the bad news…

Pursuing your calling, especially as a writer, is not an easy process.

In fact, it can be one of the scariest, hardest, and most frustrating things you’ll ever do. When I first got started, I often felt lonely and depressed. Even now, I’m not immune to the discouragement of critics and the sting of failure.

This is hard. That’s the bad news. But in the midst of the difficulty, there’s something satisfying to hold on to. Though it can be difficult to chase a dream, the good news is: it’s worth it.

The process can be hard and even sometimes scary, but I don’t regret making the decision two years ago to quit my job and go full-time. Because I would rather do hard things that matter than easy things that don’t.

I would rather do hard things that matter than easy things that don’t.

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When you’re up an hour late and up again two hours early the next morning to meet a deadline, you remember this is the good stuff. The striving, the pushing, the journey. That’s what you signed up for. That’s what you should expect.

What it really takes to turn pro

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you had a crazy idea once of wanting to chase a dream and wondered if there was any way to actually make a living off it. And maybe like most people, you didn’t do anything with it.

Why is that? Because, like most people, you probably weren’t taught how. Your parents didn’t teach you, your friends aren’t doing it, and school didn’t prepare you.

What’s worse, the stories of those who are doing their dreams seem too unrealistic to follow. It can feel like you have to have some sort of superpower to do what you’re meant to do. But that’s not true. Finding your calling is really just about paying attention to your life and taking action.

For the next few days, I’m opening registration for a new coaching program called The Art of Work Course, which will teach a practical process for figuring out exactly what your dream is and how to go pro with it — the smart way.

Learn More About The Art of Work Course

This course includes video teaching, group discussions, and live coaching from me. And just for the next few days, I’m bundling it with some of my best resources for writers, artists, and entrepreneurs.

If you want to pursue your dream but don’t know the next steps, this is for you. (I’m also offering a more basic, non-writer track here if your dream isn’t to become a writer.)

I’ve never bundled these courses before and likely never will again. This is only available for the next week or so, which includes the early bird pricing which goes away Thursday, April 30.

Here’s the thing…

Whether you join the program or not, here’s what I don’t want you to miss: Finding your calling is a difficult process, but one you don’t have the luxury of missing.

hard things

You can continue to wonder “what if?” You can keep saying “some day.” You can even hold out for your “big break.” But chances are slim that those strategies will lead to success. Or you can choose to grow.

You can invest in yourself, counting the cost and doing the work even when it’s hard. You can choose to make your own breaks, finding opportunities where none seemed to exist, and learn what you need along the way.

As Jaina said, it’s time to make it real. I submit that such a decision begins with you. It’s something you can do today, regardless of circumstance.

I once asked best-selling author Steven Pressfield, “When does a writer become a writer?” He said: “When you say you are.” The same is true for you. I’d love to help you take the steps that follow.

Learn More About The Art of Work Course

What’s holding you back from turning pro? Share in the comments.

Goins, Writer

The Secret to Doing Brave Things

Earlier this week I hosted a webinar, and during that training, I asked people what was the main thing holding them back from pursuing their dreams.

Good Fear

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Do you know what they said?

I’ll give you a hint. It was a four letter word beginning with the letter F. No. Not that f-word. Sheesh. Get your mind out of the gutter. It was a much worse one: fear.

That’s what holds us back from living the lives we’re meant to live. That’s what prevents us from finally going pro with our dreams. You probably knew that, though.

But did you know that not all fear is bad?

It’s true. Some fear is actually good. It helps you get to where you want to go in life. So how do you tell the good fear from the bad?

How I faced fear without overcoming it

Here’s how it works: Good fear leads to action. Bad fear leads to complacency.

Good fear — like the fear of never doing your dream or making a difference with your life — makes you move.

Bad fear — like the fear of messing up or getting rejected — forces you to stay stuck.

For years, people have been asking me to share my process of how I chased my dream and became a full-time writer. It’s something I’ve helped many others do, as well, but for some reason still felt unqualified to teach.

Who was I to tell people how to live their lives? What right did I have to tell people to chase their dreams?

But every time, I did, there was fruit. People would tell me, “that’s amazing!” Or, “thank you so much!” Or, “this changed my life!” I couldn’t believe it. But then again, we are often the ones most oblivious to our greatest contributions

So after waiting for the right time, I finally realized that time was never going to come. I was never going to be ready. I was never going to not feel afraid.

So finally, I just did it. And here’s my secret: I was afraid every step of the way.

What’re you afraid of… really?

We are all waiting, I think, to not feel afraid before we attempt great things. But that’s not the way it works.

