For the Love of Books (A Preptober post)

Part of being prepared to write a book is also making sure that you read. Now it doesn’t matter what you read as long as you are reading but since we are mostly writers or creative individuals here I’m going to specifically focus on books that can help you strengthen your writing and your creative thought process. I’m sure that most of you know of or may have even read some of these books on the list below but these are definitely books that you could (and should) reread when you need extra motivation (or just because).

  1. On Wrting by Stephen King
  2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  3. Writer Mama by Christina Katz
  4. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
  5. The Writer’s Workout by Christina Katz
  6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. Higher is Waiting by Tyler Perry
  8. Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
  9. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
  10. On Writing Well by William Zinsser

All of these books are great reads for creative inspiration and they are extremely motivating and can of course be found on www.amazon.com. I suggest you buy them, read them, and reread them whenever necessary. Okay so that’s all I have for you today. I hope that all of your planning is going well. Until next time… #BePrepared #BeWellRead

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

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http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

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Even If It’s Not Broken, It May Still Need to Be Fixed

What has God been able to teach you lately? That question was one that my pastor posed to us yesterday and it was a very thought provoking one. To put it in context, he was talking to us basically about getting out of the comfort zone of the things that we know and start walking in the path of the things that we don’t know. I love how the things that I had already been processing in my own mind for myself, when I hear them from another wiser and more experienced person it just makes that much more sense.

I am one of those old fashioned people who can’t really stand the drastic changes in technology and the way that we communicate today. I am much more “comfortable” doing things the way that I know how to do them and the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is my personal favorite mantra. My pastor preached to us yesterday about learning how to evolve with things and being willing to gain new knowledge so that it could help us take the skills that God has blessed us with, that we have always had, and nurture them and grow them into something even better and bigger with the power to do more good within this world.

When I heard those words I thought about all of the limitations that I have been placing on myself and my dreams just from the shear inability to allow my mind to expand and let myself learn new methods of doing things that just might actually allow for growth and exposure to something better. It’s so odd for me because I consider myself such a student of life and a person who just loves learning overall but when it comes to doing things in a way that’s unsure I just stop there.

I suppose my writing career could be in a far different (and better) place right now if I had been more adaptable to change a long time ago. New can be scary for me, especially if I had gotten so used to doing things in a way that seemed to be working so well but the thing is sometimes you do things the same for so long that you can’t even see when they stop working. You’re too blinded by the familiar and you keep walking in what you know because it feels right to you.

When you finally realize how much you haven’t grown it can be a jolt to the system and one that can either cause you to crumble or to kick it into high gear and get moving in the right direction. I guess you could say I did some crumbling first. I suppose I just have to keep reminding myself of how good change can be when I start to regress and back away from something new. The fact of the matter is that what God wants me to do with the gifts he’s given me, what he wants me to pour into this world is far more important than my wanting to remain ‘comfortable’. I have work to do and I don’t get to complain about being uncomfortable!

Until next time… #BeUncomfortable #BeInFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

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To Plan or Not to Plan?

So you’ve got your story idea together right? You’ve started building your characters and molding and shaping their personalities? Now it’s time to decide whether you are a pantser or a planner when it comes to writing your novel. What’s a pantser, you ask? Well that’s when you are fortunate enough to be able to just sit down at the blank screen of your laptop and begin writing with no plot or course of action laid out before you. If you are one of those writers let me please just give you a virtual round of applause because I have tried writing that way before and the amount of time I had to use up to go back and forth to see if I had this detail or that detail just right, or to check the timeline and make sure that I hadn’t made some huge error and it just did not work for me.

I, like a lot of writers, am a planner and I try as much as I can to plan out every detail that I can. In terms of writing my novel I have realized that I have to have an outline. I typically do a short brief outline with just some of the major points of the story and where the plot twists are and the dramatic parts and the whodunit aspects of the story. After I get a general outline together then I take my character sketches and I begin the more detailed, chapter by chapter, plot twist by plot twist, part of outlining.

Now I think there’s a misconception that when people outline they follow the outline to the tee and I have heard a lot of people say that’s what they don’t like about outlining but the outline is just a general road map for you to follow but the story almost never follows the outline down to the letter. In fact I almost never stick directly to the outline but having that outline does help me stay more on track then I would if I were just writing without a blueprint.

Where the outlining process can get a little broad and diverse is in the method in which you choose to outline. I for one like just getting a legal notepad and writing my outline by hand (this and the character sketches are the only things I write by hand). The other methods of outlining that people typically use are creating a storyboard with a bulletin board or you can storyboard in a digital format now with Pintrest or whatever digital format works for you to create a visual idea of your story. Some people choose to do a graphing (or mind mapping) method. There are also programs that will help you outline in a particular digital format such as Scrivener.

Now you don’t have to outline in order to compose a good story for NaNoWriMo. Outlining doesn’t necessarily make your story any worse or better. Like I said in my last post, it’s just a matter of finding and doing what works well for you. I hope that some of this information helps you and the next post I will be giving you a few YouTue channels that I think you should check out that will help you in your Preptober adventures. Until next time… #HappyOutlining

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

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It’s the First Day of Preptober!!

It’s the first day of October and we’re getting into that holiday season but for writers it’s also a special time of year for a whole other reason. This is the month that we as writers use to prepare for the marathon month that November has become called National Novel Writing Month. Realistically if you’re serious about participating in NaNoWriMo then you probably have already formulated the idea for the story that you’re going to work on in November and you may have even began sketching out the characters for your story. If you haven’t, don’t worry, that is what the month of October is here for. There are many aspects to prepping for the NaNoWriMo experience but I’m here to give you some suggestions over the course of this month that will hopefully help you in the many ways they have helped me.

