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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story Paperback – March 7, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Miller, the accidental memoirist who struck gold with the likable ramble Blue Like Jazz, writes about the challenges inherent in getting unstuck creatively and spiritually. After Jazz sold more than a million copies but his other books didn't follow suit, he had a classic case of writer's block. Two movie producers contacted him about creating a film out of his life, but Miller's initial enthusiasm was dampened when they concluded that his real life needed doctoring lest it be too directionless for the screen. Real stories, he learned, require characters who suffer and overcome. In desultory fashion, Miller sets out to change his own life—to be the kind of guy who seeks out his father, chases the girl and undertakes a quest. Along the way, he comes to understand God as a master storyteller who doesn't quite control where his characters are going. An unexpected bonus of this book is Miller's insights into the writing process. Readers who loved Blue Like Jazz will find here a somewhat more mature Miller, still funny as hell but more concerned about making a difference in the world than in merely commenting on it. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Donald Miller has helped more than 3,000 businesses clarify their marketing messages so their companies grow. He's the CEO of StoryBrand, the cohost of the Building a StoryBrand Podcast, and the author of several books, including the bestsellers Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their dogs, Lucy and June Carter.
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Top customer reviews
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I have hard cover and paperback version, with 2 different tagline, "What I learned while editing my life" and "How I learned to live a better life story". Story is the same in both.
The reason I love Donald Miller's writings so much, is that he brings a fresh perspective to the conversation. In this book, Miller walks us through the story making process. He chronicles his real life journey about his journey. A couple of movie producers come to him about making a film based on his bestselling book Blue Like Jazz. Miller jumps at the opportunity but quickly he discovers that creating a story and living a story are completely different.
In the midst of dreaming up the movie, Donald Miller discovers what a story really is: "A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it." This discovery leads Miller to live a better story - a story full of challenges, hope, despair, love, heartbreak, anger, happiness, etc.
Donald Miller puts his story into perspective of the everyday and how God has not promised us an easy story. In fact, He has promised us a really, really difficult story.
"It's hard to imagine how a religion steeped in so much pain and sacrifice turned into a promise for earthly euphoria."
While looking to become a better writer, and working on a screenplay for a movie, Miller goes with a friend to a Robert McKee writing seminar. After 36 hours of lecture Miller asks his friend what a story actually is and his friend replies, "a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it." Miller uses this basic framework as he continues his writing; but, then wonders if this same framework can be used to explore his life. Miller asks the question "am I living a good story?" The rest of the memoir focuses on Miller defining his character, what he wants, and learning to embrace the inevitable conflict so it can be overcome.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years forces its reader to explore their own life and ask some basic questions: what kind of story am I living? What changes need to be made so I can be living a good story? How can I move my story toward and through conflict? How does God interact with our story? What are the stories we are writing our loved ones into?
Ultimately, Miller writes, "a story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important."
Miller's writing style is pleasant and affable; kind of like sitting on a porch and listening to a friend. His self-aware and self-deprecating nature keeps the book from becoming too narcissistic (a danger for any memoir). The writing may have benefited had it gone through another round of tightening, but the free-flowing nature of the narrative is part of the charm of the book.
There are stories and ideas in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that will capture anyone's attention and imagination. This is the perfect book to read if you are searching for something, but need a little push to fully know what that something is.
This quick read would be beneficial to any creative person, and is a book I imagine I will come back to for a second read in the next nine to fifteen months.
Who is my character? What do I want? Where are my obstacles? Is my life telling a good story?
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