Are We Creating the Right Habits to Accomplish Our Goals?

I did a YouTube video last week talking about my process in between writing projects, well specifically, novels. It made me think about the different routines that we have for different phases in our lives that we get through and how varying those routines can be depending on which phase of the creative process we are in.  I have a routine for when I’m writing, albeit a routine that could use some fine tuning.  I have a routine for when I’m taking a creative break from things altogether. I have a routine for if I’m just conducting research for a particular project. Interestingly enough, as organized as it may seem to have all your bases covered no matter what stage of creativity you are in it can be counterproductive. Or maybe it’s just me that is starting to feel like having a different routine for everything is just a way to not have a concrete routine overall.

I’m currently reading (or rather listening to on audiobooks) Atomic Habits by James Clear and he talks a lot about creating systems that help you to achieve your overall goals but not relying so heavily in the goals. I haven’t gotten that far yet but so far his theory is that if you use the same system to achieve things then you can start to rely in your system that you set up and not necessarily the goals because inevitably following your system is going to get you to the goal anyway, just maybe not at the speed in which you have set up in your goals. What I understand so far is that creating habits that you can stick to and do instinctively without really thinking about them is more valuable then having these bullet points for goals that oftentimes seem unattainable and out of reach.

Now he wasn’t saying that you shouldn’t have goals at all anymore, but rather that you should have formed habits and ways of getting to those goals. For instance, I have a book that I’ve been trying to republish since last year and for one reason or another it is proving to be a longer process than I initially thought. But is that because my goals are off or because my habits in getting those goals accomplished are off? I should have a proven system that is going to allow me to produce more of what I need to do in order to get those goals tackled. I can have all the goals I want to have and they can be lofty or they can be relaxed but without the methods and a system put in place to actively get to that goal, then the habits have to be consistent.

What are your systems or habits for achieving what you want out of life? Are you practicing those habits consistently? Take some time to think about whether you are setting goals just to set goals or if you are actually taking steps and forming habits that will help you fully achieve those goals. Having goals to strive for are great. Having routines to get through your different creative phases is wonderful. But having habits formed and being consistent in keeping up those habits is what will get us to the point where we can say we accomplished those goals.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeProductive #BeConsistent

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Exploring Every Inch of the Road in the Journey

The day we cease to explore is the day we begin to wilt. ~Cicely Tyson

Good or bad, life is nothing but a bunch of experiences. We have really good moments and we have really bad moments, and oftentimes the bad moments start to feel like they are more present than the good.  Where am I going with this you ask? Well, just that mistakes and hard times are simply apart of the exploration that we do throughout our journey. We can’t avoid them and in all honesty we should probably be welcoming them.

This thought process came to my mind because of a zoom call that I had with some wonderfully creative girlfriends of mine. We were getting together (virtually) to discuss Cicely Tyson’s book and other extraordinarily talented black creative artists. Of course the conversation ventured over to discussing our own creative endeavors and what our vision was for the things we were working on. I was singled out, and rightfully so (because they know me so very well), for often being afraid of stepping outside the box and exploring things, mainly for fear of making mistakes.

I have expressed here many times over the years this really tiresome dance that I do with my fear and how I strive to move past that and I’ve made strides and every now and then I realize I hadn’t let go of all of these fears as much as I would like to believe.  Don’t get me wrong, I am way better than I was years ago in terms of dealing with my constant fears and the obstacle the fear itself presents itself to be. I just have a ways more to go. On that zoom call I was reminded of advice from other successful people throughout history which is that the more you fail or rather make mistakes, the more life experience you have to put into your work and the better you can make the next attempt.

Not exploring things, not exploring life, is in many ways not allowing yourself to experience both successes and failures in various magnitudes and to use those learning experiences to fuel your drive and motivation to power forward.  Without exploration we don’t really learn what works and what doesn’t work, what we like and what we don’t like, and we simply don’t learn much of anything about who we are. 

If you are letting fear hold you back or keep you in that place of comfort, stop holding yourself back from experiencing every aspect there is of success, and that includes the moments in which you will undoubtedly making mistakes. It is not failing to get things wrong and to mess up. You only become a failure when you cease to explore at all. Never stop exploring every inch of the road you will walk on your journey.

Until next time… #BeCourageous #BeInspired #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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What Is Left to Be Discovered?

I love that even at the age of forty I am still discovering things about myself and my creative abilities that I had not realized before. For instance, I have been doing my YouTube channel for almost a year now (May 9th will be a year) and I was so hesitant to dive into that realm of the creative world. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am an extreme introvert and being on camera terrifies me. Nevertheless I took the risk and dove into the world of becoming a YouTuber and while it is a bit of a slow crawl to get a good sized audience I have discovered that I like doing it more than I thought I would.

Not the being on camera part mind you, but knowing that something I said or some advice that I have given has somehow inspired some other writer or given them courage to start their own YouTube channel. I always want to make a difference, in whatever I do, so getting comments on my videos telling me how much they enjoyed the video and how much they got out of it really makes me feel like I’m leaving my mark, however small of a mark it might be. We all leave our marks in this world, admittedly some leave bigger marks than others, but it all adds to the betterment of this world and the people in it.

