10 Things I Learned from Andrew DeYoung, award-winning author of “The Exo Project” (Persuasion Play Podcast episode 002)

Andrew DeYoung has wanted to be a writer since he started reading Chapter Books in grade school.

And while Andrew’s been a writer for decades, his first published novel has made a splash.

The Exo Project was the winner of the 2017 Minnesota Book Awards for Young Adult Literature! Congratulations Andrew!


I am lucky enough to live across the street from Andrew. We spent an evening together drinking whiskey, chatting about his writing, and discussing the need for validation that comes with the creative process.

Check it out!


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Andrew DeYoung and Jeffrey Thomas, 2018-01

Ten Things I Learned from
Andrew DeYoung:

  1. Telling a story is: Someone Wants Something. You must get into the heads of your characters to understand their motivations. How are your characters going to act to realize those desires, in this moment?
  2. Outlines to your book (or other work) must be flexible. As you learn about the story you’re writing and the characters’ motivations, you have to be able to change your outline to match your developing story.
  3. Novels are 60,000 to 90,000 words. Plugging away and writing a thousand words per day, three or four times per week, you can complete a novel in 3 to 4 months. Anyone can do it if they’re willing to put in the work.
  4. Small steps, simple goals. If you can’t reach that day’s goal of 1,000 words, lessen the goal to 500 words, or 200 words. The point is to build a system to keep moving with forward momentum, rather than struggling with a large, intimidating goal.
  5. Reward yourself for small steps. Even the small ‘ding’ that signifies your 1,000 words for the day can provide that dopamine hit. Build enjoyable habits to create a positive feedback loop!
  6. “Achieving your goal doesn’t fix you.” Reaching our goals doesn’t satisfy that need for validation of our efforts. There is always a bigger validation to reach. Instead, try to find pleasure in the process:“’How Many Books Am I Selling?’ It’s easy to get caught up in that thinking. But that thinking isn’t conducive to doing the work. It’s easy to get caught up and then stop. It’s the people that stay in the game who ultimately get those rewards that we’re all chasing.”
  7. “You don’t need anyone to give you permission to do the Thing.” You don’t need permission to Create. Expressing yourself is a sense of self-discovery. Get out there and do it. Do it for yourself.
  8. “I’m just Gardening…. I have my hands in the dirt, trying to make something come to life. I’m getting some enjoyment and flow out of it. If the only thing that ever happens is I get to see some flowers, that’s fine.” Andrew learned this from another author and I’m happy Andrew shared the perspective.
  9. Short-circuit any Impostor Syndrome by approaching writing from the perspective of “I’m Learning, and Here to Share it with You.” This idea comes from Jeff Goins.
  10. Self Talk ABCs: You might come up against an Activating Event (A), which triggers a False Belief (B), which you must them Counter (C) with a different way of thinking. Being conscience and “above” the Activating Event can drain the power of that Activating Event.


You can find Andrew on his website AndrewDeYoung.com, on Twitter, and Facebook. If you’re interested in the creative process, I suggest signing up for his Tiny Letter at TinyLetter.com/AndrewDeYoung.

Thank you Andrew for your time and energy. Congratulations on your nomination WIN at the 2017 Minnesota Book Awards for The Exo Project!

Listen as we discuss the creative process of writing, how Andrew gets into the heads of his characters, the ways Andrew motivates himself, and more!

Please enjoy the Persuasion Play Podcast with Andrew DeYoung:

This podcast episode is now available for only $67

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