How Robert Fulton Can Help You Be a Great Writer

“The impossible exists only until we find a way to make it possible” — Mike Horn

Jesús Salazar
5 min readNov 14, 2020


Clermont, the first steam ship, designed by Robert Fulton, 1807. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Most of us have dreams and goals that we want to achieve.

And in a special moment, we begin to mold that idea in our mind, which sticks to our thoughts and makes us convince ourselves that we can make it happen.

But you know that you don’t live alone in this world, and at some point, you might share your plans and that’s where the attack begins.

Not everyone will share your same thinking. And the negative comments are not long in coming, and soon they are coming to do their evil work.

Maybe that’s why James Earl Jones said:

“Actors never discuss future plans.”

That is why you cannot allow anything or anyone to discourage you and continue walking in the direction of the goal you want to achieve in life.

Your determination is the one that will take the helm of your life and you will reach a safe harbor.

Now I want to introduce you to Robert Fulton the man no one could stop, and he managed to achieve what most believed impossible.

Who was Robert Fulton?

Portrait of Robert Fulton (1765–1815) American inventor. Robert Fulton / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Robert Fulton, was born (coincidentally today) on November 14, but in 1765, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania [United States], and died on February 24, 1815, New York, New York).

He was a great American inventor, engineer, and artist.

Fulton was the son of Irish immigrants.

A farm that his family owned was lost to foreclosure in 1771, and the family moved to Lancaster, his father sadly dying years later in 1774.

Fulton learned to read and write at home, then was sent to a Quaker school at age eight. Where he later became an apprentice at a Philadelphia jewelry store.

In that jewelry store, he learned to paint miniature portraits on ivory for medallions and rings.

Fulton went to Bath, Virginia, and there the young man’s paintings — tall, elegant, and talkative — were admired by many who advised him to study in Europe.

Although Fulton’s reception in London was cordial, his paintings made little impression; They did not impress or display the style or promise necessary to achieve fame and riches.

How the impossible began to enter his mind?

Robert Fulton was crazy. Everybody said it.

The poor man thought that a ship could move using steam. Until 1807, the year Fulton made his initial demonstration, steam engines had powered cloth mills, but not ships.

The idea that any other resource than the wind could move a ship was ridiculous, absurd and simply insane.

When Fulton began testing his project, his friends and family were under the impression that the ship was going to explode. As Fulton himself would say years later, the word “disaster” read on their faces.

Fulton ignored them and the initial trip left from New York to reach Albany, against the current of the Hudson River.

Fulton’s steamboat was not shaped like an elegant yacht. It was flat-bottomed with a square stern and paddle wheels installed on both sides at mid-hull height.

On Feb. 9, 1811, American inventor Robert Fulton received a supplementary patent for his revolutionary steamboat, the Clermont. | LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

When the steamboat set sail on its first voyage, people said that:

“It looked like a sawmill that had been set on fire and installed on top of a raft.”

The boat moved along the river for 24 hours before stopping in Clermont, where the passengers spent the night. The next day they continued upriver until they reached Albany, where they were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd.

Fulton’s steamboat had accomplished the impossible: traveling more than 200 kilometers in approximately 32 hours, with an average speed of 8 kilometers per hour.

At that time, a sailing ship took 4 days to travel the same distance.

No one believed that steam would move a ship, until Fulton proved otherwise.

Takeaway Insight for Writers

I do not know what stage or phase of your life, you are in your career as a writer.

But, I am sure that there are many goals and dreams in your mind, that perhaps you have not yet been able to achieve.

Possibly, you have commented your plans to a friend or a relative, about your wishes to write for a well-known publication, or your plans to write a book and manage to turn it into a famous literary piece.

Whatever your case, you may have faced a cold and ruthless response of discouragement or perhaps you were told that you are crazy, like our friend Robert Fulton.

For their minds your ideas are impossible, but what matters most is what you think and want to achieve with them.

As Mike Horn said:

“The impossible exists only until we find a way to make it possible”

What to do:

  • Do not give up.
  • Keep going.

Let nothing and no one stop you, that the plans you have as a great writer, you are going to make them come true.

Just as Robert Fulton managed to make steam move a ship a reality.

You can make your goals come true.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Francis of Assisi



Jesús Salazar

Late night writer🌙 Internet enthusiast 💻 Active reader 📖 Researcher 🔎 Bibliophile 📚 “Creativity Is Intelligence Having Fun” —Albert Einstein 💡