Today I’m going to focus on the first step you really need which is the idea for the story and typically a main character to center the story around. Now there are many different ways to start your planning process. Some people like to think of the way their story is going to end and kind of work their way backwards. I for one have never been able to start at the end but it works for some people. There is also a very small group of writers who like to start with the middle and build the story outwards, usually building up to the end first and then back in the other direction to the beginning. Then there are those strange birds like myself who actually like to take a story idea from the very beginning (sometimes even thinking of the opening scene) through to the middle and work my way to the end in a chronological order.

Now I know plenty of writers who have to have their character first and I will admit that I have had some stories where the character literally spoke to me and told me the story they wanted told but those occasions were rare for me. Most of time the story that needs to be told comes first and then the character presents themselves to me afterwards. After you’ve built the story idea and this is not to be confused with an actual outline) then you want to begin developing your characters. Some create character sketches that give the basic details of those characters and their background and their personalities and some like to go all in and create a character bible of sorts where the spend several pages on each character.

You have to find what works for you because one writer’s method may not be what works for your story. Once you have your story idea built and your character sketches done the next step is creating your outline, but that I will discuss in more detail in the next post. Throughout this Preptober series I will also include tips and specific book suggestions, as well as sharing some YouTube channels with you that can be of some use and help to you. Until the next time… #BePrepared

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

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Moving Away From the Comfort Zone I’m Stuck In

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. This year has been a very trying one so far and I have truly been struggling with a lot of things financially and with my writing. The things I’ve been going through lately have brought on another bout of depression and along with it a layer of anxiety as well. It has become a bit of a hindrance to my writing on many levels which is frustrating to say the least. The past two weeks in particular had left me in a place that I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen, I simply just had to pray about it, ask others around me that cared about me to pray for me, and leave it up to God.

My mother made a statement questioning why God would allow me to go through what I’m going through and why would this be happening right now and my only response was that HE has a reason for everything and honesty the situation was probably more of a result of all the times that I tried to do things my own way and not HIS way. In fact, I think that’s what this particular feeling of rock bottom left me with. I was trying to gain understanding as to what the reason was and I figured it out, or at least I believe I figured out what HE was trying to get me to understand.

I have all of these gifts and talents and plenty of ideas as to the ways to put them to use in order to provide the things that I need but I keep waiting for things to be perfect before making any moves to attempt any of those ideas. I have books that could have been published but for this reason or that I didn’t feel like it was perfect enough to put out there. I have an idea for a line of T-shirts that I have been told by multiple people would be a great idea and that they would love to get one when I put them out there but because I can’t get one thing perfect for them I won’t put them out there. I’ve been told and have had the feeling several times that it’s time to take this blog and my magazine to the next level and start a YouTube channel or Podcast but because I don’t consider myself camera friendly (mind you that’s my assessment, not others assessment of me) or because I have a fear that people won’t listen or that it won’t be helpful to others like I want it to be I haven’t even moved towards making that idea a reality.

All of these things that God has placed on my heart to do, quite frankly because they pull me out of my comfort zone, and I haven’t done them because I keep having this notion that they’re supposed to be perfect. I think that this most recent situation has made me realize I have to stop ignoring what I know I’m supposed to be doing and moving towards because it’s uncomfortable and because things won’t be able to be perfect because logically I know that nothing is ever going to be perfect and if I’m really honest with myself, some of the most beautifully constructed things are made beautiful by the imperfections that they possess.

Now I don’t enjoy rock bottom by any means, but I have to say that this experience has taught me something about myself and just reaffirmed my faith in God and the path that HE is getting ready to take me on. I’m not out of the woods just yet (in terms of the current situation) but I truly believe that I can see HIS footsteps much clearer now, guiding me out of troubled waters. Until the next time… #BeFearless #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

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Growth In Progress

Growth in Progress post

I do so enjoy those moments when you take a look at a scenario and how you responded to it (or in some cases, didn’t respond) and realize just how much growth has taken place within yourself. I had one of those moments earlier today. I’ve written about it here before and most people who know me know that my mother and I do not have the best of relationships. It’s one of the many things that is disheartening for me because I had always wished for one of those mother/daughter relationships that I see so many of my friends have with their moms and a few years ago after trying and trying to no avail, in the process of rediscovering myself and learning to love myself the way that God loves me, I have come to terms with the fact that I won’t ever get that from my mother because she’s simply not equipped emotionally to give me that kind of relationship.

My mother has never thought much of me, and in her eyes I was never really going to amount to anything and it used to hurt me a lot more than I would’ve liked for it to. My mother was abusive to both me and my sister but my sister was still the child who could do no wrong while I was the one that could do no right, at least in her eyes, and I was the sensitive one so while my sister was the type of person that certain things rolled off her back, I literally cried over every hurtful statement my mother made about me. Even as an adult, it hurt.

However today, in trying to have a conversation with her where more hurtful things were said by her, I realized that I don’t really care what she thinks about me anymore. I mean do I wish she thought more of her own daughter, sure, but she’s going to think whatever she thinks and there is nothing that’s going to change her mind and I’ve finally gotten to a point where I realized that how she sees me or doesn’t see me for that matter, is her problem and not mine. I look in the mirror and I see the wonderful child of God who he gave so much purpose to and who, even though I’m not exactly where I would like to be at this stage in my life, is pursuing her dreams and her purpose with passion and determination and I’m not letting anything, or anyone get in my head anymore about what they think I can or can not accomplish in this life.

When I had that revelation earlier I smiled from the inside out because I felt emotionally freer than I had ever felt. I had gotten to a place I had been longing to get to and I had been working on my personal and spiritual growth and I hadn’t even realized that I had reached a major milestone in that particular journey. There’s something to be said for not caring what people think of you and not that it wouldn’t be nice to be given compliments or to have your talents acknowledged, but to not need the validation of their approval. Sometimes you are going to be the only one who sees the path for what it is and where it’s leading, and it may not even be so much that you know where you’re going to end up, just that you are trusting in God for his direction in getting there.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

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Is There Any More Space In the Writer’s Room?

writers room post 1

Caution: This post is more of a rant than anything prolific! I keep seeing all of these new but not so new shows streaming on Netflix or Hulu or whatever other streaming devices there are these days and I’ve noticed a theme. There are a lot of “reboots” or “remakes” of wonderful old shows or shows that are not quite a remake but just close enough to resemble an old show and it got me to thinking about originality in the television world. Has the well for creative and inventive writers run so dry lately that the executives at these television networks can’t come up with any original concepts?

