Life purpose: I have thought long and hard about why I was so blind. Why couldn’t I understand my coach’s words, time and time again? Why couldn’t I see the importance of viewing the scenes from my character’s deathbed? Why, instead, was I so focused on scene level consequences rather than life purpose consequences?

The biggest reason was a misfocused frame of mind. Wanting to find external consequences, I misinterpreted what external meant. In writing, I’ve been taught, external typically means something you can see or take a photo of. So I imagined things ~I~ could see happening. Such as my character, after having a frightful experience at yoga, quits attending the classes and starts working late hours. And externally I stopped there since it felt like a strong consequence. One that ~I~ could see that.

But I’ve realized it doesn’t matter what ~I~ can see, it matters what my character sees.

The definition of what is external completely changes when imagined from his deathbed. From there would my character see that yoga scene? Would this scene matter? Let’s say his life purpose was to feed the hungry; would this scene matter? No. To Josh reflecting on his life — this scene wouldn’t be seen, it wouldn’t matter. This scene wouldn’t be matter.

It wouldn’t exist from Josh’s frame of mind. I had focused so much on what I could see, when in the reality of my story, all that matters or all that is matter is what my character can see.

And this must be the journey of a writer: movement away from the self, deeper into my character’s skin, crawling layer by layer underneath his skin until you find his soul.

* * *

And, I see here, there are two steps for it: (1) asking the right questions. (2) asking the questions with the right frame of mind. Professional writers do both of those. The beauty: it can be trained. With enough play and thought, you can train yourself to ask the right questions with the right lenses in mind.