Celebrating the Success of Others

So I wanted to talk about the nature of celebrating other people’s success. This comes to mind because a couple of weekends ago Tyler Perry had a history making moment with the grand opening of his very own studio company. Now for those of you who may have been living under a rock the last few weeks (lol) and do not understand why this was historic for him and for people of color in general, it’s because he didn’t just open a new studio with some investors and some private backing from someone here or there, he owns that entire 330 acre lot, 100% outright, with HIS OWN money and not owing anyone else any favors or money at all for this achievement. It was monumental to the African American community to have him accomplish this in a time where it seemed damn near impossible.

Now I was ecstatic for Mr. Perry and emotional, so much so that you would’ve thought I knew that man (sadly, I don’t, at least not yet anyway) and I was thrilled to see the outpouring of love and celebration for the hard work he has put in and what he has accomplished. Now while I know that everyone is not a Tyler Perry fan, I didn’t expect all of the hatred towards him either. You don’t have to like his body of work (although I absolutely love every single thing he’s ever done) in order to be able to appreciate his business savvy and work ethic and the fact that he didn’t just wait for a seat at the table, he literally went out and built his own.

It made me think about how much further we could get in this life if we stop begrudging everyone the success that they’ve achieved and celebrate them and appreciate the path that they are laying for the people that will come behind them. Everyone that achieves anything, it is due to someone that went ahead of them and broke down a few barriers first, and busted down some doors so that it wouldn’t be so hard for the next person.  When I was younger I used to have the why them and not me thoughts but I realized a long time ago that what may be one person’s time is not necessarily meant to be my time, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I give up and it certainly doesn’t mean that I wish for someone else to fail.

God’s plan for someone else is never going to be the same plan that he has for you because their purpose is different from yours. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be happy for someone else having their dreams come true and appreciate the work that went into making those dreams come to fruition. We have to be each other’s cheering section and root each other on because honestly a win for one person is essentially a win for all of us because the world can only become a better, more prosperous (and I don’t mean only monetarily) place when we all love one another and come together to make each other better. So the next time you start wishing that someone else’s success was yours, try readjusting your way of seeing things. Remember that the success that is theirs is going to be on a different level than the success that is meant for you. Until next time… #BeGrateful #BeDiligent

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Writers and Self-Care (A Preptober Post)

During NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month in case you’ve been living under a rock lol) writers tend to kick it into overdrive and get so lost in their story that they start to forget to do some of the simplest and most basic things. We tend to start to neglect ourselves for the sake of the art. So this NaNoWriMo

1) Don’t forget your hygiene – I know that this sounds obvious, but how many of you writers get so immersed in your story that you look up at the clock and suddenly the whole day could be gone. There are some writers who even get so engulfed in their characters and the story that they forget to eat and just work straight through the day without taking any kind of break. On one hand if you are that writer I almost want to congratulate you because that’s a lot of writing but on the other hand it’s not good to neglect things like showering and brushing your teeth and doing your basic daily maintenance. The story will be there if you step away for a minute.

2) Remember to eat – As I mentioned in the above tip, forgetting to eat is a common thing that people do when they become engrossed in their story. This is not healthy for you or your writing. How clear is your mind in terms of creating story and developing characters if you are not nourishing your body properly?

3) Take a break when you start to feel stalled – There will inevitably come a time that you will find yourself stuck and at some kind of standstill (and if not I would really like to know your secret). You will stare at the page or computer screen and find yourself rereading over the last few lines or scenes that you’ve written and end up in a place where you may not know where to go from there. The urge to press on and try to write anyway is strong and I know that this is what a lot of writers tell you to do, to keep going and work through it. That method does not work all the time and it may not work for everyone and that is when you just need to push your chair away from the desk and computer, get up, and take a break from your project. Go take a walk, go sit in the park and take in your surroundings, sit in a coffee shop or bookstore and listen to your surroundings (and the conversations taking place around you lol). You never know what could jog your creativity back into place!

