Can I Really Fit In Reading A Good Book?

lost in a book 2

If being a good reader is what goes into making someone a better writer then I must confess that I am not the writer that I think I am.  Let me just say that I love to read, so much so that when I don’t get a chance to it hurts my heart just a little bit more with each opportunity that slips through my fingers.

After all, reading is what made me want to be a writer in the first place and it is what allowed me to enhance my abilities as a writer, learning more about crafting words, and the proper structure of them, what having the write setting and time period can do to enhance a book.  I read about how important small details are to a book and how to get more in touch with my characters and who they were really portraying.  With reading I even got to learn about certain things that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about and about places that I have always dreamt of going but that are not a guaranteed staple of my journey.

Having said all of that, lately, in the last few years I have not been the best reader that I can be.  That last two years it seems as though I have not read at all (unless you count the fact that it took me almost a whole year to finish one book) and it saddens me.  It is not because I don’t still have the desire to always have a book in my hand and take it with me wherever I go.  It is because once you really thrusts yourself into being a writer, both the creative and the business sides of it, it seems like the time to read is minimal at best.

I feel like I can’t even balance the time to write and market my business, along with taking care of my daughter and making memories with her, so by the time I sit down to read anything I am so tired that I end up in the same place I started with the bookmark lying somewhere on the floor and the pages bent because I have tossed and turned all over my book.

You see it’s not as if I never make the attempt and even squeeze in what I think will be just enough time to read a chapter before I try and get some sleep.  Mind you, that I wake up most mornings at 6am and don’t usually make it to bed until 2am (sometimes later) so I am operating daily on four hours of sleep. Example, I started the book I am currently reading in January with the New Year.  At the most it should have only taken me a month to finish it (used to be less) but here it is March and I am still just halfway through.  So does the fact that I can’t seem to squeeze in reading to my already filled up schedule mean that I am not as good of a writer as I once was?  I sure hope not.

This is a reminder to all of you out there, find the time to read if you’re not already doing it.  It will not only make you a better writer overall, but a better editor for those novels you have to edit, and just a better storyteller in general.  Take it from someone who can’t seem to fit in a good book and who is desperately trying to find the balance so that I can, read almost as much as you write.  It will make a world of a difference.  Stay curious and stay captivating!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

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The Caliber of the Classics— Has Classic Literature Been Forgotten?

I read a blog post yesterday that questioned whether or not the classics are necessary to be read.  It made me remember that I once questioned that myself.  I must admit that when I was in high school I didn’t read a lot of the classics that one was supposed to have read at that age.  I read some but others I attempted and just couldn’t get through it, at least not then anyway.  However, since then I have read a lot of the classics that people always talk about and refer to quotes from as books that are just meant to be read in one’s lifetime and I must say that I think reading the classics makes a writer better.

There was a certain standard in literature that the classics upheld, a certain caliber that they were an example of.  A certain level of writing that one had to be qualified to have in order to really truly have their books on people’s shelves.  In the days of the classics they wrote deep, thought provoking stories, and breathed a particular depth into their characters.

In today’s society, while you have your writers who have that special something, who are of that caliber and who do uphold those standards of classic literature, there are far too many writers who haven’t met that standard and they don’t hold themselves to a particular style of writing in which they don’t just settle for putting anything on the page.  I thought about some of the classics that I have managed to read (some later on than others) that made a difference to me and had an effect on my writing.  Maybe some of these had an effect on you too.

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  7. WutheringHeights by Emily Bronte
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  9. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  10. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  11. The SecretGarden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  12. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Here are some classics that I still have yet to read (although I should’ve read them already by now) but that I plan on making an attempt to read sometime soon.

  1. A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What are your favorite classic novels?  What classics would you still like to read if you weren’t so busy writing your own novels?

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.

Getting To the Task At Hand

So adhering to my own words in my post the other day about having deadlines, I have decided to use my calendar for productivity and not just let it sit there waiting to be filled with events that are not yet in the works.  I took out my planner and although I had planned on filling it with events and conferences that I would be headed to this year (which is still not out of the realm of possibility), I decided to begin making those deadlines that I said I needed to set for myself.

The first task on my calendar is to send out those queries and letters of introduction to those publications that I am terrified will say No to my work.  I suppose the reality is that they can’t say yes if I don’t submit anything at all.  Of course the biggest deadlines that I had to set for myself is to finish the one novel that I’ve been working on for a while now (what feels like forever) and outlining and beginning the next one that I am anxious to get working on next.

I’m actually scheduled to start working on accomplishing some of those deadlines this weekend so I am looking forward to getting back to work on my novel.  I’ve actually really missed my character and she’s kind of been wondering why I abandoned her story.  Do all of you have your projects lined up for this weekend yet?  I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

 

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.

