Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

Write Often and Write Crap: A Writers Write Interview with Andy Traub

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I first met Andy Traub at the Quitter Conference in Nashville this past fall.  Recently, I was honored to edit his forthcoming book, and let me just say, I implemented – in a small way – his challenge this week, and wow, yep, I definitely found myself getting more done and enjoying the process. So read his interview and get his book. I think it might just change your life a little.

1. Tell me about your latest project.

My latest project is a challenge called Early To Rise: Learn to rise early in 30 days. A person buys the book on Amazon; then inside the book there are instructions on how to get 30 days of accountability via email as well as access to the audio version of the book. My goal is to really encourage and empower people to change the time they wake up in the morning. So the book is more than a book; it’s a vessel for encouragement. I personally hate getting up early, but after I’m up it’s the most productive time of my day for reading, thinking, and writing. I also have three very young children, so that early morning time is perfect for finding quiet in a home that is rarely quiet.

2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?

I’m sure my mom and dad read to me as a kid, and I read a fair amount as a kid, but I wish I would have read more. I was the generation that got Nintendo at home for the first time, so I spent a lot of time doing that instead of reading.

3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?

Write often, and write crap. I’m not afraid to write junk because I can go back and edit it down to find the good stuff. The key is to write when I don’t want to because I rarely have the confidence to write, but I try to do it anyway.

4. Who are you reading now?

Finishing The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. It’s his best book. I’m also reading Beyond Ordinary, a book my friends wrote about their marriage journey which is pretty eye opening. There was an affair with the wife’s best friend, and he is a pastor so that added another layer to the story. God helped renew their marriage, and it’s a great story of how we can prevent that from happening in our lives and how God can redeem broken people and relationships. I’m starting a podcast with them next month, and I’m very excited about more people hearing their story.

5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?

Linchpin – It taught me that I can matter.
Traveler’s Gift – There are principles that are always true and if we will follow them our lives will radically change. That book taught me those principles.
Anything You Want – A very simple book about building a business the way you want to vs. the way you think you should.

6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?

I just write. I’m not a good planner, so when in doubt, I just try to write more. I could do a better job at strategy, but when in doubt, I just create my art and hope it sticks.

7.What is a typical day like for you?

Don’t have one. I have three kids under 5 and own my own consulting, podcasting business. No two days ever look the same. What I try to do is wake up early whenever I can (5am), do my reading, writing, and dreaming. Then, I help with my kids till around 8am. I work till 4pm because my wife and I decided that’s when she needs me home and I’m not that productive after 4pm anyway.

8. Describe your dream writing space.

I’m still struggling to write consistently,  so I don’t think I have a dream writing space. I can probably write anywhere actually.

9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?

I’ll tell you in a month after my book has been out and somebody has trashed it.

10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?

The tools are a distraction and an excuse. Great writers don’t need great tools. They need to write.
Perfection is an excuse, too. Perfection will never happen. Editors are great. Time is great. Typos are bad. At some point, you have to ship, and that means it’s not perfect but shipped imperfection counts. Unshipped doesn’t count.

Andy Traub has built his business in the middle of nowhere. He and his wife life in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with their three kids. In 2011, Andy founded the Take Permission Media Network. He is known all around the world for his Unofficial Linchpin Podcast which he started with Seth Godin’s permission after his book Linchpin was released. Andy’s conversational interviewing style attracts brands that hire him to help create a presence on iTunes through podcasts. Because Andy is a solopreneur, he understands their needs and has created multiple digital tools for entrepreneurs looking to jump start their digital presence. You can find all of Andy’s shows on iTunes and learn more about his content at TakePermission.com

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Author: Andi

I am a writer, editor, and writing teacher whose most recent book, The Slaves Have Names, tells the story of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised. When I'm not working, my husband and I are working to make our small farm - God's Whisper Farm - a retreat here at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • http://christopherbattles.net Christopher Battles

    Thank you Andi and Andy.
    I am just getting to the part in his book where he asks his readers to write a bit. This idea scares me, even though I now like to read and share ideas. The more history is written the more that can be taught with it. I am a morning person, but not a 5am morning person until this book. It is still a struggle, but the benefit with all the technology today is being able to encourage others on similar jouneys. The book is worth the buy and you will learn a lot about yourself and those around you.

  • http://www.riverwoodwriter.com Elizabeth Cottrell

    Terrific interview, Andy and Andi – “Write often and write crap” is the same advice I got from James Chartrand (Men With Pens) in her fantastic Damn Fine Words writing class.
    Elizabeth Cottrell recently posted…Don’t Fall For This Facebook TrapMy Profile

  • http://KatieAxelson.com Katie Axelson

    Thanks Andi/y!
    Katie Axelson recently posted…Sound SongMy Profile

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry The Deuce

    Andi, I especially love the interviews you do with other writers and the encouragement it brings. I like the write often and write crap statement of Andy’s. Great post!!!
    Larry The Deuce recently posted…Sanctity Of Human Life SundayMy Profile

  • http://www.annepeterson.com Anne Peterson

    I loved this interview. Thank you Andi/Andy. I especially liked his advice to write often and write crap. As he said, the good stuff is in there. Andy has a heart for writing and one for encouraging other writers. Thanks so much for this post!

  • http://tammyhelfrich.com Tammy Helfrich

    My two favorite Andi(y)’s on one blog! Great interview.

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