This summer I entered an online book tour contest to host the author of Wrecked on my blog…and I Won! I don’t win anything very often so this is a big deal for me. I tend to the be the 1 in 10,000 in a bad way usually.
I follow Jeff Goins’ blog, so of course I purchased his first book the day it released. Wrecked did not disappoint.
This was one of the first books I uploaded to my Kobo reader, and I read it in a day. I really enjoyed the thought-provoking style of his writing, and authenticity. He challenged my thinking in a number of ways. I regret buying the e-version now though, because there’s so many places I want to highlight and make notes in the margins…and I can’t 🙁 Maybe I’ll have to buy a paper version soon.
On the book’s release, Jeff launched a contest for those who had read the book and had their own blogs to host him for an interview or guest post based on a pitch you sent in.
The same week I stumbled upon his book tour contest, I heard a podcast Jeff did with Mitch Joel on Six Pixels of Separation (if you have an interest in marketing make sure you follow Mitch, he’s very funny and practical…and he’s CANADIAN 🙂 )
I came up with an idea for an interview and sent it in (a day after the contest closed – ooops). The next day I received this email:
Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to participate in the online book tour for Wrecked.
You are invited to host a Q&A. Here’s how it will work – send me a few questions that would be applicable to your readers, I’ll answer and send them back…
**Jeff, if everyone got an interview don’t wreck this for me. 😛
It’s taken him a bit to get to me, but worth the wait IMO. Hope you enjoy!
LHW: There’s many theories (and studies have been done) supporting the idea that Creatives (writer’s in particular, but not limited to) are tortured souls. The list of authors coming from abusive childhoods, struggling with addictions of a variety of sorts and mental disorders, including depression, is long. Would you say those writers were ‘wrecked’ or would you define wrecked another way?
JG: That’s a great question. I have a more redemptive view of being wrecked. Certainly, there is pain in life that cannot be explained. There are situations that expose us to incomprehensible suffering. Getting wrecked means more than that.
I would never attempt to explain away someone else’s pain or say that it was good. What I would say is anything that happens to us is not beyond redemption; it can be used for good, in some way.
To be wrecked, quite simply, is to be made uncomfortable. This means that the experience doesn’t devastate you (even if it’s a devastating experience); it empowers you. A wrecked experience shifts your worldview away from self and onto the bigger picture of the world around you. It isn’t easy, nor does it feel good — but it is good.
LHW: You defined wrecked as: to intentionally step into discomfort and live in that tension. How could being ‘wrecked’ in this sense, help or hinder a writer? Do you think being wrecked is a valuable (or required) experience for a writer?
JG: I think it’s essential. Writers need empathy. They need to write stories and messages that meet people where they’re at and give them hope. Connection is a must for a writer who wants her words to matter.
What’s the best way to do this? To actually feel what you write about. In other words, you can’t fake it. Having a wrecked experience is a great way to make you sensitive to other people’s needs.
LHW: In a podcast interview with Twist Image’s Mitch Joel you said, “Creativity comes out of hardship, out of strife.” What did you mean by that? What advice would you give writers concerning this?
JG: I read the Bible. In it, the book of Genesis gives the account that God creates the universe out of chaos. This is an age-old philosophical debate: did God create the chaos or merely shape it? What’s interesting is that the chaos was there, regardless. This is an allegory for all creative processes; we must begin with a mess.
Messes aren’t clean or easy to manage. They are chaotic. It is the artist’s job not to tame the chaos, but find a way to hover above it (just like God) and bring some order to it — that’s the creative process.
LHW: My blog tagline is “Blogging Through The Fire” and I like to dive deep and honestly write about difficult issues and situations – experiences that wreck us (because the truth sets us free). Do you think that, as a writer, your writing has improved or been deepened by your own exploration of the situations and circumstances that wrecked you? Have these experiences affected your writing in any way?
JG: Love that name.
To answer your question: definitely. The more I become a better person by listening to other people’s stories and making them feel like they matter, the better writer I become.
For me, writing is deeply personal and intimate. The more I get in touch with how I feel and what gives other people hope and encouragement, the more I know what to write and how to write.
Writing is a tool that makes us feel more human, so it stands to reason that the more human we feel, the better we will write.
What do you think – should writers be wrecked? Does being a tortured soul make our writing better, more authentic, more realistic?
If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy my interview with James Scott Bell on why there’s never been a better time to be a writer.
I blog when I have something to say, not on a set schedule. Make sure you don’t miss any posts by subscribing using the box below to have updates arrive in your inbox. I would love to meet and chat, find me on Facebook here.