The Reasons Why My Novel Might Not Be Finished Yet

I started my current novel some time ago (I’m embarrassed to even say how long ago it was) and it should’ve been finished by now.  In fact I should’ve not only finished that novel but have already been well into the next one.  Nevertheless, I am still not finished yet.  I think that these are some of the reasons that I haven’t finished my novel yet:

  1. Too many ideas
  2. Can’t balance my time effectively
  3. Too ambitious with the projects that I want to accomplish
  4. Too much time spent not writing

In the end they all boil down to excuses that just aren’t good enough but I thought identifying with them would possibly help me finally get to the point where I could perhaps finish the novel.  I believe the biggest reason I can’t seem to finish is the fact that I just have one too many ideas running around in my head; too many characters; too many plots.  I did what I seem to always do.  I get to that point where I am almost at the end (literally, I’m on Chapter 22 of a novel that is supposed to go to chapter 29—of course that could change) and then another idea that I’ve had in my head for sometime starts to become a stronger presence in my subconscious and then it’s the only idea I can concentrate on.

It’s a terrible habit that I have and it almost makes me wish that my problem was having a lack of ideas so the ones I have won’t take over every other project that I am working on.  Perhaps this is another form of writer’s block.  I always thought that it pertained to not having any ideas or inspiration to write at all but I think it might be just as bad to have so many ideas that you can’t focus on just one.  Maybe I can’t seem to finish because it is my first attempt at writing a mystery and I’m nervous it won’t turn out as good as I am hoping.  This is the point where I chuckle at people who seem to think that writing is easy and that all writers do is come up with stories.  It’s so much harder then people think it is.

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 Day # 20: Have You Learned How to Balance and Weave?

It’s hard to find balance when you are trying to juggle so many tasks at once.  Writing a novel is not an easy task and when you take on the added pressure of participating in National Novel Writing Month and having to write every single day and write a specific amount of words just to meet one specific goal.

If you add to that the pressure of completing the other projects and tasks that you have to do that also concern your writing career such as keeping up with your blog, making that deadline for the novel or non-fiction book that you need to get to your editor, or the articles that you are being paid to write by a specific time, it can be extremely hard to find that balance to handle it all.  Here are a few suggestions on how you can balance your Novel and your other writing projects and weave them into one another, if you can.

1)      Separate your writing tasks and times over different days.  For instance, choose to work on your novel for NaNoWriMo at one time period of the day (in the morning or in the evening) and work on one of your other writing assignments in the opposite time period of the day.  If you have multiple tasks aside from your NaNoWriMo novel then split it up and do one task on one day and another on another day.

2)      If your main writing tasks aside from doing your NaNoWriMo novel is doing your blog then weave the two tasks together.  Blog about your NaNoWriMo experience.  Blog about your novel and how the process of writing your novel is going.  Blog about your characters and allow your readers to get to know them before your novel even gets published and comes out.  This will allow your blog posts to come a little easier to you while under the pressure of writing your novel and still keep you on course with maintaining your blog.

3)      Write your articles that have to be written about your experience of NaNoWriMo.  Write articles about your process of writing your novel.  Write the articles that you are submitting for payment about having to balance your novel with your other tasks of being a writer, a business person, and a parent.  These articles will not only come easier because you are living that experience but they won’t take too much extra thought process and research (that it would take to do the health related article you would normally be writing right now) which would be time taken away from writing your novel.

4)      If you honestly are not good at balancing the multiple writing tasks then focus on the novel and write notes regarding the other projects you need to work on in a notepad.  This allows you to focus on that novel, get it done, and still not lose the ideas that you have for your other projects.  That way when you are finished with NaNoWriMo and your novel you can immediately go implement the ideas and notes that you jotted down with your other projects.

I hope some of these suggestions help you keep that balance and get that novel done.  There’s only ten more days so hang in there.  You can do this!

 

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

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NaNoWriMo Day # 17: Breaking the Routine, Just For One Day

Saturday’s are a hard day to keep up with your writing routine for NaNoWriMo.  You have so many other things to do on these two little days of the weekend to make up for all that you don’t get done during the week when you’re working and being super-mom (or dad) and cramming in your writing of your novel.  It’s not completely out of the ordinary for you to want to take a day away from NaNoWriMo.  

Although I strongly suggest that you find a way to write every day of this month (even if it is only a paragraph), there is nothing worse then forcing something that just isn’t there.  It isn’t good for your creativity, it isn’t good for story and your characters, and it isn’t good for your sanity.  

If you absolutely need a break from your story and all things NaNoWriMo, it will not completely hurt anything to miss one day.  After all, you can always make it up in the days to come.  Either you can double your word count the next day or you can split up the words you missed and add them into the next few days.  

If you are going to plan on missing one of your days I would actually suggest that it be on Thanksgiving because it’s going to be a hectic day and sometimes it pays to have one less thing to worry about doing on a holiday.   

 

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

NaNoWriMo Day # 16: The Dreaded Middle

I was thinking about those writers out there who might have the same problem that I have when I am in the middle of the novel.  I mean the beginning is tough but you know what needs to be done there; there needs to be some incredible lead in to hook the readers to the story.  The end is a little easier but you have a clear idea of what to do there as well; you have to end the story on a happy note for your readers own sanity, or even better you have to leave the readers on the edge of their seats and ready for the sequel (assuming there will be one).