I know that it shouldn’t bother me nearly as much as it actually does but I think that the reason for that is because I have so many ideas, new ideas for plays, movies, and even television shows that are burning a figurative hole in my journals (or my brain for the ideas that haven’t quite made it onto paper just yet) and yet they make it nearly impossible for anyone who didn’t start out in the television/film industry when they were twenty something to actually have their ideas seen or heard. I’m not saying that they should make it simple and yes I suppose people have gone the route of starting their own web series on YouTube or some other internet portal but there’s a legitimacy in having a television network executive look at your idea and getting as excited about it as you do and taking that idea and transforming it for the whole world to see. If most people are honest with themselves, it’s the validation that they really want.

It’s not that I don’t love the old shows that they are taking and remaking into something for this newer generation to enjoy but it just seems like emptying a well that didn’t need to be tapped into. If they need new ideas there are plenty of us writers out here who I’m sure would love to help them out in their writers’ rooms, or maybe that’s just me. It shouldn’t be as hard as they make it to get new ideas heard and to see new ideas on the screen instead of so many blasts from the past of the old concepts just with new faces.

There is talent out here and new wells with newer and more original ideas if they would just be willing to not cut the rungs of the ladder so short for the rest of us who missed the twenty something boat. Sometimes older, more seasoned writers can provide a broader perspective with a bit of wisdom added for effect. Writing rooms shouldn’t just be for those straight out of college or who have already been in the business for decades. There should be space for the writers in their thirties or even in their forties who had to live a little bit of life first before getting to go after their writing dreams because talent doesn’t just expire with age.

This is not a post condemning twenty something’s or the younger generation of writers who have been steadfastly working their way up for the last decade because I commend you and I truly wish I had been able to have that luxury. This is just me shedding a light that there are those of us who are not straight out of college or who haven’t been in the television/film industry forever who still can write and who can add something to this television world that isn’t just a remake of a show that already was.  

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

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The Imprint We Leave Behind

Imprint we leave behind post 1

So this week we lost one of the most talented and wonderful actors from my childhood, Luke Perry, and it was both unexpected and a bit devastating so I can only imagine how his family is dealing with it. I saw many videos of people talking about how generous he was and how down to earth he was and even in looking at the older videos of his interviews I could see how humble he was throughout his entire career.

He never seemed to take anything for granted, and valued every acting job he got, and every moment he got to somehow touch other people’s lives through his work. There’s even a story that Colin Hanks told about how there were kids on a plane crying and hysterical and in walks Luke Perry with a bag full of balloons to help distract the children. When Hanks talked to him afterwards Luke said that he always carries a bag of balloons on a plane because so often there are situations like those where you have children who need a bit of distracting for one reason or another. Just the thought of someone who is that thoughtful to do that every single time he got on a plane, to already be thinking about the children who may need that distraction just says what kind of a man he was.

I stumbled across another video clip of him being interviewed in which he says that he wanted to make a difference and affect and touch other people’s lives in some meaningful way, and he stated that he didn’t want to let life just happen to him, but rather that he wanted to happen to life. I thought on that statement for a moment and then back to the plane story and how many more stories there must be of him doing things like that and I am in awe of just how much of an impact he has had. He did what he set out to do which was make a difference and leave a lasting impression on people’s lives.

It’s such an interesting thought, not letting life just happen to you but rather you happening to life. So many times we just deal with the things that happen to us and end up having to dig our way out of it or figure a way around it but I like thinking about the prospect of me happening to my life instead of letting things in life just happen to me. I think of what a difference we could all make and the ways in which we can touch other people’s lives if we start happening to our lives instead of just waiting for life to happen. What kind of imprint is your life going to leave in the world?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

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Trying to Strike the Right Balance

striking balance 2

So I’ve been working really hard on getting my online magazine back on track after taking one too many breaks last year and also working on the self-publishing process for my novel that I’ll be releasing soon (pushing back the date to be announced soon) and I am longing to work on my current novel that I have in progress. The last time I worked on it was the end of last year. I know what you’re going to say. Can’t I just work on the novel while I’m simultaneously working on the magazine and self publishing my first two books? The simple answer would be yes but the more long drawn out answer is yes but I shouldn’t because knowing myself the way that I do I will get more and more focused on the current novel and lose focus on the process of getting these first two books out and that can not happen.

I am generally pretty good at multi-tasking but as most of you writers know when you get lost in a story sometimes it can be hard to swap in and out of it to other projects and it would be different if these two books that I’m self-publishing weren’t so long overdo. I am working really hard on trying to hone my focus on the right projects in the right time period but I can’t deny that I miss my writing routine and my story (which is the second book in my new mystery series that I’m writing). I think that once I can get these two books out there into the world I would better be able to handle the multi-tasking of publishing one book while writing another because I will be more accustomed to the self-publishing process and able to (hopefully anyway) move through that process more fluidly so it won’t be such a distraction to write a novel simultaneously.

I think that because this is the very first experience I’m having with self-publishing that it needs my full focus (well most of it anyway) because I still have a lot to learn when it comes to this process. I will share with you guys when the final date for the release of my novel will be (I know it was supposed to be March 1st but—cover issues) and I hope that you will support me on my journey (by buying the book) and for anyone out there who has vast experience in self-publishing, if you have any tips or wise words you want to share, please leave a comment and share your advice with me. I could use all the help I could get because this process is quite overwhelming and a bit more than I anticipated but I know that the reward will be well worth it!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

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So About Oscar Night…

About Oscar Night 3

So this isn’t going to be a long post but I couldn’t let the day go by without acknowledging how amazing Oscar night was last night for women and people of color. The Oscars made history last night with the majority of the wins going to people of color and women, people who up until the last year or two were vastly overlooked when their work clearly deserved to be recognized.