I also happened to discover that I like editing videos and I’m not too bad at it either (imagine how good I can be at it if I can learn some more about the proper techniques) but I would have never discovered this hidden capability had I not attempted something that I was fearful of doing. Now I’m not saying we should dive into every single whim that we have.  However, taking a few risks every now and then can help us really learn things about ourselves that were just waiting to be discovered. Have you ever wondered what talents you might unearth if you just took a leap into that endeavor you’ve been holding back on? You should take the risk and see just what you discover about yourself.

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeBold #BeCourageous

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Breaking for Creative Rejuvenation

This will be my last post of the year 2020 (and what a year it’s been) and I just wanted to tell my readers and followers how much I appreciate you all. I come here to pour my heart out to you in hopes of not just being able to sort things out for myself but also in hopes that I can have an effect on someone else out there. I would like to think that I inspire some of you and even if it’s not with actual successes, then with the lessons that I have learned from failing often because failing just simply proved that I have tried and as long as you are trying can you truly say that you have failed. There is truth in that saying that nothing beats a failure but a try because when you don’t try you don’t actually know what can happen.

I applaud all of you this year, in a year full of uncertainty and heartbreak and truly rough times, for the sheer fact that you have made it through and that you didn’t let this year dictate anything to you. You tried in spite of the odds maybe being against you. You gave to others regardless of the fact that you more than likely didn’t have much to give yourself. You gave words of hope and encouragement to others who needed it even while trying to find that hope and encouragement deep down within yourself. You have put yourself out there and became an inspiration for others shooting for their dreams, all while struggling to see your own dreams through. You are strong and important and I love all of you.

I have some things that I’m working on for the coming year. I’ve got some books that are finally going to be released next year and other ideas, for the magazine, for my YouTube channel and other Write 2 Be related things and I have to go off and refill my creative well so that I can come back with fresh and new ideas and inspiration for you all. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Until next time… #BeInspired #BeMotivated #BeRenewed

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

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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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The Writer’s Guilt I Sometimes Feel

Writer's Guilt

There are many things that I have left to learn about being a writer because I don’t think one can ever be done learning when it comes to their craft. One thing mostly is to not feel so guilty when I’m not writing. Truth be told there is never really a moment when I am not writing in some capacity because the thing with writers is that you don’t always have to be physically writing to be working on something that has to do with your writing.

I get this tremendous amount of guilt when I am not physically typing out words to a story or if I don’t have a finished product. I sometimes don’t stop to realize that whenever I am researching something for a project I am writing. When I am thinking through the storyline in my head I’m still writing. Even when I am reading leisurely then I am still in many ways nurturing my craft because you can’t be a great writer without first being a great reader. My problem is that I tend to follow a lot of writers on Facebook and Twitter and I read about their amazing rates of production and the way they are able to put out work and the way they always seem to be posting that they are currently writing and working on some huge project and I start to think about why I’m not putting out work at that rate.

True enough I have had far too many moments of what I call “creative blocks” because it was a little more than just writer’s block because the words were always there, but with all of the ideas that I have had and stories that have been formed in my head I should have been better at my own production rate. However, I believe that when I do sit down to put those words to paper that it will flow more fluidly because I’ve researched what needed to be researched, I’ve thought through the storyline and even outlined what needed to be outlined, I’ve been reading other writers so I’ve got a good sense of different styles of writing and different writer’s voices and tones.

I have to remember not to feel so guilty for not producing words because there is so much more that goes into the craft of writing than just the actual writing. It’s just another way of sabotaging myself and my own creative efforts because if I somehow convince myself that I’m not a good writer because I am not actually producing what I should be then I will be giving myself an excuse not to try and a reason to just give up altogether.

In life we always can seem to find the things that we did wrong or that weren’t quite done to perfection but so rarely do we stop and revel in the good that we did and the things that we get right. I have to stop focusing on the imperfections that I have within my craft and zero in on what I am doing to further my craft and my career in writing. Guilt can be a very dangerous thing in many aspects of our lives and truly as long as we are continually trying, as long as we never give up on our dreams and our goals then we don’t have any reason to feel guilty.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Like-Minded Creative Types

like minded creative types

They say birds of a feather flock together and as a child that saying doesn’t appear to hold a lot of meaning. When you are a kid you think that just because the person that you have dubbed as your new best friend does things that you don’t necessarily agree with and have a few personality traits that you might learn to overlook, that it doesn’t say anything about you and the person that you are. In theory it sounds nice, and perhaps it should be that way, but the reality is that it’s not.

You don’t realize it when you’re that young because you don’t, or rather, you can’t see what other people see and you don’t have that kind of clarity when you’re younger. However, as you get older, the birds of a feather phrase starts to reveal its relevance in your life and it is more stated as place yourself around like-minded people.

As you all know I have been struggling with my creativity lately, not necessarily with coming up with ideas but mostly with the follow through of those ideas, the productivity. After a conversation the other day with a friend who I hadn’t talked to in a while, I realized that one of the problems that I might have brought on myself when it comes to my creativity issues is that that I hadn’t done a good enough job of managing the people around me.

