John: "Jeff, you said you were spinning your wheels as a writer/blogger for around 5 years, and not at all happy with your efforts. Since then, you've had rapid acceleration reaching legions of followers. Was it an epiphanous moment, a light bulb going off, you remembering exactly where you were, or was it more of an evolution?"
Jeff: "It was actually a surprise. I feel like I've been doing what I've always been doing, but now more people are noticing. Of course, that's not true, but it's how I felt. It was only when a friend told me that I'd found my voice did I realize how much I had grown as a writer in the past several years. So for me, there was no big moment of epiphany. I just tried to keep my head down and stay busy working, but after a year and a half, I lifted my head up and was shocked to see how far I came. Contrast that with the previous five years, and I was ALWAYS checking my status and progress. I really think success is tied closely to loving the work and not getting too obsessed with results."
John: "Jeff, Your writing style. When you write, how do you strike a balance between structure and creativity? How much do you depend on outline, or allow free flow?"
Jeff: "I start messy and bring structure to it as I go. I'll free write for awhile, find an idea that resonates and then fixate on that. After a short while, I create an outline to help guide the process and put a little bit of structure around the idea. For the most part, I believe that ideas just come and it's our job to capture them. In my experience, creativity often happens best with a few restrictions. So I limit myself to make the work more creative.
John: "You're a difference maker. I'm trying to be. What advice would you give me, or any of my readers, to inspire change; what I think of as a 'change reaction'?"
Jeff: "You gotta live it. Whatever you're calling people to, whatever you're challenging them with — it has to be a part of your life. That's called integrity, and it's more rare than we realize."
John: "You're from the South, Alabama, but you've spent time in the North. How do you think reconciliation, finally putting and end to the Civil War, can come about? I tongue and cheek blogged about it; (see 'Vacations for Blue and Red States,') but after I finished, I had this extreme feeling of wishing this would happen. Talk about being a difference maker! What are your feelings on this matter?"
Jeff: "Actually, I was born and raised in Chicago, but my dad's family is originally from AL. Honestly, I didn't realize there was still real tension between the North and South. In my context, I see some misunderstandings and cultural conflicts, but nothing life-or-death. That's not to say it doesn't exist; I just don't see it. That said, any kind of reconciliation usually involves humility and love. And those things are easy to talk about, but harder to practice."
John: "Finally, Jeff, tell us about your new book Wrecked, from the egg, to the toddler it is now racing up the charts?"
Jeff: "Wrecked is about the life that we're afraid to live. It's a call to find your purpose in life in the least likely of places: where there is discomfort and pain. None of us want to go to those places, but most of us would acknowledge that's where we grow. The book is a concise listing of several people who are living that kind of life and the lessons they're learning along the way. I share my own reflections, as well. I hope it inspires people to think differently about the work that they're called to do."
John: Thanks again, Jeff, for this opportunity, and for what you do everyday.
Jeff: "My pleasure, John!"
I urge you to visit Jeff's blog at http://www.goinswriter.com. There are always refreshing and inspiring thoughts on the pages.