TGM 09: Meaning, Purpose and Discovering What Truly Matters in Life with Donald Miller

I remember when I first picked up Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz, in a Barnes and Noble more than 10 years ago. It changed my life and he's since become one of my favorite authors of all time.

I was thrilled to be able to sit down with him at his office in Nashville and talk about writing, business, life and how to figure out what really matters in all of it.

To say I was excited would be an understatement. I can’t even pick my favorite parts of this conversation because the whole thing was so good. But I’ll do my best.

Here are some of my favorite bits from the show:

On Writing and Work

“If there’s one thing I do it’s that I just try to communicate everything in a clear and compelling way.”

“Being a writer is very very difficult and I was just naive enough to *not* know I couldn’t do it.”

“Writing is a craft, as romantic as it is, it’s also the same kind of work that a plumber does. Just have to show up every day and do it well.”

“I was convinced the first book was gonna be a huge best-seller and it sold, like, 27 copies.”

“I emulated what I loved. Anne Lamott gave me courage and J.D. Salinger gave me a voice.

“You just have to do the work to write a really great book.”

“The year after the NYT best seller’s list was not an easy year. It was a hard year and somewhat depressing. Because I really thought that it would be Mecca, that it would be amazing. But when that happened it wasn’t as meaningful of an experience as I had hoped it would be. So I began to think about what am I looking for if it’s not success? What will feed me? what will validate me?”

“It took me another 10 years to get back to enjoying writing. I wrote books during that time, but they were labors. How are you going to produce your best work with the burden on your shoulders of your best work?”

On Goals

“I know now, it’s very dangerous to have a goal that you’re trying to reach. I like having a goal that I’m trying to pass through on the way to another goal. And that to me is much more helpful because you can celebrate passing through this goal and yet you still have something to do. We were designed in my opinion to stay in motion, to keep moving.”

“One of the most healing things you can do is have [work to do].

“I can’t remember the last time I was depressed because I wake up and have something to do and people who depend on me to do it. Who has to time to sit and reflect on the sadness of life? I’ve got stuff to do.”

“I’m not a big fan of ‘what now?’”

“If you don’t know what you’re doing with your life, then just try a bunch of stuff and see what lights you up.”

As always, I had a great time talking to Donald. Enjoy the show!

Bits & Bytes Mentioned in the Show

More About Donald


Published by Adam Clark on December 31, 2014

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