The Writer’s Myth I Love to Ignore

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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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There Are Times When I Question, Am I Still Meant To Do This

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I was reading the latest blog post on one of the many that I follow and it was about the signs that let you know you were meant to be a writer.  It’s funny because lately I’ve been wondering, since I have been a little stalled or slow moving on my latest novel and it doesn’t seem like I am moving as quickly as I would like to with it, does that mean I am not really a writer any more.

I mean sure there are obviously other forms of writing (article writing, blog writing, etc.) that I do and have become better at throughout the years but since novel writing was I initially wanted to become known for, sometimes I feel like I am not as much of a writer anymore.  Okay true, those thoughts only last a good minute or so and then I realize that it’s crazy because of course I am a writer.

Well when I was reading the list on this blog post this morning with the signs that you are meant to be a writer I realized that over half of that list applied to me, in fact maybe all but one (there are 11) I could point out as identifying with.  However, it made me think of a few more that weren’t on the list (not exactly anyway) that also apply as well.

1)      I no longer watch movies and T.V. for pure entertainment but rather more so with the thought in mind of how I could write the script better or how I can write something equally as good.

2)      I still read books the traditional way and write in longhand a lot of the time.  I know that these old traditions have seemingly been tossed out and replaced with newer (supposedly better) technology but I haven’t given up those old ways of writing and reading.

3)      My text messages turn out to be pages in which I go over before sending to check the grammar and spelling to make sure it is written well before sending it.

4)      I still believe in writing my own words inside of a card for any special occasion and in fact can take up a whole entire side of a card writing it.

5)      My idea of a good night is when I can finally sit down and instead of working on a paper for school or even an article, I can actually work on a novel in progress or ideas for one that has yet to be started.

6)      I still wake up with story plots in my head in which I have to actually use the voice memo feature on my phone (which if you knew me you know how much I hate using this feature to record ideas) to get the idea out before I forget it (because my short term memory isn’t as good as it used to be).

7)      I love stocking up on notebooks and pretty pens and any kind of really beautiful stationary and have a hard time even going in staples for fear of how much I might walk out with.

These are just a few of the additions that I would make to the list I read this morning in which about ten of the eleven things on it apply to me.  It’s not that I need constant reminders of why writing is what I am meant to do but sometimes I start to wonder.  You spend so much time working on a craft, and cultivating your career, and having pride in your work that it becomes doubtful when it seems as if none if it is working and like none of the hard work you do is propelling you forward.

I have to keep remembering, slow and steady sometimes is really the best way to do things.  I have to have patience because writing makes me happy and it is just that important to me.  What signs on this list or the list in the blog post I read can you apply to yourself?  What signs do you think you would add that are not on this list?

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

3 Writers Whose Paths Are Still Teaching Me So Much

I know that there are tons of lessons that I have yet to learn from writers who have already been propelled to a Hollywood level of success that I eventually hope to get to.  Writers like J.K. Rowling, Terry McMillan, Tyler Perry, James Patterson, or Sue Grafton.  Reading their works, studying their patterns, their habits, are valuable lessons to be instilled in my everyday quest for reaching my goals.

However, there are other writers also, other not yet famous (and I say yet because they are either just getting on their way or they will be) authors that this industry should be on the lookout for.  There are 3 writers in particular whose lessons I can’t disregard and one’s that they are currently teaching me for my present circumstances.

Writers like Christina Katz, who for the years that I have been following her blog and her career, has reminded me continually that just because I am a mother does not mean that I can’t raise my career alongside my child and be an awesome Writer Mama.  She also has showed me that building a platform is vitally important if you want to become successful within the writing industry and that it’s important to establish that platform before you release the book.

Then there is Catherine Ryan Howard, who is a prime example that being a self-published author is not a death sentence to your writing career but that it could potentially make you more of a household name.  Catherine Ryan Howard has a remarkable blog and has self-published several books that are successfully driving her readership higher and higher and her determination is something to be admired.

Speaking of determination, not to mention drive, LaMonique Hamilton, who launched her online magazine, PieHole, just last year, is a writer who I admire greatly.  She has such a love and passion for writing and for the media industry in general.  She really will be the Oprah of the next generation and her passion for the arts is contagious.