When you’re afraid of what people might say or of totally bombing it, that’s when you play it safe. That’s when you fail.

The secret to doing brave things, then, isn’t to not fear. That’s a myth. We’re all shaking in our boots when we attempt great things. The secret is to do it afraid. [Tweet that]

So when I opened a new course to help people beat fear, find their passion, and start doing it for a living, it’s no surprise some said they were afraid to take the next step. That’s normal.

The question, though, is what kind of fear is it? The kind that will leave you stuck? Or the kind that could set you free?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself.

Let’s face fear together

Recently, I launched a brand-new course about what it takes to turn pro as a writer — based on the concepts in my best-selling book, The Art of Work.

Honestly, this was something I was afraid to do. It felt risky and audacious. Again, the voices of accusation came, and I started to feel like an impostor.

But finally the fear of failure just wasn’t enough to not try. What I realized was I was more afraid of not doing it than trying and failing.

That’s the difference between good fear and bad fear. So I recognized it for what it was, counted the cost, and pulled the trigger. I think we all have the power to do this. You can do it, too.

To learn more about this, check out the webinar I mentioned earlier. In the replay below, I share everything I’ve learned in the past severals years of becoming a full-time writer (and how you can make a similar transition):

The 4 Keys to Finding Your Calling as a Writer

That replay will only be available for the next few days, so be sure to carve out some time and listen to it before I take it down. And remember that brave people don’t wait to feel brave. They do it afraid.

Was there ever a time when you felt afraid and did it anyway? Share in the comments.

Goins, Writer

051: An In-Depth Look at Medium: the Benefits and the Drawbacks [Podcast]

You’ve got a message worth hearing. But maybe your audience isn’t that big — or maybe it’s nonexistent. So what’s the best way to get your words heard?

051: An In-Depth Look at Medium: the Benefits and the Drawbacks [Podcast]

Should you build your own platform or should you share your work in places where the traffic is already established? In this episode of The Portfolio Life, my co-host Andy Traub and I talk about the pros and cons of using Medium.

Medium is an open source publishing powerhouse. They have a huge audience and generate a ton of traffic — millions of visitors each month. Even the President of the United States pre-released the State of the Union Address on Medium.

And if the goal is to get our message heard, should we be publishing our words on Medium? Listen in as I share my thoughts on the subject and some secrets on how I’ve been using this growing content network.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below. (If you’re reading this via email, click here).

You can also listen at iTunes or on Stitcher.

Show highlights

In this episode we discuss:

  • The value of publishing to Medium
  • How I use and recommend using Medium
  • The dangers of not having your own platform
  • Two things every writer needs to have
  • Whether or not it’s okay to use re-published content for Medium
  • Why I propose a blend of the two approaches in which you use other networks to drive more traffic to your own online platform
  • What this all means for you

Resources mentioned

  • Medium
  • What platishers, like Medium, mean for unknown writers by Aileen Gallagher
  • The Truth About Going Viral (my ironically viral post on Medium)
  • The Art of Work Essay Collection (my exclusive series published to Medium to promote my latest book)
  • How to set up a self-hosted blog in 8 minutes
  • Obama’s State of the Union Address
  • The Myth of the Lone Genius by Walter Isaacson

I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. If you know someone who would benefit from it, feel free to download and share it. Also, we’d appreciate it if you would leave a review on iTunes.

Oh, and if you’re interested in finding your life’s work, check out my new podcast.

What do you think about using other platforms, like Medium? Share in the comments.

Goins, Writer

The Sleazebag and the Magician: A Tale of Two Marketers

I’ve been thinking a lot about marketing lately. I know, I know. You hate advertising. Can’t stand self-promotion. I get it.

The Sleazebag and the Magician: A Tale of Two Marketers

But guess what? If you’ve got a message that deserves to be shared, you need to care about marketing. There are two ways to go about this, to spread an idea or promote a project.

One is the Way of the Sleazebag

You beg, plead, and generally cajole people into paying attention to you. You rant and annoy and put a lot of pressure on the people who love you.

The problem with this method, ironically, is it works. Which is what makes it so dangerous. Through bribery, shame, or some other questionable tactic, you got what you were looking for. And now you have to continue making compromises in order to keep the attention.

Talk about something that will drain you.

The other is the Way of the Magician

Some people just have a certain charisma about them. They’re cool. Everything they touch seems to turn to gold with little to no effort. But their secret sauce isn’t magic. Not really. No, it’s something even more mystical: patience.

They practice subtlety, wait for just the right moment, learning and listening the whole time, and finally speak up. And when they do, we listen.

