Why Every Writer Should Think Like A Scientist

If you’re a writer you’ve been a failure. No matter if you’re a New York Times Best-Selling Author or just starting out you wrote an article, short story, book or blog post, and it was rejected or not excepted by your audience.

It’s easy to feel like a failure. I know I have.  No matter if it’s merely a blog post that got poor traffic, feeling rejected can be crushing. I know several writers that have given up because of it.

If you’re a writer who has given up or you are feeling a mountain of discouragement on your back because of constant rejection, I’d like to propose a change of mind to you.

You are not a writer, blogger, essayist, or novelist. You are in fact a scientist. Let me explain.


We are experimenting. We are doing our best to tell stories and introduce ideas to see how they will be received.

There is a famous quote by Thomas Eddison ( this is the best source I could find) where he says he did not fail to invent a lightbulb 10,000 times, he found 10,000 ways light bulbs didn’t work. Failure taught Eddison to innovate, to try different methods.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your take, there is no manual to writing. You can’t follow X Y Z and produce a great book. You can have mentors and guidelines but you must figure it out on your own.

So if you are discouraged, work backwards, reverse engineer your story. Ask friends what went wrong, remove parts, see what your can do to make it move faster, tighten up the grammar.

If you do this it can be a healthy way to separate yourself from your work to lessen the blow on each rejection. It can also help make writing fun again and ignite the thrill of the chase.

Who knows were you might end up if you simply persevere?

7000 Words In 7 Days Completed

When I announced I was going to do a My Novel Recommit challenge to get back to writing every day again, I didn’t realize I’d selected one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a while at home and at work to do it.

But I did it. 7012 words in 7 days.

Photo Credit: ®DS via Compfight cc

Many days I wrote until 1230am was up in the middle of the night with kids and then up at 630. It was rough. In the middle I knew I couldn’t do it. In the end I powered through. It’s always a thrill to meet a deadline.

If you joined me in the challenge, thank you. You helped me stay accountable. Special thanks to Maria Berg for competing.

I am going to put the books on the backburner for the next two weeks as I finish the preparations on my talk at the Breathe Writers Conference on Worldbuilding. I’ll tell you more about it later.

What I learned the most from this writing challenge is that no matter the tools or limited time that you have you must keep writing. That is the one and only key to being a writer and for some reason its the hardest thing to do.

I hope you find sometime this weekend to write. Create a challenge or be ready when I put another one up on my blog next month.


What Do You Need To Take Your Writing To The Next Level?

We’ve all said it. If only I had ___ then I would absolutely be a better writer. Come on, out with it. If you had more money to buy the tools, more education, less responsibility, didn’t have to work full time, had 29 hours a day.

What is that one thing you need to take your writing to the next level?

Photo Credit: Dave Catchpole via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Dave Catchpole via Compfight cc

A lot of time we compare ourselves to the greats and that’s not fair. We say things like, if only I had the writing gumption like Stephen King, or if I could just live in Paris when Hemingway did, I’m sure I’d be able to write something grand.

The problem with this thinking is that we are not focused on what we can do right now. I am not talking about a can-do attitude, but more what we are capable of doing at this juncture in out lives. Could you write 7000 words in a week? Could you write 10,000? 2,000?

I’d like to circle back to the original statement above. What do you need to take your writing to the next level?

Does it have to be all or nothing or can you start with 200 words a day? Give up one TV show a week? Buy a portable keyboard and write in the notes section on your iphone at lunch? Can’t do an MFA what about a free Coursera class on story telling?

I believe, firmly, that you should begin exploring the path of the next level now so in three to five years to can be past that obstacle or more at peace with your schedule or financial situation. But it starts with knowing what you need or what your main challenge is. Then being creative enough to get around it or write within the confines of it.

My 7000 words in 7 days is what helps me. I needed a challenge to get me writing at full speed again. Thus far I’ve written 4113 in four days.

What do you need to get to the next level writer?

Do You Laugh At Or Fret Over Your Mistakes?

On yesterdays’ post, I made a hilarious typo. I am in the middle of a self imposed challenge called 7000 words in 7 days (Yesterday was great, I finished at 1012 words) and instead of writing 7000 words in 7 days, I typed 7000 words in 7000 days. Three or four times.

chatter teeth 1

I got comment on my blog that said 7000 words in 7000 days? I also had the same correction on the link to my FaceBook page. I’m tired and I laughed it off.

This morning I woke up and thought, why did I do that? Five years ago I would have been mortified that I shared that with the entire internet. I’d worry about it, fret over it, try desperately to change it and make it look right.

Why are we so afraid of what others think? Of looking unprofessional, or more accurately, of looking normal?

Failure or errors or inconsistencies are all part of being human. We have this imperfect perfectness about us. But we all make mistakes and thankfully I am at a place where I can laugh at them now. It even inspired this blog post.

I hope this inspires you to laugh more. Also you can get working on a novel and just work at the slow pace of 7000 words in 7000 days.

How Committed Are You To Your Book?

Have you ever been intimidated by another writer? Not their presence or their writing, but their commitment to the craft? It happened to me yesterday.

I picked up the last book in a series – The Books of Beginning – titled The Black Reckoning by John Stephens at the library. I like to read the author bio in the back of books to see what else they have written and get to know them a little. This ritual proved crushing.

I wish I never picked up his book nor turned to the back flap.

I was shocked by what I read.

The Black Reckoning

On the dust jacket, it mentioned, casually, that John Stephens woke up at 4AM to write the Emerald Atlas (the first book in this series) before leaving for work each day. Wait. What?



Imagine with me for a second if you could do this. Take that, multiply by seven, add another five hours for a writing night or long afternoon and that’s twenty hours of writing each week. How much could you write? How fast could you finish?

My first thought is that 4AM is impossible. I have two children that wake up through the night. But what if I could make it work for a week? A month? That would give me eighty hours of writing time.

I know this is probably not sustainable, but it makes me think. How dedicated am I to my books, blog, or any other area of my life? I want the easy path but I know I must choose the most difficult one at times.

How much time do you dedicate to writing? Is it enough? If you need more time, what could you cut out of your life to recapture the lost time?

My Writing Update

The JOT Conference is THIS Saturday. I am busy planning, coordinating, and putting on the final touches. Not much other writing besides parts of a book I’m not ready to share about yet, blogging, and outlining my workshop for the Breathe Conference in early October.

My Posts This Week

Photo Credit: zpeckler via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: zpeckler via Compfight cc

Yesterday’s post highlighted what else but the delightful Jot Writers Conference! Click here for details and for the sign up.

Friday – Many times we plan for the day, week, or month. But writing or blogging is something the builds over time. Are you writing with that distant goal in mind, or the quick hit?

Thursday – White Space is the space where you plan and grow and clear you head. In today’s world it’s hard to find space moment for this. But in life there are ebbs and flows like the tide. Time to produce time to play and time to plan. Remember to invest in White Space.

Wednesday – You’ve heard the old saying – you never know if you don’t try – a billion times. Often these pieces of sage advice wear thin and become dull. But this one still carries it’s luster as you’ll learn. Read the post here.

On Tuesday it was all about change. We want to grow here, travel there, and change this habit. But how does one make changes that stick and maintain growth that endures? Learn here.

Monday – Ever have that moment where you are caught with a compelling idea for a book but are thick in the middle of another one? Then it’s followed by a conga line of killer blog posts tiles that just won’t keep quiet? I have. Here is how you can stay focused on the task at hand and also collect all of these ideas.

I hope to see you this week at the Jot Writer’s Conference or in the comments section in future posts.

Do the things that matter longer than a day.

Write well this week.