Sometimes it’s the little changes that count.
When we look at the same thing, but slightly differently,
we find new.

New perspective.
New ideas.
New possibilities.

One degree makes a difference.

In your work of art today, whether it be
with words
or paint
or a lens,
[[or your life]],

take a new look. Try a new approach.

If the first angle doesn’t work, no worries. There are an infinite number of ways to make it happen.

Even the slightest change — the slightest difference in perspective — can make your work [[and your life]] not only different…but better.

(Turn your perspective around. Good waits for you.)

* Thup

coffee8-sept20coffee1-sept20coffee12-sept20coffee3-sept20 coffee2-sept20 coffee5-sept20 coffee6-sept20 coffee7-sept20  coffeelast-sept20

Well. I’m letting you (and me) off the hook.
This isn’t about our personal character. (You know, the interior part of us, the part where integrity sits.)

And I’m not going to ask you where you’re from — your physical geography — the point on the map where you lay your head at night (as in the state of Michigan, where I live in the US, called “the mitten state” because it looks like a mitten).
This is about your story — your characters in that story.
Their personal, emotional states.
As in how we feel at any given moment.

Oh — and if you’re not a writer — keep reading, because
there’s something important here…
(it all makes sense when you read to the end).

There’s a not-so-secret secret to help you create compelling characters (and a compelling plot line, too).

(You ready?)

State doesn’t come from outside influences
(what people say or do “to” you).
Your personal state comes from you.

That’s right.
You and I create our own states.
(And your character will create his or her state.)

Like this…
eat computer or this happy at the computer

You create state in three ways (and they’re very cool, by the way):

1. Your focus. Answer me this: At any given moment, what are you thinking about — and what are you doing? Wherever you place your thoughts and energy on feeds your state.

2. Your language. And answer me this: What do you say to yourself, day after day, in your mind and out your mouth? Words are uber-powerful. What you think and say to yourself, in your head, matters. What you say toward others around you matters. Even what you say to objects — things — in the world around you matters. It all feeds your state.

3. Your physiology. One more question: How are you moving your body? Are you slumped and breathing shallowly — or are you sitting tall and taking in deep, full breaths? How you sit, stand, walk, breathe — and how you look on your face — it all feeds your state.

Your focus, your language, and your physiology.
All three ascribe meaning to your life.

(how you interpret the world)
(what you believe in the world)
(what you do in the world)

The coolest thing is this: Master your emotional state, and you can master your life.

So. Writers.
We want our characters to struggle, right?
If you want your character to wrestle with demons big time, then have him or her…

  • focus on past mistakes and hurts
  • focus on how they’ve been wronged, whether imagined or real
  • focus on impending doom in the future, whether imagined or real
  • focus on how someone will supposedly hurt them (imagine the worst)
  • focus on how everything will be bad, or go wrong, or have no solutions in the future (pessimism)
  • speak out negative imaginings
  • speak angrily, with disdain
  • curse people, things, and events
  • rehearse what went wrong — and what could go wrong
  • imagine the worst case scenario, then make decisions based on fear
  • sit still — don’t move
  • breathe shallowly
  • slump, hunch, slouch, drag, look down, sigh, frown, be static, stare, and stay in one spot

And if you want your character to gain momentum and grasp onto triumph, then have him or her…

  • focus on the present
  • focus on personal responsibility and personal growth
  • focus on the positive possibilities
  • focus on responding well him- or herself, not on how others are responding
  • focus on a faith-filled vision
  • speak out positive outcomes
  • speak with kindness, from though-based discernment
  • speak words of hope and faith over other people
  • rehearse what will go right in the future
  • imagine the best outcome — and all the other positive possibilities
  • move — act — get up and go
  • take deep breaths, with their eyes upward and smiling
  • stand tall, stride, grasp the sword, bound, be alert and quick, grin, be active, meet others’ eyes, and get going

Maybe this isn’t just about the characters on the page, after all.

* Thup

PS. Thank you to my dad (Hugh Brown) and Tony Robbins (who I’ve followed since he and I were young) for bringing these ever-so-cool life truths to my attention at an early age. Sure has made life easier and more enjoyable — and helped get through life’s ever-changing story arc. hugs to you both.

Here’s  a Vlog Minute for you…
And I want to know –
Do you use apps as part of your productivity plan?
Click here to watch. It’s short.

* Thup
So, one more thing…
can you tell by the video that I was in a really goofy mood and was laughing a lot beforehand?

Fun times — these videos are a hoot to make. A serious hoot. (oxymoronishness intended)

Even my coffee is in on the fun today…the bubbles made my stirrer stand up straight, which made me laugh out loud.

Gotta find the positive in everything, right?
(And gotta find the easiest ways to remember our ideas, with apps.)

Anger can be incredibly destructive. 

if you want to create a HUGE problem for your character, insert ANGER against him/her. Anger toward others disrupts, destroys, and touches hot coals of pain that burn bridges and burn holes in feelings.

And if you want to create a HUGE problem for your character, insert ANGER within him/her. Anger within eats away, destroys relationships, and makes your character act like a complete fool. Regret sets in. And the cycle causes crazy amounts of damage. Never good.

Finally, dear friend,
in real life –
we need to stop burning holes in others and ourselves.
Step back. Breathe.
Life is too short.
(And we’re better than that.)

