The Brave Creative


pages from the author's editor

Image:pages from the author’s editor

You can toil on a book, rehearse a talk, strategize a launch, stretch yourself to create a new product or offer or a whole new business, but you cannot control outcome.

You can craft to design experiences to take people where you promised, you can have meetings to plan, and you can gather and lead exceptional people on your team, but ultimately you have to get out of the way.

When you build something, you never ultimately know how it will be experienced.

Something happened a few years back that as I recall it still sends me reeling.  Read more

The Heart of Story (any genre)

thelma-and-louise_freedom1. From A Taste of Fish to a Taste of Freedom

Thelma wanted to go fishing for a weekend with her buddy Louise. Just the two of them cutting back, drinking beer, and soaking in the great outdoors. Problem? Her good ol’ boy hubbie wouldn’t hear of it. And wide-eyed Thelma complied.

With savvier Louise’s nudging, though, Thelma does something way out of character: She leaves Hubby a note saying she’ll be back Sunday night and hops in Louise’s 1966 T-Bird convertible to hit the road.

If you’re familiar with the 1991 Thelma and Louise screenplay, written by Callie Khouri (who received an Academy Award for her first screenplay), you know that Thelma’s seemingly inconsequential decision leads to a sequence of other consequential decisions – making out with a guy at a honky-tonk, sleeping with a young drifter played by Brad Pitt, holding up convenience stores for cash.

A series of consequential decisions makes up a strong plot line but not necessarily a Story.

At the heart of a powerful story – whether for film, fiction, nonfiction – is something else. It’s useful to remember what this heart is and how to find it and use it when shaping a book, either when drafting or rewriting.

Otherwise, writers of novels, memoirs, and trade nonfiction books get tripped up.

What most writers with whom I speak and work want is a meaningful, non-simplistic way to shape their stories from beginning to middle to end. They want the heart. There is such a way.

Read more

3 Reasons Apple Still Captivates & Elevates

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 8.18.51 AMAny animus toward Apple aside, they still captivate and elevate in ways that small businesses, solo-preneurs, creative professionals, and creatives & authors can learn from.

Many of my clients and groups struggle with telling the Story of who they are and what they do with consistency and integrity. And others actually feel trapped by their brand – as if it took a wrong turn or as if they’ve outgrown it. They want to change their brand but are at odds of how to do so with integrity.

If you’ve wondered how to shape, improve, or even change the Story of your business, brand, or product, Apple still makes for a good model. So, I’m going to break down what they’re doing in their most recent ad campaign and give you some take-aways. I’d appreciate your feedback, responses, and experiences shared in the comments section below. Read more

The Courage to Create – a Joy Deeper Than Happiness

the-courage-to-create-rollo-may-1975-book-coverThe Courage to Create

When Rollo May was a boy, his mother often left him alone with his schizophrenic sister.  He learned early to empathize with those who view reality differently, and he learned early how to fend for himself. He went on to pursue studies in English, psychotherapy, and even ministry.

In the post-World War II 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, he contributed most notably to helping us honor life’s mystery and meaning and to be courageous and creative in a troubled world.

As we talk in this disruptive early 21st-century about what it means to to be creative and to be brave, Rollo May merits a place in the conversation. He has much to say about creativity and death, about our avarice for money over meaning, and about a joy deeper than ephemeral happiness.  Read more

Be Brave: A Poem-Film for Anyone Asking for Courage to Create

For anyone yearning to be heard.

For anyone whose voice feels caged in a cubicle or sliced on a chopping board.

For anyone whose Muse still battles Time and Mind and Circumstance.

For anyone ready to shape a glorious creative mess or message into a Story.

For anyone supplicating for courage to make choices on behalf of what and who matters. Read more