4) Keep your health in tact – NaNoWriMo is not the time to abandon your healthy habits. If you consistently workout, do not use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to ‘take a break’ from the gym (I speak from experience, trust me). This is not a good idea, in fact it is a terrible idea because if your body is used to feeling a certain way from the continuity of working out then you will only be confusing your brain by the drastic shift. Working out triggers the endorphins in your brain in a way that nothing else can (not even coffee, as much as it pains me to say that) and if anything it will actually help you in your story writing and in achieving your writing goal for the month of November. Now if you have to change your time around then do that!

5) Read – This one is simple. Stephen King has said thousands of times and I’m sure many other writers have said it as well, and it’s because it’s true. You CAN NOT be a good writer if you are not first a good reader. To write well you must read A LOT. When I say read, I don’t just mean the genre that you are writing in either. Read a little of everything. Broaden your scope of the things that you read because if you do it will definitely broaden the scope of your writing. So READ! Enough said.

6) Don’t forget to stay connected – I know it’s kind of against the grain for NaNoWriMo and coming from a person like myself who likes to stay to myself for the most part it will sound strange but don’t distance yourself too much during NaNoWriMo. Writing is a solitary act (although it doesn’t have to be) for sure but remaining connected to people and remaining in tune with the people and things going on around you could also be critical to keeping your writing fresh and interesting.

7) Sleep is important – Lastly, but absolutely one of the most important things on this list, is sleep. If you are sleep-deprived your brain can’t come up with anything usable. That is not to say that you have to get a full eight hours of sleep (but if you can then go for it), I haven’t gotten anything over six hours at any one given time (unless I was sick) since back when I was in high school, but a decent amount of sleep is critical.

Okay so that’s it for today. I hope that all of you are prepping and planning your novels for NaNoWriMo and that when November gets here you don’t forget to take care of yourself. Until next time…Happy Writing!!! #BeMindful #BeCaringtoYourself

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Creativity Interrupted

There’s something I have to talk about and it’s not a subject I like to really talk to most people about. This is usually the only place I can be truly vulnerable about it and that’s writing and depression. I don’t know how many of you out there have to figure out how to write while you are battling through a depression episode but I feel like we as writers don’t talk about this enough. There’s this inherent notion that writers, well artists’ in general, are constantly suffering through some sort of emotional crisis and that emotional turmoil is what then fuels their writing and I really used to think this was just a horrible myth that I wanted to ignore. Now I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t some truth to it, mainly for two reasons.

It’s not that we creative types just have some type of genetic disposition for depression or emotional breakdowns but rather, I think it’s because we tap more into our emotions in order to write as well as taking on the emotions that we attribute to the characters that we are writing about (because yes, our characters are real people to us and they have real emotions that we must convey).

The second reason I somewhat buy into the myth of the artists struggle is more to the point of this post. It’s possible that writers or creative types in general are overly emotional, and are prone to depressive moods because we hold onto our emotions and don’t let them out. I mean sure we can use our writing to let out some emotions but that is a solitary act and it can still leave you feeling alone and as if your emotions and feelings don’t matter.

It is true that writers are known for, and most of the time, enjoy their solitude because it’s typically when the best creating gets done. However, that does not mean that writers don’t enjoy being around other people and venting or sharing their feelings with people that they care about or trust enough to be vulnerable with. If we don’t get those feelings out we tend to go further inside of ourselves and that leads to getting into a funk or a mood that may not in fact be productive or good for their creativity.

For me, it’s sometimes hard to detach myself from my emotions because I think that my emotions are what make me a better, more in tuned writer. On the flip side of that when I am going through an episode of depression, because there are so many emotions that I am internalizing and holding in, it’s harder for me to write.

I think that we artists have to stop holding things in and thinking that we’re just supposed to endure whatever feelings we’re having by ourselves. We have to be just as vulnerable with our own feelings as we are with the feelings of our characters because if we want to remain effective writers we have to learn to let go of some of that solitude that we hold so dear.

So if you’re feeling in a bit of a funk lately, a bit depressed maybe, try finding that one person that you can be open with and getting all of those feelings out. I think that you’ll be surprised at how freeing it can be and how good it will feel to get those emotions out and oddly enough you fill find that it will allow you to be more vulnerable in your writing and in expressing the emotions of your characters. Until next time… #BeVulnerble #BeOpen

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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

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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

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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

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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

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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/

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