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Building a Life Out of Words [Kindle Edition]

Shawn Smucker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99

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Book Description

There are times when life doesn’t turn out as you expected. Then there are times when life punches you in the gut, takes your wallet, and leaves you hanging upside down by your toenails.

2009 was one of those times for me (the gut-punching kind). My construction business faltered after the housing bubble burst, and my wife and I found ourselves in $50,000 worth of debt. Then came the toughest decision of our young lives: we left the community we loved and moved into my parents' basement in search of a simpler life.

Part of the change included laying aside my aspirations for wealth and taking up the vocation of my dreams: I would try to make money writing full time. This is the story of my first year doing exactly that.

I would try to build a life out of words.

Also included in the book are nine essays from folks who make money writing – they share unique tips on how to find writing work and how to improve your craft. Contributors include Andi Cumbo, Bryan Allain, Ed Cyzewski, Jason Boyett, Jeff Goins, Jennifer Luitwieler, Ken Mueller, Kristin Tennant, and Stacy Barton.

Product Details

  • File Size: 183 KB
  • Print Length: 91 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JWIM16
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,027 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and motivational May 7, 2012
By kelsey
Format:Kindle Edition
A friend of mine suggested this book and I'm so glad he did. While I especially connected with this book as an aspiring writer, I believe it's relevant to anyone looking to live out their dreams.
Building a Life Out of Words is short, but overflowing with wisdom and insight on how to live a life of meaning and purpose. Anyone who needs a kick in the butt to spur them on, this book's for you!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words Well Spent April 26, 2012
By GwynW
Format:Kindle Edition
Every chapter was a new adventure, a new insight or a wonderful bit of writing! I found this book through Jeff Goins @ [...] and read it on a Sunday afternoon, and there couldn't have been a better use of that time. I'm encouraged, inspired and hopeful. I'm also thrilled we get to follow Shawn and his family as they continue leaving conformity behind and following the path set before them.

Great book and message!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this. Worth every penny! May 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Shawn's captivating style draws you right into his family's story of faith, stepping out to live a lifelong dream of writing for a living. This book is definitely not only for authors--you will be inspired to take a second look at the dreams you may have already laid aside as foolish or impossible. Incredibly personal, this book is like a living extension of the author. In my opinion, worth more than $3.99. You know you want to read it, so go ahead and buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational March 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Very inspiring biography by Shawn Smucker who is struggling between finding a steady income to support himself, a wife and four kids or finding his passion, abandoning the idea of being a home owner with a 9 to 5 job and becoming a full time writer. This book is the journey of his struggles of his first year and how he finds his niche, gains ideas for income and refers to the journeys of his colleagues, other writers who have had similar struggles and how they got through them. This is an excellent book to lend inspiration to the struggling writer in making the decision to write rather than finding a less exciting job but with steadier income and security. This story is an honest account portrayed very realistically, the chapters were well organized, and the content was clearly written and compelling to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Transparent Look at the Struggles of a Writer's Launch September 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Often times when life throws us a curve ball, out natural tendency is to find some corner somewhere, cry in cup of coffee, and sing our favorite verse of poor, poor me. But what if we drew a deep breath, stepped back, and considered for a minute how we could use this opportunity to make a positive change of direction in our lives?

Shawn Smucker was faced with such a situation. After returning from four years of managing a large business in England, he felt lost working 10 hour days painting houses and living in his parent’s basement with his wife and two children. When his aunt called out of the blue and asked him to write her life story, he had no idea how his life would be impacted. He approached the project tentatively lacking the confidence of a career writer. But when a publisher reviewed the initial two chapters that he had written, the publisher contacted him wanting him to write the book. Had he pursued other unrelated temporary opportunities, his writing career would have never launched. That first published book led to a second and eventually to a successful career in writing.

Building a Life Out of Words is a transparent look at the struggles of a 29 year old husband and father attempting to establish himself as a professional writer and the self doubts and second guesses that come along the way. It is a very encouraging story to those of us writing and wondering where the path will lead us.