It went from being the #Oscarssowhite a couple of years ago to being the #allinclusiveOscars this year. I must say that as a writer who had lofty dreams of one day writing my own screenplays and maybe even having a book or two of mine being made into a movie and winning an Oscar myself down the road it was definitely inspiring. I had put those hopes of an Oscar one day in my career to the side because frankly I couldn’t see them giving out too many Oscars to too many people of color because the Oscars has been considerably white washed throughout history ever since the Academy was created.

It seems that they are finally making room for a diverse group of artists to make waves and make a difference. It’s renewed my hope and even inspired a couple of new stories that I hope to tell over the course of my writing career. There’s something extra encouraging when you can see the possibility for your work to earn the highest honor an artist can achieve.

This is the type of encouragement that artists needed and I am so glad that the Oscars is finally catching up to including ALL artists in passing out distinguished honors. I hope you all are polishing up those novels and dusting off those screenplays that you gave up on because now’s the time to really get in the game.  There just might be an Oscar in your future yet!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

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No Prayer Is Too Big

No Prayer too Big post

So I’ve been reading Joel Osteen’s “31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life” over the last couple of weeks and it has been an enlightening experience just to read and declare these bold promises and pray these even bolder prayers over my life and my journey. This past week in particular it felt vitally necessary for me to read them, and not just once, some of the declarations I had to read over several times just to let the words and the message seep into my brain.

I often times think that I can’t ask God for all the big things that I want in life because I think of so many other people that are far worse off then me, that need far more than I do, and that frankly may need God to do bigger things in their life than what I need. I don’t want to be selfish or too, for lack of a better word, greedy with my prayers. But then I think about the book of Genesis in the bible. Now I have some work to do when it comes to reading my bible and I admit I have not read the whole entire bible in it’s entirety and certainly not straight through but I have read the first few chapters of Genesis straight through.

When I think about all of the big, bold, and wonderful things in this world, in this universe that God has created and all of the beauty in this world that he gave us, all in different areas of the world, and all at the same time, it reminded me of just how big our God is. He can help a homeless person sitting on the streets of Los Angeles or Chicago and still come through on the prayers that I have for him, all at the same time. There is nothing too big for him.

In the words of my good friend, Ms. L that she spoke in her recent podcast episode (God, You Missed a Word), I have to will joy into my life. And that goes for anything that I want to invite into my life, I have to not only pray for it, and believe that it will be so, but I have to will it over my life as well. I trust my relationship with God and I trust the dream that he placed in my heart and I trust that he would not give me this vision and bring me this far just to have me be too afraid to pray for everything he has in his plan for me. If there’s nothing too big for him to do in our lives then there’s nothing too big for us to ask of him.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

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http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

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Growing Pains

Growing Pains post 2

So yesterday was Valentine’s Day and oddly enough it got me to thinking about how much I’ve grown. I can remember a time where Valentine’s Day made me anxious. Was I going to be alone on the day of love or was I going to have someone to share it with that particular year? At the stage in my life where it bothered me if I didn’t have a valentine I did not love myself enough yet, hell most days back then I didn’t even like myself (I’m talking late teens and early twenties here), and then whether or not I did like myself usually depended on what someone else thought of me. I didn’t realize it then because people didn’t talk about stuff like mental health but I had already begun my dance with depression and I needed validation from others to feel some sense of self worth.

So needless to say Valentine’s Day has never been one of my favorite days because it was either a really extreme high (because I had someone that year) or an even more extreme low (because I didn’t and I had my mother’s voice echoing in my head telling me no one would ever want me). I don’t bring any of that up to be all sad and depressive, only to point out that I truly have grown. I said a couple of years ago that I was starting a journey in which I wanted to be by myself for a while and grow my relationship with God and the one I have with myself, that I wanted to start to love myself a lot better and treat myself better than anyone else could ever treat me.

Now because I’m a mother and almost every time my daughter and what she needs will come first I don’t always succeed at treating myself to nice things or even pampering myself at all, but I have improved my love of myself and I have (at least I believe I have) strengthened my relationship with God which has also in turn provided even more self awareness and allowed me to see in myself what God sees in me, what HE has always seen in me. For me valentine’s day is no longer about whether I have someone in my life special or not because I know that I always have someone special in my everyday life and that is me (and of course my child but you get the point) and that’s enough.

I’m still growing and there are still improvements that I am making within myself and within my relationship with God but I can truly say that I have a peace within me now that I don’t think I’ve ever had before and I love it. I don’t look at Valentine’s Day with disdain anymore and it doesn’t make me sad like it once did so many years ago. I think that my growth in terms of self acceptance and my spiritual growth has spilled over into my writing career and the journey of fulfilling my purpose and I believe that it will continue to nurture those areas of my life. It’s funny how we rush so fast in our teens and early twenties to grow up without realizing that our growth never really stops, or at least it shouldn’t. I hope that I’m always growing, that we are always growing because there is always so much more to the next stage of life then what we learned on the last.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Never Ending Balancing Act: Structure versus Spontaneity

Change versus Spontaneity post

I’ve been thinking over the weekend about change. There are a lot of experts that advise you that change is good and that you shouldn’t be resistant to it. Then you have plenty of experts on the opposite end of the spectrum that say that setting deadlines is a good thing and that having structure and routine is something that can help stabilize someone’s life and help them to stay focused on the journey ahead of them.

I tend to lean more to the side of routine and structure, perhaps I lean a little too far in to it. It’s no secret to anyone who truly knows me that no matter how open I appear to be to change and spontaneity, I am extremely resistant to it. I’d like to say that I’ve only recently grown a barrier to the idea of change but I think I’ve always been this way since I was a little girl. I like knowing what’s going to happen, to know the way the day is going to go and precisely what I’ll be doing and when. That kind of structure pretty much guarantees the same outcome and while that may seem boring to some, it’s also safe. I guess the problem is that it may be a little too safe.