Really, that’s the difference. Between jerks and geniuses. Between the brilliant communicator and the broke one. It’s all about patience, about taking your time and earning trust.

Trust and permission

When I look around at people succeeding, it’s usually those with a long-term approach who are doing the best.

These people don’t give in to the temptation to compromise their work to earn a buck — or a “like,” for that matter. Instead, they demonstrate integrity. They stick around and keep showing up, knowing that little by little is how influence is earned.

Millionaires will tell you the same thing: There’s no such thing as overnight success. The only way to “get rich quick” is to do it slowly. The same is true with all creative work.

If you have something you’re just dying to promote, take your time. Don’t neglect promotion, but be patient. The last thing you want to do is appear desperate.

How do you feel about marketing? Share in the comments.

Goins, Writer

050: How to Do a Do-Over: Interview with Jon Acuff

Doing something well requires time and focus. There are always other tasks competing for our attention. It’s the job of an artist to focus on the right things and ignore the distractions.

050: How to Do a Do-Over: Interview with Jon Acuff

This week on The Portfolio Life I talk with my friend Jon Acuff about his new book Do Over. Jon and I talk about starting over and how that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily starting from scratch.

Listen in as we talk about being brave, starting new things, and what it really takes to do a do-over.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below. (If you’re reading this via email, click here).

You can also listen at iTunes or on Stitcher.

What a “do-over” looks like

Jon Acuff is a New York Times bestselling author and someone I’ve followed for years. He’s also a good friend.

Jon’s story is that he got his dream job, wrote a book about it, and then walked away from it. Through the challenging and confusing experience of beginning again (which he shares in his latest book), he learned what bravery is all about.

During our conversation, we talked about comparison and the fear of missing out. In being a writer, there’s always the temptation to watch what others are doing and think you ought to be doing that, too. But just because something is working well for someone else doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

We often overfill our calendars and say yes to any opportunity that comes our way. But pretty soon, we’re no longer doing our best work. The way we get back to putting first things first, according to Jon, is to be honest.

Sometimes, it’s easier to tell people what they want to hear than to tell them the truth. Jon is an honest writer who cares about people. Relationships aren’t always easy, he admits; they’re often awkward and messy. But connecting with others is worth the struggle — there’s value in community.

Jon’s writing is full of humor and truth that’s presented in a way that’s easy to digest. “I share intuitive ideas in counterintuitive ways,” he told me. And I couldn’t agree more. That’s never been more evident than in his latest book, Do Over, released earlier this week. If you’re feeling stuck, this book will give you what you need to begin again.

Show highlights

In this episode, Jon and I discuss:

  • Why Jon walked away from his dream job
  • The struggle between telling the truth and saying things that will be shared
  • The benefits of community
  • The single most important thing authors need to remember
  • Jon’s biggest fears he’s currently facing
  • And so much more!


  • Jon’s blog
  • Do Over
  • Start
  • Quitter

Have you ever been stuck and in need of a do-over? Share in the comments.

Goins, Writer

Book Review: Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out by David Gelles

Mindful_Work_bookI was recently approached to read a galley of David Gelles’ new book on mindful work.  As this seemed a timely follow-up to the Happiness MOOC that I had completed late last year (and posted about here), I was happy to agree.  If Gelles’ name sounds familiar, it might be because he was a journalist for the Financial Times and continues his journalistic career today as a business writer for the New York Times.  A long-time practitioner of meditation himself, when Gelles’ began hearing stories of businesses incorporating mindfulness, meditation and/or yoga as a part of employee wellness and leadership effectiveness initiatives, he was intrigued enough to begin a quest which would stretch over a year to interview individuals participating in workplace meditation from as many corporations  as possible.  What results is an interesting narrative about the current state of mindfulness and meditation in the American workplace today.

More than just a treatise on the benefits of mindfulness both on an individual level (which he also discusses at some length), and for workplace effectiveness as a whole, Gelles explores the programs and innovative individuals at a number of different American corporations, providing an inside view of corporate mindfulness today. Corporations discussed include Apple, General Mills, Newman’s Own Organics, LinkedIn, Google, and Green Mountain Coffee to name a few.  Gelles also discusses the teachings of a number of the key influencers in the development of the mindfulness movement as well as exploring some of the newer research concerning the apparent influence of mindfulness practice on the neuroscience of the brain and its effects on supporting the body’s immune system and counteracting the symptoms of burnout.