His final line in the book is the most encouraging of all, “I hope that you will be known as a person who lives. Really lives. Someone who makes decisions, not based on what’s expected, but on what’s possible. Someone who does things, not because everyone else is doing them, but because it’s what you want to do more than anything else in the world. Now that would be a life worth living.”
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very powerful read for the aspiring writer. May 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a very quick read. Shawn's stories of his year of living the writers life were inspiring and interesting. Shawn is a very religious person and this comes through in his writing; however, it is not off putting for a secularist. There were parts where I felt like crying. There were parts where I felt like cheering. All in all a great read.

This book happened to really strike a chord for me as I am in a similar situation. I am trying to find my chops as a writer. This couldn't have come at a more opportune moment in my personal development. This book is not only about writing, one could read it as an instruction manual in living a more fulfilling life. Thank you Shawn for writing this book. I hope that you keep living your life of words.

All the best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Encouraged me to stick with it! May 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love Shawn's storytelling, and how well the stories connected with my own journey as a writer! I would definitely say that this is a must-read for anyone who aspires to b a writer. It's really helped me understand the reality of being not only a writer, but any kind of freelancer. And it's encouraged me to stick to it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars want more, more! April 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
wonderful, just love his writing, want more, he has a good slant on life, making realty sometimes to ponder, sometimes to laugh.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you feel like almost anyone could do the same thing
Inspirational. Makes you feel like almost anyone could do the same thing.
Published 1 month ago by P. Hermes
5.0 out of 5 stars Encouragement for writers
An encouraging book for those who think writing for a living is a crazy dream. Shawn's story is full of ups and downs, twists and turns and practical advice, as well as advice... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lisa Bartelt
4.0 out of 5 stars inspiring
Short, easy inspiring read. Enjoyed Smucker's journey from aspiring writer to living the adventure. It's easy if you keep your dream alive and don't give in to the self-doubt we... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Yankee Woman
5.0 out of 5 stars I Want to Live Next Door to Shawn
Everything Shawn Smucker writes is articulate, engaging, and worth your time to read. I was cheering for him and his family throughout "Building a Life Out of Words" and as... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Diane R
5.0 out of 5 stars Building a Life Out of Words
All I can say is WOW. I didn't know what to expect but this was a great read. I highly recommend it to anyone. Read more
Published on April 3, 2013 by TBL
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing On A Shoestring And A Prayer
Shawn Smucker's story of Building A Life Out Of Words asks the question - What Are You Willing To Sacrifice To Become A Full-Time Writer? Read more
Published on March 29, 2013 by StevieV
5.0 out of 5 stars WORDS can change your world!
WORDS can and do change your world. Shawn Smucker proves this in his thoughtful and thought-FULL book "Building A Life Out of Words". Read more
Published on March 27, 2013 by j.a. sellers
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This book is an inspiration for the aspiring writer. Like Shawn Smucker, I have spent several years since graduating college
trying to find a career niche, lately considering... Read more
Published on March 27, 2013 by Lisa G
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More About the Author

I think everyone's looking for a place in the world - not a physical location as much as an emotional one. Just a tiny bit of space to set up shop, to exist.

Life hinted at where that space would be for me when I was a small boy and books picked me up and carried me away. If you came looking for me in the mid-80s you would have found me sitting on a large porch attached to a ramshackle farmhouse, reading about Narnia or the Shire, brushing away the flies, constantly saying, "Okay, mom, just one more chapter."

But then, normal life, with all of its misleading promises and plastic desires, got in the way. I wandered. Geographically, I went to a hot city in Florida, an old village in England, and then back to Virginia. Emotionally, I traveled even further. Finally, after ten years of searching, I found stories again. Or maybe they found me.

Now I live in that place I was always trying to find. I wake up beside my beautiful wife, Maile. I make breakfast for my four children. I spend the rest of the day capturing stories, doing what Steinbeck called the impossible: trying to explain the inexplicable. Trying to turn ideas into symbols.

Thanks for visiting my tiny bit of space. I'd love to hear about yours.

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