The odd thing is that the kind of life I’ve always dreamed of having for myself, since I was ten years old, could never be possible without embracing the idea of change and being spontaneous. There are a lot of things that I would change about my life and one of the things at the top of that list is my resistance to change itself, and my anxiety over the things that I do not know. So what is the right way to go about things?

Do you go with throwing caution to the wind and embracing every change that comes your way or do you plan and set deadlines and stick to a structure that helps keep you on track? I suppose that is what I struggle with because I want to be spontaneous and accept whatever changes may come my way but then I lose my balance and the shifts that begin to happen don’t allow me to stay focused and on track. Where is the middle ground on change versus structure? Is there a good balance between being overtly open to every changing scenario and still keeping enough structure to stay on course?

It’s easy for me to just say that structure is what works for me and leave it at that but if it was truly working then I would be where I want to be by now. Perhaps the very reason I haven’t reached that next level just yet is because I’m too afraid to reach out and grab the ledge above me because that means I would have to actually let go. To let go is scary. That means I have to trust what’s coming next, in an outcome that I can’t see.

Change is necessary to go to the next step on my journey and I know that but it’s hard to not know how things will turn out. So I guess the question is can I have structure and still fully open myself up to change or am I just going to keep holding on to the things that I already know. I don’t know how I truly feel about letting go of the structure that keeps me so grounded but I guess this year (my year of no excuses) will help me see just how open I can be.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Accountability Measures

Accountability Measures

So I have said this year was going to be the year that I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t do something. I acknowledge that I can’t just say an automatic yes to every single little thing but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make a substitute solution so that I can still stay on the right path to my end goals. For instance, one of my main goals this year is to stop waiting for a traditional publisher or an agent to say yes to my books and say yes to them myself by self-publishing them with the ISBN #’s I’ve been sitting on for literally over five years now. So I know that my budget is going to be an issue. To say that it is tight would be a gross understatement, but to get around the issue that I can’t exactly afford a professional book cover, I am going to use a special graphic program (as professional as I can get it) and learn how to do one myself (and if you knew how challenged I am in the area of technology you would understand what a huge deal that is for me lol). So my no excuses rule means I can’t focus on the lack of money to get a professional book cover, I just have to make a way to do one on my own.

Now there are some other things that I have been making excuses for and I realize that I am going to actually need to set some deadlines. Deadlines are what keeps people who second-guess themselves at every turn and can what if their way right out of an opportunity, people like me, held accountable for actually following through. I am supposed to start back at a hobby that I love and had to stop because I had gotten injured. I was supposed to had gotten back to it last year but I was feeling a little scared that I would re-injure myself. I told someone that I would finally get back to it this year but I left it open ended with no actual set time. It gave me a way out of it by not having an actual time pinpointed. That same person made me pick a date the other day and now that I have that date in my mind (it’s March 5th by the way), now I feel obligated to stick to it. I don’t have any excuses right?

So with my book, that’s supposed to release soon (I know, very vague right lol) I had made the commitment to publish a book but I just didn’t say when. I suppose I did that as some sort of safety net just in case something went wrong with the whole process. With no deadline, I wouldn’t have to explain to anyone else why it didn’t happen. But that pretty cowardice right? So I’m setting a deadline hear and now that the re-release of my book, The Diary: Succession of Lies, is going to be released on March 1st, 2019. So you heard it hear first and now I have to no choice but to do it because I have no excuses! So deadlines are the thing now! It’s what I need to hold myself accountable—my new accountability measure if you will! Do deadlines work for you? Let me know how deadlines have helped you in your life?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Creative Circle We Keep

Creative circle post

I had a wonderful, much needed conversation last night with one of my fellow creative friends and it gave me the extra boost that I was in need of. When you’re a creative it’s not always easy to find other creative people that will get you and your (sometimes out there) ideas the way that you do. I don’t need a lot of people around me, it goes against my solitary, anti-social (more like socially anxious) nature, but what I do need every once in a while is someone to throw ideas around with, preferably someone who isn’t just going to tell me something is a good idea because they can feel the sheer excitement that I have for it. I need someone honest, who’s going to tell me if it’s any good or even if it’s just so out there that it might actually work because chances are that I would otherwise second-guess myself right out of it.

Last night I got some clarity on a few things I was thinking about and she even gave me some perspective on some ideas that I wasn’t even viewing as broadly as I should have been. She’s a really good person, who understands my neuroses (because we’ve known each other for over a decade) and how sometimes the overload of ideas can drive you up a wall because she’s a creative too and she takes risks every day within her writing career. Today, carrying the words of our conversation in my mind, I was definitely more focused and I was a little more confident in taking a few risks I had been holding back on before. I felt inspired and I felt ready to inspire others!

I think that all creative people, especially writers, should make sure they have someone in their life, in their circle that they can help give them some kind of clarity on the ideas they are thinking of. If you’re anything like me, you need someone to keep you from second guessing everything wondering if this or that is going to work because inevitably there’s always going to be someone that isn’t going to like what you do and you can’t let the thoughts of those few that won’t like it and won’t get it detract from the hundreds, or thousands, maybe even millions of people who you could help or motivate or encourage with what you desire to put out into the world. If you already have that circle in place, treasure it and nurture it because it is precious and it is not always easy to come by.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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In the Moments When You Think You’ve Failed

 

 

failing post

I was having a moment the other day. Actually I had a few moments over the course of the past weekend. You know those moments when you just question and second guess every single little thing that you’re doing because you’re not sure if you’re really doing anything right. There were some things that weren’t going right in my actual writing the other day so it made me question whether I’m even still any good at this writing thing I love so much or am I just wasting my time. I looked at my numbers (my stats)on my blog posts and on the posts on the magazine and even though they were going up the increase just wasn’t matching up with the effort that I was putting in so it made me wonder if I was doing enough or was I just not good enough in that department either.

