Every story is about one thing, the arc of the character. What I mean by that is unless the hero changes, you’ve got no story. They have to be cowardly at the beginning and brave at the end, or selfish at the beginning and altruistic at the end. Something in the character has to change or the audience loses interest.
When novelists sit down to write a narrative, there is a question they ask themselves in order to create exciting and meaningful stories, and that same question can also create a more exciting and meaningful life. That question is: “What if?”
J.R.R. Tolkien once asked the question “What if” there existed a place called Middle Earth, and “What if” Middle Earth were under threat? Every good story begins with some form of this question, and so does every life.
If you want to write a book about physics, you’ll have to know a lot about physics. And the same goes for psychology and botany. But to write a humane book, be it fiction or memoir, all you really need to know is your own story.
We read books for different reasons, sometimes to learn a craft or for a perspective on current events, but most of the…
Recently I read (listened to on audio) Willpower by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney and took great interest in their findings about how willpower actually works. Citing study after study (perhaps too many for an otherwise enjoyable read) Baumeister and Tierney argue willpower actually comes from the muscle of the mind and that it can be strengthened.
I’ve been working behind the scenes for a year on something so special that it drove me crazy not to talk about it. I NOW HAVE A PODCAST! The podcast is called Building a Story Brand and it’s all about standing out in a sea of noise. In the first season, I talk with Dave […]
Since I was a kid I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to change the world. I didn’t know how, and honestly I didn’t know why, but I wanted to have an impact.
That desire evolved over the years from an identity struggle where, though I would never have admitted it, I really just wanted to be known and important, to a more sincere desire to see peoples lives changed for the better. I’d say I’m still experiencing that evolution. It will always be a percentage game. None of us are pure in our motives. But we keep working all the same.
Every working day I fill out a Storyline Productivity Schedule and one of the things it disciplines me to do is to make two lists. The first is a list called “If I Could Live Today Over Again I’d” and the other is a list of “Things I Get to Enjoy Today”
The things I write on those lists don’t come naturally. I’m forced to sit and […]
Writing books is a no-feedback game. Certainly you can ask friends to review your work, but that’s dangerous. The truth is you know when it’s good and you know when it’s not and if you’re asking for opinions you’re likely not doing your best work.
One of the main problems I deal with is trying to manage too many projects. And most of those projects are big. If you’re like me, you have trouble breaking down massive projects into manageable pieces and executing each piece well. And when I can’t break things down easily, I tend to freeze. This creates obvious problems. But I learned something from Dr. Henry Cloud awhile back that helped tremendously.
Have you ever tried to quit a bad habit but went right back after the first relapse? Let’s say you’re quitting caffeine, then a bleary day hits and you have that one cup of coffee, only to go right back to the old habit. It’s almost as though that first slip up lets go the flood. I used to be all or nothing about stuff like this but I recently had a conversation with Bill Lokey who helped me understand that relapses are actually part of the process of changing a behavior.
It’s the creators who understand they will not please 20% of the population who then have an amazing epiphany that changes their careers forever. And the epiphany is this: They start creating for the 80% who like their work rather than the 20% who don’t.