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Building a Life Out of Words, Shawn Smucker & Following Your Dreams

In 2009, my writer-friend Shawn Smucker found himself in a tough situation. His construction-based small business was in debt and the bursting housing bubble was making recovery from financial distress less and less likely. Shawn and his wife, Maile, decided that they would move their family of six into Shawn’s parent’s basement and attempt to find a way to reset their lives.

Shawn and Maile talked it through and decided that since they were in a re-setting mode, they might as well go all the way. Shawn had always dreamed of making a living by writing and this period of starting over became the opportunity to give it a try. The Smuckers decided to give “the writing thing” a try, for three months. If Shawn couldn’t make enough from writing, he’d go ahead and get a “normal” job.

You can read more about Shawn Smucker's first year of making his dream of earning a living from writing come true in his book, Building a Life Out of Words.

In his new book, Building a Life Out of Words, Shawn Smucker details his first year of making a living as a writer. Shawn’s story serves as a point of inspiration for anyone–writer, or not–who has dreamed of leaving the day-to-day of a job they don’t find rewarding.

The book is full of practical advice for people trying to transition into a new career path. (“Write first, worry later,” and “Having found the courage to make the leap into living out my dream, I now spent most of my time looking over my shoulder, wondering when the “real world” would catch up to me.”) There are, sprinkled throughout, practical bits of humor, as well. (“If you ever transition from normal employment to doing your own thing, be prepared for lots of talking to yourself.”)

In addition to learning along with Shawn and Maile, Building a Life Out of Words also includes 10 short essays from 9 other writers sharing their experience making money writing as well as their thoughts on the craft. Contributors are Andi Cumbo, Bryan Allain, Ed Cyzewski, Jason Boyett, Jeff Goins, Jennifer Luitwieler, Ken Mueller, Kristin Tennant, and Stacy Barton.

Building a Life Out of Words is available as an e-book for $3.99. The Kindle edition can be found if you follow the links to the book in this blog post. You can find more info about the book–and, purchase the Nook and PDF versions–by visiting Shawn’s online store page.

Or, you can WIN a free copy of Shawn’s book by doing the following:

  1. Share this blog post to Twitter or Facebook or G+ by using the “Feel Free To Share” buttons at the end of this article.

  2. Leave a comment in the comments section below saying, “I shared this blog post with my friends!” (Yes. I’ll accept other similar wording. Probably.)

That’s it. Share this post and let me know that you shared it. I’ll pick a winner from all of the entries and I’ll purchase a copy of the book for you and have it delivered wirelessly to your computer or e-reader. You have until Wednesday evening (Eastern USA) to share this post and enter the contest.

So, help spread the word and I’ll announce the winner Wednesday night.

Shawn Smucker blogs (almost) daily at He is currently traveling the country for four months with his wife and four children in a big, blue bus named Willie, looking for service opportunities as well as other writers to meet up with. You can find him on Facebook (Shawn Smucker, Writer) and Twitter (@shawnsmucker).

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