There were some other little personal things that I was having issues with which I’d rather not go into detail about that were making me question myself as well. Then my daughter and I had a, how shall I say, difference of opinion on something that made her upset with me (when I felt like there wasn’t any reason for her to be—typical teenage stuff) and because of all of the other little moments I had been having I was already feeling on the edge of having my emotions spill over so that moment with her just made me feel like I was now failing in the mom department as well. I’m not going to lie, I shed a few tears this past weekend because I just felt like nothing I was doing was good enough or right and I felt like I was literally failing at everything.

Then I went to church Sunday and my pastor’s message was about being ready to (fittingly enough) deal with adversity in life. He talked about how adversity makes you stronger and how nothing you ever achieve in life will be achieved without going through some great adversity. He talked about trusting in the relationship that you have with God and in the fact that while it may often times seem like things aren’t going right, that they aren’t going just the way you think they ought to go, and even how sometimes it may seem like the path you’ve chosen is wrong because of the turmoil or hard times you may be going through, that you have to not only trust God through the hard times or the uncertainties, but you have to trust that the relationship that you have built with God is strong enough to get you through those times until you reach the light on the other end of what seems like total darkness.

It’s not the ease of life that is what lets us know that we are fulfilling the purpose we are here to fulfill, but rather the strength that we discover in ourselves when we have come out of the hard times. That strength that propels us forward and allows us to keep moving, battle scars and all, to the next level is what lets us know that in the end we only fail if we never put up a fight. So even though I had my moments where I felt like I was failing at everything that I was doing, I realized on Sunday, that as long as I was still trying, still fighting to get my message out, fighting to fulfill my purpose, fighting to be a good mom and raise my child in the best way that I possibly can, I may not do everything perfect and I may make a lot more mistakes along the way but at least I’m fighting. That alone means I’m winning!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Honoring the Legacy and the Purpose

honoring the legacy

So on this day, a day in which we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who was the very definition of courage and living fearlessly, it makes me think about the things that we take for granted. I’m not talking about just being grateful for our health and our family and the luxuries we’ve been able to afford for ourselves. I mean those things are definitely nothing to dismiss in any way. But there are other things that we sometimes don’t appreciate the way that we should like our gifts and our purpose.

Everyone has a gift to be used to fulfill their purpose in this world. I don’t believe that there is any one person that doesn’t have a reason for being on this earth that is not solely specific to just them.  When we waste so much of our time resisting those gifts, questioning that purpose, and second guessing whether or not we are properly equipped to carry out the mission that we were given in this life, we are taking for granted our opportunities to make this world a much better place.

Just think of what it would be like if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had resisted the gifts that God gave him, or questioned the purpose that God gave him at every turn. Imagine if he allowed any fears that he might have had, not just for himself but for his family, do the deciding for him in whether or not he took on the fight that he did. What if he had allowed his doubts to win and let the purpose he was given go unmet. I would hate to think of what this world would be like had Dr. King not honored his gifts and his purpose.

What Dr. King managed to achieve in his short time here on this earth is more than most people accomplish in a lifespan of a hundred years. If we just stop doubting ourselves, our gifts, our purpose, and be appreciative for the opportunity to fulfill that purpose then what kind of change could we continue to make for this world. How many lives could we possibly affect if we just let go of the second-guessing and be grateful that we were equipped with the gifts necessary to make a change in this ever so crazy world. So when honoring Dr. King today remember that he was a man about taking action and go act with purpose!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Writer’s Myth I Love to Ignore

Killing the Myth.png

Every writer has there own methods and ways of doing things. They have their rituals and their habits (sometimes bad ones) and strategies that work for them. Typically writers go by very broad rules of the trade that are spread across the masses and for the most part I will say there is truth to those habits and rituals and ways of doing things. However, there is this one myth, this very big no-no that writers, or any creative type really, aren’t supposed to be doing a lot of if they actually want to get any substantial and quality work done. Watch lots of TV.

For years I have been trying to find some justification and arguably some back up to my inherent belief that watching a lot of television as a creative (in particular a writer) does more good than harm and I think I have finally found it. I stumbled upon a blog post the other day (okay it wasn’t a stumble, I regularly follow her blog) in which the blogger acknowledged that while her love of binge watching Netflix has quite possibly halted work on several writing projects, it also added value and perhaps even a bit more passion into the projects that she was able to complete.

Now I do not have Netflix (Yes I know, I’m about the only person left in the world who has no desire to have a Netflix account), however, I do have an extreme love of watching television. I have my regular nightly shows, mostly police procedurals or any drama with a bit of mystery to it (like Law & Order SVU, Chicago PD, or Criminal Minds to name a few), and I also have my hospital dramas (Grey’s Anatomy and Chicago Med, and I’ll throw Chicago Fire in here too because I don’t know where else it would fit). I even like my political dramas (Scandal, Madam Secretary), and of course the all important Soap Operas (Young & the Restless and Bold & the Beautiful). Also I like my comedies (Big Bang Theory, etc) my history channel shows, and my cooking shows… Okay you get the picture, I have an interest in pretty much every aspect of television and that’s not including my love of movies. It goes without saying that I watch a large amount of TV and I have to have the TV on to go to sleep at night too (I need the noise).

To my point, I have been told countless times that people in writing, or any creative avenue really, are more productive when they watch less television. I have balked at this theory ever since I’ve heard it because it just doesn’t make sense to me, or rather for me. I mean I know that there are quite a few largely successful people who write for television and own television companies and don’t watch TV so I know that it clearly works for some people but it baffles me how you don’t watch the very medium you create for. Just as baffling to me is a writer who doesn’t read books (and believe it or not there are some) because how can you create for an audience when you don’t partake in what you are in fact producing.