The biblical advice, be angry and sin not, is critical not just for others, but for ourselves.

so. yeah.
The writer’s life and life in writing –
it’s such an intricate weaving of character.
(Weave carefully.)

* Thup

the past meme

Whether you know it or not, when you write a story, paint a picture, or take a photo, you’re choosing a theme. 

Because themes emerge from all that we say and do. Yes, life themes repeat themselves — themes both good and bad — in the stories of our lives. When we start paying attention to those themes, we can consciously choose to live in forward motion that not only builds people up but also makes us truly happy on the inside.

Mind you, I’m not purporting to say that I’m even close to the mastery of positive themes that come out in the saying and doing. But, by God, I try. There’s effort, albeit flawed…honest effort. And out of honest effort comes eventual success. Because being honest with ourselves, and being honest with the themes that we live by, is a starting place to reshape the trajectory of our lives.

Themes are mandatory. if we don’t consciously choose a positive theme for our life, we deteriorate by default. It’s called the law of entropy. There is no such thing as status quo. We’re either consciously moving forward or moving backward.

That’s sobering.

Writers –
Themes in story emerge. They’re not preached. Just like in our own lives, themes are lived out in the choices of our characters. Behavior. Words. Responses. If your story is a good one (and by that I mean it captures the reader’s heart and curiosity), then the Hero’s movement will expose the trajectory. And the Hero’s responses will twist and bend and refocus in the journey. And we’ll love him. We’ll adore her. 

We’ll see ourselves in the Hero.

Oh, to believe in the power of NOW.
(It changes everything.)

* Thup



So. Is this your life motto?
(read it again, and answer me this…)
When you fall, are you willing to get up again?

Because no matter who you are or what you do,
you. will. fall. (can’t get around it)

Then what?
How do you respond to
negativity, heartache, disappointment, loss?
Pain, sorrow, fear, anger?

Do you give up and give in?
Or do you dig deep and dig in?

You choose.
(I choose.)

Think through this with me, if you will.
Are you choosing to be…

Anxious or anticipating the good?
Bitter or better?
Condemning or compassionate?
Distant or deeply connected?
Enraged or empathetic?

Fragmented or family-oriented?
Grumpy or gracious?
Hollow or hallowed?
Indignant or inspired?
Jaded or joyful?

Keeping count of wrongs or kindhearted?
Lackadaisical or loving?
Militant or maleable?
Negligent or never giving up?
Objectionable or optimistic?
Petulant or patient?

Quitting or quick to humility?
Rude or respectful?
Sarcastic or sweet?
Terribly unforgiving or tender?
Uncaring or united?

Venomous or virtuous?
Willful or warm to what will help?
Yelling or yielding?
Zero effort or spending zillions of moments

truly seeking wisdom,
healthy thinking, and
wise behavior that builds, repairs, and creates.

As a writer, we can choose a good mix of the negative
to create an interesting character the reader will follow.

And as a writer, we can choose the fresh perspective
for ourselves.

* Thup

A valuable commodity. 
(The stories we tell ourselves create perspective.)

Quiet time.
An even more valuable commodity.
(Daily quiet time centers the mind and allows for creativity.)

A warm, cozy memory-maker that, 
once shared with a quiet space,
can bring a healthy perspective, faster. 

(yep. coffee, among other things, can do that.)


Oh, that we can use the moments of our day to 
seek wisdom…

to be better versions of ourselves
and to

focus on who we are
and on what we can give back — 
despite negativity, disbelief, attitudes, or
any other circumstance with the potential to tear down.

(Because no matter how hard we try, it’s true —
people will simply think, say, and do what they’ll think, say, and do.)

To humbly live out our lives,
gaining perspective in our quiet time,
drinking coffee,
continuing to grow
is sometimes
the best thing we can do.
(I’m raising my cup to you.)

is precious. 
is life-giving.
in yourself, who you are and what you do,
is priceless.

(Come choose the positive with me.)


Space. The Final Frontier.
(Trekkie here.)

Okay, not the final frontier. But, at the least,
for your best productivity,
it’s a frontier to think about.

Watch my Tuesday Vlog Minute..
Click here.

* Thup

We’re all authors
filling in the blank pages
of life.

The plot may twist,
but how the Hero responds
is always the author’s

(we write the script)

* Thup

My friend and mentor, Russell, recounts the story of sitting in a bar with George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones guru-author). Russell asked, What’s your secret?

Martin’s answer?
“I don’t give the characters a meal. I give them a banquet.”

My first thought was, Oh! I get it! Make it “big”!

But then I realized…
it’s not just about big.
It’s about making it memorable.
And memorable doesn’t come only in one size.

Decidedly different can be memorable, too.
Something so different, it shakes us out of our complacency.
Or so different, its desirability draws us in.

A character’s incessant quirk. (memorable)
A dash of yellow in a key area on the canvas. (memorable)
An unexpected light source in the photograph. (memorable)
A bold line on the Manga character’s hair. (memorable)
A shift in scene through one unexpected line in the dialogue (memorable).
(you get it)

(And if you’re a motivator, speaker, instructor/teacher, or leader of any kind, you see how this applies.)

Be purposeful. Make it memorable.
If it works for George, it just might work for you and me.

* Thup



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