I met both Jim Woods and Eric Fisher- as I meet most writers nowadays, online first. Then, I hung out with them in Nashville a while back. We talked writing and dreaming and cluttered up a hotel bar with our chatter. Good times. Now, they’ve co-authored a book, and I’m thrilled to have them on the blog today.
1. Tell me about your latest project.
Jim: Our latest project is a book called Ready Aim Fire! It is a book that takes you step by step through setting and achieving goals. I struggle with this myself, so I kept thinking, what would help me out? And that was my approach when writing this book.
Erik: I was sick of never making progress, or at least feeling like I was making any. This book helps the newbie as well as the seasoned goal setter recalibrate to move forward with more success in this area.
2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?
Jim: I loved going to the library and walking away with a stack of books. I read books about basketball, baseball, comic books, and every book about reptiles I could find. I enjoyed writing reports in school and even wrote a few blog posts before the term blog existed!
Erik: Tons. I read Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, Batman comics, The Chronicles of Narnia, and they all had a profound effect on me. All of these as well as history and English class taught me that I love to hear and tell stories.
3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?
Jim: My routine is always changing. I know that’s not ideal, but that’s reality with having a one-year old and a four-year old. In the ideal world, I like to write on the bus in the morning during my commute and in the afternoon when on the commute. If I can’t write at that time, then I will write on my lunch hour or in the evening when the kids go to bed.
Erik: I have to either do it first thing in the morning with coffee or mid-day on a walk dictating into my phone. Or, sometimes trying to sleep, ideas come then, which can be a blessing and a curse.
4. Who are you reading now?
Jim: I’m reading Good Bye To Survival Mode by Crystal Paine of Moneysavingmom.com. It is a really useful, practical book for anyone who feels overwhelmed. I’m loving it!
Erik: I’m reading Greater Expectations Frames by Claire Diaz-Ortiz. I love studying how to stay sane in the digital age.
5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?
Jim: My favorites include: Do The Work by Steven Pressfield, The Catcher in The Rye by JD Salinger, and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo. All of these books give the reader insight on how to craft a great story.
Erik: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, Getting Things Done by David Allen, and Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. These all push me to not just want to live a better life, but give me clues on how to do it.
6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?
Jim: Wow, I’ll be honest, this is really hard. I look at the platform as the audience. I try to connect as much as possible, but the writing always has to be first.
Erik: I think creating the content for the platform is more important than building a platform. I am progressing to focus more on actually writing when I have something to say versus building something to push it further with. Part of that is having been known in the podcasting space for a while, but mostly I believe good writing or art carries farther and builds bridges better than just platform building can.
7.What is a typical day like for you?
Jim: I wake up and try to ride the bus where I’ll write. If my kids wake up, I’ll hang with them as long as possible and drive to work instead. I always try to hustle on my lunch hour, which means I’m either working out, meeting with others for coffee, or writing.
Erik: Get up before the rest of the house does and do “me time” or kids’ time if they don’t stay in bed. Then, either get ready and go to work or on the weekends work on errands or projects and hope to relax.
8. Describe your dream writing space?
Jim: I can’t say I have one. I only need four things: my headphones, computer, time, and coffee—lots of coffee.
Erik: The car. I love listening to music or podcast as scenery passes, so probably a train trip would be ideal. I loved hearing about the recent Amtrak idea of giving writer’s residences.
9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?
Jim: I think the hardest writing critique I’ve ever received is asking for feedback and then getting silence. My mind wants to fill the silence with negativity since I am my own harshest critic. Thankfully, now I just keep writing instead of worrying about silence. The voices go away when I keep writing and do the work.
Erik: From a writing teacher in college, that I wasn’t applying myself. They were right. It hurt letting them down, so I asked to take some time and rework the piece. It got a higher grade. I decided that I would make sure to put the best effort I could into writing before letting others see it after that. That, and to have select people to trust for honest feedback.
10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?
Jim: Share good stories and help others. It’s that simple and that difficult.
Erik: Do interesting things that pull you out of your comfort zone, and then write down your thoughts and feelings as they emerge.
Jim Woods is a writer, dreamer, husband, and dad in Nashville TN. His passion lies in helping others turn ideas into action. He’d love to connect with you on his website jimwoodswrites.com or on Twitter @jimwoodswrites.
Erik Fisher is a Productivity Author, Broadcaster and Coach. Erik is the host of the highly ranked podcast ‘Beyond the To-Do List’ where he talks with people on all aspects of productivity, getting good work done, and living a good life, practically implementing productivity strategies in their professional and personal lives. For more info, connect with Erik on Twitter or find his podcast at Stitcher.