There are many other writers whose names aren’t on someone’s Hollywood hit list yet that we can learn from on our way to career success.  Let’s not take for granted the lessons that can be learned on a smaller scale that will help us get to the larger scale that we’re looking to get to.  All lessons are important no matter where they come from.  Even the small lessons that we learn can lead us to big results!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

NaNoWriMo Reminder: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect On the First Draft

I was reading blog posts this morning, catching up on posts from the last couple of days of some of the blogs that I subscribe to.  I came across one by Catherine Ryan Howard discussing National Novel Writing Month and some of the backlash that the yearly event gets from “real writers” who turn down their noses at the idea of creating a novel in 30 days.  Her blog post listed a whole host of reasons why she discarded the notion that NaNoWriMo is just nonsense and somehow belittles the profession of writing.

Until reading her blog post I had never known anyone to say anything bad about NaNoWriMo or that indicated that NaNoWriMo was something that was not for “real writers”.  After all, I’ve done NaNoWriMo for many years and I don’t consider myself anything less than a real writer.  It got me to thinking about just how many people that we don’t realize actually get the novels that they began writing during a National Novel Writing Month event published and just how important something like NaNoWriMo really is.

It also made me think about how many people do themselves in by trying to actually complete a novel (writing, editing, rewriting, and re-editing again many times over) in those 30 days.  Maybe that’s where people get overwhelmed at with the thought of NaNoWriMo.  So many people (myself included) have tried to complete the impossible task of writing and actually finishing a novel in 30 days that they forget to have fun while they are doing it.

Yes writing is (hard) work, but I think that a lot of times what we writers tend to forget during the month of November is that it should still be fun as well.  There should still be passion behind the words we write and not just a continuous rush to get it done no matter what.  If you are striving for a perfect draft the first time out the gate during NaNoWriMo then you may just be disappointed.

Don’t get caught up in exactly what the end product is supposed to be.  After you’ve come up with the plot, you’ve done your outline, and you’ve mapped out your schedule, just sit down and write.

Don’t try and make it perfect, don’t go back and edit while you’re writing, don’t agonize over whether you’re going to be able to get it published once it’s done.  Just sit down, enjoy the characters that are honoring you with telling their story, and write!  I promise you that if you enjoy what you are writing, then people will almost certainly enjoy reading what you have written.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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

http://www.passionatewriterpublishing.com/thediary.htm

www.lulu.com/ladybugpress

From One Struggling Writer to the Rest Who Think They Are Struggling Alone

Sometime last week (it may have been the week before that) Ms. L sent me a link to a blog post titled Don’t Break the Chain by a wonderful blogger named Catherine Ryan Howard who I am now following (and you all should be too).  Ms. L knows I have been struggling with finding the time to write and work on all things related to my writing business so she thought that this would be helpful.  Well as usual, Ms. L always knows just what I need to read (and hear) to get me jump started again.  Of course it helped to know that this post also helped Ms. L as well because I knew that I was not alone in my struggles to be productive in my writing efforts.  

Well the blog post talked about many things in regards to one being more productive but more importantly it gave the idea of marking off days on a calendar with a red X for every day that you have accomplished your daily writing goals, whether it be actually writing or working on the business side of your writing career, and of course after so many days of seeing a chain of red X’s you get into the mode of not wanting to break that chain and having to see those X’s stare you in the face everyday becomes an incentive to actually get things done. 

Well there is a website that helps with that, for those of us who don’t want to go out and buy a huge wall calendar to mark down the days.  The website (once you register) will allow you to mark each day with a red square for every day that you have achieved your daily goals and you can even create other chains for you business efforts or whatever other goals you want to set.  I signed up (almost immediately) and have found it to be extremely helpful.  

I have actually been getting things done because I simply just don’t want to break the chains that I have created for myself.  Who knew something so simple as marking off days on a calendar could be so helpful in keeping me focused and making me produce more work.  I hope that any of you out there who is struggling with this very same issue clicks on the links to the websites and gets started on their road to becoming more productive.   

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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

http://www.passionatewriterpublishing.com/thediary.htm

www.lulu.com/ladybugpress