In that conversation the other day we bounced ideas back and forth and mainly I got to discuss a lot of my ideas to someone who hadn’t really heard them before. In many ways it reinvigorated my motivation to follow through with and produce those ideas because obviously I want to see those ideas come to fruition. I felt like that conversation helped a little to pull me up out of the funk that I have been in. It was a conversation about creative ideas with another creative individual who has creative ambitions just like I do.

It also reinforced just how important it is to place yourself around people who want the same things that you do and have the same manner of ambition that you have. Of course I don’t mean the same exact ideas and goals but someone that understands where you’re coming from and that you can bounce off ideas and aspirations off of that’s not going to look at you with a blank clueless stare because they simply don’t get it, not because they aren’t capable of comprehending what you’re saying but because it’s not where their head is at so they don’t get you.

I have met some wonderful people recently, in the last year and a half or so, and they are fun people who have, admittedly helped me open up a little and somewhat come out of my hibernation shell (lol), but their ideas of what’s important aren’t my ideas of what’s important. Their idea of fun is not the same thing as my idea of fun, and their priorities are not in line with what my priorities are. They don’t get my creative side and it’s okay because that’s not their thing but it is mine.

I get tired of explaining myself and my goals and ambitions to people who frankly can’t understand those things. It makes me yearn even more for a creative network around me and I only really have a couple of people that I can express my creative self to. The number one person that I could always express those creative ideas to moved further away to North Carolina and frankly doesn’t seem to have time for me anymore, almost as if she’s forgotten our friendship. This leaves me wanting more creative people in my circle.

I am trying to make steps to interact more with creative people who can enhance my creativity even further and bring out in me things that I may be reluctant to display. That is something that I have already discovered as my month of going back to the basics in my writing has just started. It’s going to be interesting to see what else I discover in this month of simply putting pen to paper and letting the words flow.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Channeling Your Past Hurt into Greatness

Most people tend to think that for any artist, whether it be writers, painters, dancers, singers, songwriters, or actors, they must suffer some great loss or tragedy in their lives to produce great work.  While I would like to say that this is not true, in fact I believe that I have actually said that I disagree with that statement, I am discovering more and more that there might be something to that.  

I mean Adele made a chart topping hit record completely based on a bad break up.  The best-selling book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was written to help her through a painful divorce.  Countless hip hop records are drawn from personal hardships.  There have been many successful careers formed from a tragic experience.  I sometimes wonder why it is that creative people are somehow scarred in damaging emotional ways.  

I have come to a conclusion that perhaps the way that we let go of the pain that we experience is to transform it into greatness that other people can possibly relate to.  In order to let go of some of our past hurt we have to create a new joy within our own creations and expressions of our gifts.  

If that does happen to be true, that tragic and hurtful experiences do produce great materials that people will love and somehow identify with, then I have a really bright future within my writing career.  Instead of dwelling on all of the tragedies and hardships you might have been through, you should channel that hurt and pain into something great.   

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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Am I All Out Of Miracles?

Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.  It’s simply taking God at his word and taking the next step.

~Joni Erickson Tada

There comes a point when you decide to make the decision that you want to be an artists full time, but you don’t entirely have the means and resources to make that work, in which you realize that there are going to be an insurmountable amount of stumbles and falls along the way.  You might have even romanticized the whole starving artists’ concept and thought it might be cool to rise up from the ashes of despair and make it big proving all of the naysayers wrong.  You have probably had more than your fair share of tiny miracles along the way that you didn’t expect but were lifesavers when they presented themselves.  Well lately I’ve been feeling defeated and like I might actually be all out of my share of miracles. 

In the creative world, we rely a lot on the favor of others and more importantly on the miracles that God provides us with.  It’s not like other fields and industries where things are more certain and definitive.  For us creative types it is more of a, go where the wind blows, kind of thing.  I have went for quite some time now, not really knowing how things were going to work themselves out, just knowing that they would.  I have had many moments where I didn’t know what was on the other side but I could see the bright, or sometimes dim, light at the end of a very long tunnel.  So what do you do when you can’t see that light anymore and the length of the tunnel has become indefinite? 

There are moments when I’ve looked at those bills that come in the mail, and the activities my child can’t do, or the clothes that she needs but I sometimes can’t buy, and I’ve wondered, is God going to leave me hanging this time?  Of course I already know that the answer to that question is no but every now and then I feel like maybe I have asked for one too many miracles and one of these days God’s going to get tired of me burdening him.  I feel like I should have all of this stuff figured out by now and I should be able to go a long period of time without begging him for his favor.    

Logically I do know that through God all things are possible and I realize that God’s love and his favor is limitless and that the miracles that he provides us with are endless.  .  If people are going to make anything happen in this life the best thing that they could do is to have faith.  Faith that things are going to be okay and that God is not going to put you through anything more than what you can handle.  Faith in yourself and in the talents and gifts that God has given you and the purpose that he has given your life.  Faith that you are not going to really ever run out of miracles so long as you keep reaching out your hands to receive them.  From one starving artists’ to all the others, treasure all of your miracles and even when you are doubtful of yourself and your talent, step out on faith and let God do all the rest. 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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