At General Mills, we are given a peek into an executive mindfulness session led by Janice Marturano.  It is interesting to note that Maturano just published her first book last year entitled Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership;  while I have not yet had an opportunity to read her book, early reviews are extremely positive, including having her title named as a 2014 Nautilus Award Winner. Marturano is also the founder of a non-profit organization, the Institute for Mindful Leadership, offering retreats and workshops on the topic.

Gelles provides a very short set of instructions for individuals new to meditation on pages 258-259 (right after the Acknowledgements section of the book).  He also provides a number of resources for further exploration on the topic.  In addition to the Greater Good site from Berkeley and the Mindful Magazine, both of which I listed in my resources for the Happiness MOOC article, he lists a new (to me) site for academics wishing to follow the latest research in mindfulness: Mindfulness Research Monthly, a publication of the American Mindfulness Research Association. While much of the site is restricted to members, the Mindfulness Research Monthly journal is open access with issues back to 2010.  This is a valuable index for scholars in mindfulness topics.

I have been much more aware of mindfulness, meditation and positive psychology since completing the Happiness MOOC in December.  Like this author, I have been surprised by the frequency of topics of this ilk showing up in academic and business settings as well as in mainstream magazines and talk shows.  While I lack the formal training and intensive saturation retreats that Gelles has experienced, I have long been aware of the positive stress-busting benefits of contemplative music and yoga relaxation exercises. Participating in such exercises, I have felt the calming of inner chaos and the slowing of my heart beats as I focused on the yoga movement or music being played.  When I lived in the Eastern United States, I had a beachfront retreat center that I would visit for a day or weekend whenever I could.  Spending a day of quiet contemplation, I would become once again more fully aware of the immense power of the God of the universe, and how my troubles were just a small, incidental cog that would resolve themselves naturally when it was time.  The sound of the surf, the distant chimes from the meditation walk area, and the absence of the chaotic noise in my daily world all worked together in a unique healing way that I have missed since moving to a different part of the U.S.  This book was a good reminder of how I can bring moments from this experience into my workday even now, helping me to re-center and focus more clearly on the tasks before me.


Gelles, David. Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out. Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2015.

The post Book Review: Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out by David Gelles appeared first on Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians.

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Attributes and Procedure of Getting CPD Accreditation Status

The term Common Professional Development (CPD) is a well organized approach to acquiring the pre determined specialized education, knowledge, practical training practice for pursuing a certain profession that is mandatory in many countries including the UK. CPD requisites can pertain to several professions such as medical, judicial, research and fellowship programs, logistics and transport etc. as per the regulations in an institution or governmental laws. For instance, according to the CPD rules in practice in England and Wales, a legal executive or solicitor executing full time legal practice in the country (working 32 hours or more in a week), needs to complete at least 16 hours of CPD every year that will earn them 16 CPD points.

Obtaining CPD Accreditation

There are several authorized organizations that offer CPD accreditation programs. Before you proceed to acquire your accreditation it is mandatory to complete your CPD program with minimum attendance fulfillment, participation in several activities as a registered college/university candidate etc. Completing this formality will bestow the recognition of an accredited CPD provider status. More or less the following procedures are adopted by all major organizations that offer independent CPD accreditation to a professional.

Application: The first step is to register and apply for an independent CPD provider accreditation status. While applying the candidate will have to submit proof of attending the CPD program, details, of participation in activities, hours completed etc.

Review: The institute awarding accreditation will take about a month of time to review the certificates and credential submitted to verify the authenticity of the documents before processing the application to the final stage where the accreditation awarded to the CPD provider.

Accreditation Awarding and Conditions: The final stage is the accreditation awarding when the candidate is assigned a particular date when he will receive the status of accredited independent CPD provider and gain the privilege of promoting himself in the professional domain to set a milestone in his career. He will then have the facility to approach potential clients or join any institute as an accredited member. To ensure that the accreditation remains valid for lifetime, keep updating it as and when there are any changes in the terms and conditions introduced in the regulations of the particular profession.

  • Gain better client prospects as an established accredited professional
  • Beat the competitors in the professional world and get exposure to premium career opportunities
  • Explore the new job opportunities for which you meet the criteria of accreditation requirements
  • Build a network of clientele with whom you can keep pursuing your profession with peak high progress

The CPD obligations are formulated in accordance with requirement of the essential and advanced skills and education to pursue any said profession with complete accuracy. Many organizations have strict codes for CPD fulfillment of the all the recruits. However the independent professionals not yet associated with any organization or enterprise, in their own interest can opt for taking CPD to ease out their way to getting hired and setting firm foot in the professional world.

Apprenticeships are also another route you can go down and with Gordan Franks Birmingham apprenticeships it is easier than ever before.