First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him. — Ray Bradbury


One of the main forces behind any plot is a character’s desire. When a character wants something, he/she/they will make decisions and take actions that revolve around getting that thing. We call this the character’s desire line. It’s vital to understand this piece of the character’s mindset because it simplifies the decision-making around making things happen. Every incident the character encounters will bring that character closer to or further away from getting what they want.

Plotting Your Own Life

This is true not only for the characters in the worlds we create but it’s also true for us. As human beings, we often get so caught up in the whirlwind of our daily lives that we forget to take a step back and ask ourselves if we are doing the most important things. What is it that we truly want? Are we doing the essential things that will get us closer to that goal? Or are we spending time on things that have no impact whatsoever on that goal? For example, I say that I want to write a nonfiction book this year. But have I been reading the research texts? Have I started working on my outline? The answer to both of these questions is no, which means that it’s time to reassess: Either I can begin taking steps toward this desire or I can admit that this desire is not important to me. 

Be Honest, Be Brave

We all have multiple goals, of course—goals around family, friendships, career, romantic relationships, spirituality, physical health, and more. These goals can fluctuate in urgency and can sometimes be in conflict. That’s normal, and we won’t necessarily be able to make perfect progress toward every single goal every single day. However, it’s important to investigate your true desires and start making an honest plan to do the things that will bring you closer to achieving them. If you want to be a writer, then you must write. That’s the only way.