The middle is always a rough patch because there’s that sense of not really knowing what to do or if you want to shift the direction the story is taking.  I mean you can’t keep throwing twists and turns in the story left and right the whole way through the story, it would just be too much.  You also can’t have a persistent lull there the entire time either leaving readers wondering when the story is going to pick up again and become more interesting.  The middle of the novel is that land of sketchy territory.  Sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

When you find you don’t know where to go in your story don’t be afraid to get some outside input.  Share some of your story with your trusted few and get some ideas and suggestions from unbiased eyes.  Perhaps you could even create a side short story for the not-so main characters to get your mind racing with ideas again.  In creating your short story for the sub-characters you may even discover a whole other side to your main character(s).  You might even come up with a whole other idea for another novel that focuses on one or more of your sub-characters from this novel.

Find ways to send your mind in other directions then the one you are going in.  This could translate into a whole new angle and a solution to the problem of the dreaded middle of the novel.  Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to get stuck because after stuck there comes stalled and you don’t want an excuse to quit on this novel.

 

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

NaNoWriMo Day # 14: Keeping Up the Momentum

Sometimes it feels like if you take even one step away from the computer and your story that you will lose momentum.  You get in a good flow with your story and you don’t want to leave it for fear that you won’t keep up that same steady flow the next time you sit down at your computer.  Here are a few tips to keep the momentum for your story up even when you are not sitting in front of your computer.

1)      Have a dialogue with your characters when you are away from the computer.  Take mental note of the conversation that you left off with or envision the next scene and the conversation that could take place in that scene and keep that dialogue going in your mind until you sit down at the computer tomorrow (or your next scheduled writing time).

2)      Envision the cover of your book and the book release party that you will have when it is all done and published.  Think about how you will market it and who you will target your advertisements of the book towards.  No, this is not helping the actual story move forward but it is keeping the motivation you have going for putting your but in that chair the next time you are scheduled to write so you can see that vision of your book finished and in stores.  Sometimes having that mental picture of what it looks like when your goals have been met motivates you to get moving on meeting those goals.

3)      You can always make voice recordings of the ideas or notes you want to make within your story.  For some this works better to help remember where you want to go in your story or if you get a new idea that takes your story in a different direction you can quickly record that idea.  Some prefer this to writing down the idea in a notebook.  It also can work very well for those of us who constantly think of storyline ideas when we’re driving around in the car (or does that just happen to me).

I hope some of these ideas help you keep the momentum going in your story even when you’re not sitting down at your computer.  Tomorrow is the halfway point.  Hope your story is unfolding brilliantly!

 

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

NaNoWriMo Day # 13: Is the Excitement of NaNoWriMo Starting to Taper Off?

Hopefully you haven’t gotten to that point in your NaNoWriMo experience where the excitement of doing a first draft in 30 days has weaned and the everyday responsibilities of life have once again consumed you.  But if you have reached that point (although that doesn’t usually happen until after you’ve passed the middle of the month) and you are starting to get blocked or starting to procrastinate, perhaps you just need a little motivation to get you going again.

If you’re a music lover (and you can actually write to music—I usually would just end up singing instead of writing) then maybe you could start thinking of music to inspire you to write.  Perhaps you should give your book a soundtrack as if it were going to become a movie (who knows, maybe it will be) and think of the songs that would fit your book and its characters.  The music that might be playing in the background of a dramatic scene could push your story forward even further.

If you are more of a television person maybe watching a little T.V. can get those creative juices flowing again.  If you are writing a drama, perhaps watch a drama show, or if you’re writing something a little more comedic, then watch comedy.  Perhaps watching the style that you are currently writing in can give you ideas for scenes, or dialogue, or an interesting plot twist you can throw into your book.

You might even think about watching an inspiring movie that could give you more ideas for your book.  Perhaps watching a movie that resembles what you want your book to look like on film (not a carbon copy of course but a generalized idea) can give you more of an inspiration to finish what you started this month.  Movies are usually what gets my creative juices going again and gives me an overwhelming amount of new ideas (too many new ideas—usually before I’ve finished working on the old ones) and has me rushing back to my computer (or to my notebook).

If none of those things inspires you to keep writing then do something that does inspire you or do something that can help take the pressure off of you to finish the novel.  There’s nothing wrong with going out for a couple of hours, having some fun with friends or family, and releasing that tension or anxiety you are feeling about getting your novel done.  That may be just what you need to get back into the swing of things.  No matter what you find to inspire you to keep writing, just keep writing!

 

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

NaNoWriMo Day # 10: Follow the Story!

Is your story taking an unexpected detour?  You may have started out with the most detailed outline for your novel but sometimes your characters may be leading your story in a different direction.  Now while I am all for sticking to an outline, it is, after all, the foundation of the story.  However, if your story is taking on a life of its own (as stories often do) and it is pulling you in one direction, it is completely counterproductive to resist that pull.

Your characters will always be the one’s responsible for telling the story that you are trying to convey.  A lot of times the story you thought was going to be told in the beginning changes into a completely different story, possibly focusing on a different character as the main character then you had originally intended.  Don’t fight wherever the story is leading you.

If you resist the pull your readers will more than likely be able to see the struggle and it will leave them wondering if the story they read was the story that should have been told.  Follow wherever your story is taking you and just enjoy the ride!

 

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

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