Needless to say, I am the opposite and perhaps the exception because I don’t focus very well when I don’t have something on my television, and it can’t just be anything, it has to be something that inspires me when I’m writing (and yes I actually write while I watch TV—so see I’m still being productive during my TV time) or even just something that inspires a new character, or a new subject I want to write about. Television doesn’t just inspire me, it also calms me, and it is my relaxing place for when I’m stressed and worried and need to just calm down or if I’m just feeling really anxious or depressed and I need to laugh. In all actuality, sitting in silence, without the TV will probably lead to a less productive day for me because silence drives me a little crazy and I don’t concentrate very well in it, thus leading to lack of productivity.

So if you have a method that’s not supposed to work for you as a writer but somehow it works, just go with it. I know it may seem to not make sense to anyone else doing what you do, and it may just go against all of the rules of the trade but aren’t rules sometimes meant to be bent a little. At least bent to work just the right way, and in your favor. The wonderful thing about being a writer or any creative is that your out of the box thinking can lead you down a path you never saw coming, and in the best most possible ways! So go forth and buck the trends and laugh in the face of the myths!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Are You Really As Ready As You Think You Are?

are you really ready 1

I was thinking about what it means to actually be ready for the things that you dream for and that you say you want. My Pastor preached this past Sunday about what being ready really meant. It’s not just speaking into existence what you want for your life. It’s not even just knowing exactly what it is that you say you want. Those are important factors but what it really means to actually be ready to receive your dreams is about much more than that.

Being ready is about being knowledgeable and skilled in the things that you will need to do to prepare for your dreams. It’s about being attentive to the things and details that need to be addressed and the distractions that need to be removed so that you can be ready when the time comes. It is about being in the position that you need to be in, in order to make sure that when opportunity presents itself you are able to invest what’s necessary in yourself and your purpose. Being ready also means that once you have properly positioned yourself and you are rightly focused, you are then willing to put in all of the hard work that it will take for you to actually attain your dreams. Most of all, I think that to be ready means that you have to be available to receive your dreams, and fulfill your purpose. If you are too busy focusing on the things that aren’t going to get you to your dreams then you aren’t really ready.

You see there are so many things that we often times think that we are ready to jump into and it’s not that we don’t truly think that we are. It’s more often than not that we don’t truly understand exactly what being ready means. When I had my first book published back in 2008 I thought I was ready for what came next but because I was naïve as to all that it encompassed to be successful at being a published author things didn’t exactly go as I had envisioned them going. The book didn’t sell well and I was overwhelmed with the other side of what being a published author meant (the business side) and although I thought I was, I was not ready for that.

When opportunity comes knocking to make our dreams come true we always like to think that we are ready for whatever comes after. We don’t always properly assess things and what’s worse is that we find that we hadn’t properly prepared for what it is we said we wanted. We end up not being as ready as we thought we were. This is why we have to make ourselves ready. It’s not enough to just want the dreams we have envisioned to come true. We have to begin preparing for it long before the opportunity comes to knock at our door. So the next time that you say that you are ready to finally get all that you’ve been dreaming for, think about whether you are truly ready and properly prepared. Think about whether you have assessed everything and the amount of diligence and tenacity that it will take for you to see it through. Think about whether you are truly ready and more importantly, are you willing to step into your purpose and fulfill your dreams with the gifts that God gave you!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Journey Doesn’t End at a Closed Door

on the other side of the door

As I started this year with all of the excitement and anticipation of anyone dead set on taking their dreams to the next level I sat and thought about something that my pastor preached about a few weeks ago. He talked about not just asking God for what it is that you want out of your life but believing and knowing that God will do for you all that he promised he would do. The important part of his message that he spoke about was how sometimes we allow our impatience and our discouragement hold us back from getting all of the things that we’ve been asking God for. We want what we want right at that moment and somehow we think that if it doesn’t happen on the time table that we had in our mind that it means that it’s never going to happen at all.

I think that that’s what I have been doing, unknowingly of course, but I’ve been so impatient. It sounds funny saying that when I think about the fact that I’ve been at this for over a decade now but if I think back there have been so many moments where I felt like a breakthrough might have been coming but then an obstacle presented itself. Instead of holding steady and pushing through that door which was simply stuck, I turned and went backwards trying to trace my missteps to figure out what I missed that would have made the door open easier and quicker. The truth is, in those moments where I turned and tried to see where I went wrong my energy would have been better spent trying to push through that door that was just stuck, not locked, simply hard to open.

There isn’t a set time where everything is just supposed to magically come together. Just because the results aren’t immediate or as fast paced as you think they should be doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Everything that is worth having has been won in a struggle. We have to stop putting a time table on our dreams and making it as if they’re not worth striving for if they don’t happen at the precise moment we want them to.

There will always be a different door at the turning point of any moment in your journey and what’s on the other side of it won’t always be easy to access but we can’t give up and we can’t turn back trying to create our own do-over. Now it’s true that there are some doors that were meant to be closed in order for others to open but we can’t confuse what’s not meant for us to open with what just appears to be too hard to open. We have to just push through, no matter how hard we have to push, until we knock that door down. Don’t walk away before you finally get everything that it is you’ve been waiting for. The journey isn’t over just because you have to stay in the same place for a little while longer than you initially planned. Keep pushing through those doors because the next level is coming!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Dreams Don’t Die, They Simply Change, and That’s Okay

dreams don't die 1

One of my first childhood dreams for my future was when I was somewhere between eight and nine and just knew that I was going to be a New York Time’s Best Selling Author by the age of thirty. Needless to say that has not yet come true and I am almost forty. I spent a lot of time last year continuing work on my novels all while submitting other novels to various agents. I got a rejection letter from almost all of them (some still haven’t responded yet, which I suppose is a response in itself) but they weren’t the regular form rejection letters. They were all nice and complimentary of how well my writing is and how the story sounded intriguing yet it was not particularly what they were looking for. There were a few who even made some suggestions of certain areas of the story in which to make it a little stronger but still making sure to let me know that they thought I had great potential of getting traditionally published down the road.

I suppose that the fact that they didn’t send back something generic and formal and actually took time out of their already busy schedules to personalize my rejection a little more means something but in the end a rejection is still just that. I’m not going to lie, I was beginning to doubt myself and my writing ability just a little bit but then I decided that this year was going to be the year of no excuses and I was not going to let someone else’s approval stop me from putting my work out there. Truthfully, that I’m not further along in my career as a published novelist (and not just someone with about four or five novels just sitting completed on a flash drive) is my own fault.

My first time being published was back in 2010, and it was by a small publishing house, and if I look back now I honestly wasn’t ready for the business part of being a published novelist. I was also a little too excited and a little too naïve in thinking that this small publishing house would do the same things as a traditional publishing house, in terms of marketing and publicity. I wasn’t really knowledgeable about social media and how best to use it to market myself and when it came to promoting my own book, well I tended to shy away from putting myself out there. I know more about social media now as opposed to what I knew then and I think I am more ready now then I was then to be published.

You know they say be careful what you ask for because you just might get it and in terms of receiving something that you’re simply not ready for yet, that saying couldn’t be more true. I used to tell people that I regretted my first experience with publishing because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what I had gotten into when I signed with that small publishing house. It wasn’t a very successful experience and I had expected to just be able to write and let someone else handle the rest. That was misguided thinking but now those lessons that that experience taught me are priceless.

Now, because of that experience, as I get ready to reenter the arena as a published author by publishing my own work, I understand all of the work that the process will entail and while I am not yet a marketing or social media genius, I am substantially better at it then I was then and what I don’t know or understand I am prepared to research and learn. I was smart enough then to make sure that I got my rights back to my novel that was published back then in a reasonable time and I plan on republishing that novel (possibly renaming it what I wanted to name it to begin with) because I still believe in the story that lied within those pages.

We tend to waste time trying to control things that are not within our control instead of focusing on what is. We do ourselves a great disservice when we hold onto the notion that we can somehow go back and change the mistakes that we made before. Sometimes we have to learn how to let go of the dream that we started out with and grab on to the dream that has bloomed where the old one once was. Now I’m not saying that I don’t still desire to be published with a traditional publishing house but this is the year of no excuses right, so to waste time waiting for that to happen when I have ISBN #’s waiting to be used for my own novels would be pointless. The things I dreamed for myself ten or fifteen years ago aren’t really gone, they’ve just morphed into newer, bolder dreams that require me to have the courage to let what once was go and grab onto what can be now. Are you ready to let go of the dreams that didn’t survive your past and grab onto the dreams of your future?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine

https://www.facebook.com/confessionsoftheunpleasantlyplump

https://twitter.com/jcladyluv 

https://twitter.com/write2bemag 

The Year of No Excuses

The Year of No Excuses

It’s a New Year now with new possibilities and more hopes for a better year than the last. The first day of the year really does feel like you’re getting a fresh start. It seems like this year truly feels like the time to take further risks, no holds barred type of risks. I’m more of a risk averse person but I know that given the visions and dreams that I have for my future, avoiding risks is never going to do me any good.

I read Shonda Rhimes book, A Year of Yes, the year before last and after reading it I really wanted to be able to take the bull by the horns and say yes to everything that came my way. However, I really wasn’t in the position to say yes to everything that I wanted to say yes to, and I wasn’t really sure if saying yes to everything would have the same effect on my life as it did for Ms. Rhimes. This past year however, through the magic that is social media, I saw on a friends Facebook page that she had made 2018 her year of yes and she truly committed herself to leaving no opportunity untapped. Of course she had moments that were scary, moments that pushed her far out of her comfort zone and frankly it was a really beautiful thing to watch, even if only through the lens of social media.

Now here was someone who wasn’t Shonda Rhimes (but maybe the next Shonda), having one of the best years of her life all because she was saying yes instead of no. I had a flash of what it might be like for me to be able to say yes to every single little opportunity that has come or will come my way and thought to myself that maybe it was time for my year of yes. Then the reality of the fact that I’m still not quite in the position to say yes to everything, just yet. A Year of Yes is a nice notion if you have endless financial means, or at least unstrained anyway. So it got me to thinking about starting smaller. Now I could just resign to the fact that I just can’t do the Year of Yes this year and leave it at that and just simply say that I will try my best but that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m making this my year of no excuses on my way to my Year of Yes.

I know that they might sound similar but my premise is that maybe I can’t make it to Atlanta to attend a writer’s conference in the summer time that I’ve been wanting to attend for the last couple of years now, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t instead drive to a writer’s conference somewhere closer to where I live that won’t drain my finances. I haven’t yet been able to secure myself an agent for my novels (and the rejection letters have really been piling up in my inbox) but there’s nothing really stopping me from going ahead and beginning the self-publishing process and taking that leap to put my own work out there. Sure it wasn’t the way that I had imagined it would happen but why should I keep letting that stop me.

One of the scariest things that I am doing this year is starting a YouTube channel. Not only will it take me extremely out of my comfort zone, but it will push my boundaries in the technology area which I’m not really all that great at and quite frankly I’m terrified that I won’t be any good at it and that no one will want to watch but I’m going for it. While it’s a big step for me I’m just jumping into it and the not knowing how things are going to turn out is a little nerve wracking but no excuses right.

I’ve become a pro at making excuses for why something can’t happen so it’s really time for me to take the leap of faith that say I have in myself and my abilities and just go for it all. I mean I couldn’t fall on my face any flatter than I’ve already fallen in the past right so why not. So maybe I won’t be able to say yes to all the things that I want to do this year but that is no excuse that I can’t find a way to make things happen that will get me closer to that yes for next year. So here’s to the Year of no excuses and making things happen. Even if they have to be a slight variation to the yes we want, it can be the yes that we need to keep moving forward. Here’s to a brand new year with a brand new mindset! Whether you are having a year of Yes or a year of no excuses, take a leap of faith with me! Let’s do this!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

http://write2bemagazine.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine

https://www.facebook.com/confessionsoftheunpleasantlyplump

https://twitter.com/jcladyluv 

https://twitter.com/write2bemag