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

writers room post 1

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

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

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

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

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

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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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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Getting Back into the Writer’s Flow of Things

Back in the writing flow of things (27)

So I know that I’ve been missing in action and it has been quite a while since I last wrote and I didn’t mean for it to take me so long to get back in the rhythm of things but you know how creativity strikes, or rather in some cases doesn’t strike. I had hit a creative wall and it wasn’t necessarily a lack of ideas, but a lack of knowing how to focus my ideas in a productive manner. I actually think that a part of my issue is that I have too many ideas and in a perfect world I would be able to do the work of ten people all at once and be able to get all of my ideas off the ground and running all at the same time. Alas, this is most certainly not a perfect world, and I am only one person with only two hands and I can not multiply myself the way I need to in order to get a lifetime worth of accomplishments done in a short period of time. I suppose if I hadn’t spent a large amount of wasted time second guessing every idea I’ve had, and every dream I’ve wanted to go after then I could have produced more of my ideas by now.

I got a boost of writing motivation when I participated in this writing challenge in September. It was Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 10 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders (you can find out more about by looking it up through Facebook) and it was a very cathartic experience doing this challenge and left me feeling surprisingly vulnerable, but in a good way, because that was the reason I did the challenge. It’s not like I haven’t been a part of writing groups in the past (albeit not for long) or have done challenges such as this one but I never really allowed myself to really be vulnerable in them and I was more of an observer in those and less of a sharer. With this challenge I actually shared a bit of myself, and while I admit I could’ve shared a lot more (something I have to work on) for me it was still a huge step. I got to interact with some extremely talented individuals who allowed themselves to be equally as vulnerable.

I feel like I’ve been missing that interaction with other creative minded people because at one point in my life I was consistently in the orbit of a couple of select people who were creative like me and we bounced ideas off each other and gave each other feedback. Then suddenly the few select creative minded people had vanished. I mean they were still around but their lives blossomed into a different direction and they moved away and got busy and their careers bloomed and they went on to find groups of other creative minded people where they were now at and I was still stuck. It was no one’s fault or anything, just that it was their turn to bloom and grow and it wasn’t mine (yet). I still love them and I root for them but I had lost that outlet and I haven’t found a new one yet.

The recent challenge I did got my creative brain really flowing again and I loved every day of it and the people that I connected with there. Now I’m in the right mind-set to prepare for National Novel Writing Month and that excites me so much because I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to participate this year for lack of creative inspiration. Now if I don’t write here anymore this month it’s not because I’m not writing at all because I’ll be outlining my novel for NaNoWriMo. I will also be blogging at least three times a week in the month of November as I go through the NaNoWriMo experience and hopefully a few of you will join me in doing NaNoWriMo as well. Until next time…. Keep Writing!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Ask and You Shall Receive, Just Maybe Not In the Way You Might Think

Ask and You Shall Receive

About a month and a half ago I posted about trying to get unblocked and trying to get my focus back on track with my writing. I even sat down and asked God to help me get my focus and ambition back and to get back to making progress in my writing career. Slowly but steadily I have been feeling more and more in tune with my creative flow and the inspiration is coming back. More importantly, the desire to write even when I don’t feel inspired is coming back. Also I think I am becoming even clearer about my purpose and getting that kind of clarity is a wonderful thing.

Someone gave me a book called the purpose driven life by Rick Warren which is all about a person’s spiritual journey and helping you discover, or in my case re-discover, your purpose. Both, in reading the book and in refocusing on myself and my writing career, I have gained quite a bit of clarity about even the most recent of situations. Just recently a person in my life was removed from my atmosphere (not by death, don’t worry) and I couldn’t understand why this was taking place and I resisted it at first but I had to really sit and process what God was doing for me. I asked him to help me get my focus back and I am starting to realize that the removal of that person has allowed me to really get my focus back on track.

Sometimes we fight the signs that show us that God is listening and we do our own thing and are so resistant. We have to learn that when we ask him for help and for answers we have to be prepared for the fact that the answer may not be at all what we envisioned it to be and may not even be something that we like or wish to go through but stepping out on faith is a process and it’s about listening and not questioning.

If we could just remember that wherever our destiny lies, God already knows the end result so we have to trust that whatever path we are on is the right one and the one he directed us to. I’m just thankful that he doesn’t give up on us even when we sometimes give up on ourselves. Welcome back focus and creativity!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Can’t Watch the Scoreboard and Play the Game

watching the scoreboard 3

I was watching a motivational video a few months ago, still in the fog of my depression and very much still creatively blocked, and they were talking about getting to that place of success that you want to get to in life. He had a lot to say about his journey to success and about the sheer work ethic that it takes to accomplish the goals that you set for yourself but I think the most profound statement he made was that you can’t play the game that you are in (because succeeding in life is very much like playing a game) and watch the scoreboard at the same time.

It’s something that sounds really obvious if we are actually talking about playing some type of sport but in the game that is life and success overall we don’t think about that. We’re always so busy checking to see what progress we’ve made, watching the scoreboard so to speak, that we don’t realize that all the time that we waste checking to see where we’re at in life is time that could be spent making more progress.

I do that a lot. I watch the scoreboard, waiting for my side to be in the lead, showing me that I am making progress and that I’m doing something. When I’m not in the lead, when my score is not reflecting my effort, I get defeated and then my effort starts to change. I think that if I weren’t so busy keeping score of my hits and my misses then I wouldn’t have time to get defeated or to feel the sting of the setback.

If I just kept my focus on what I want and know that that is what I am aiming for without continuously watching to see how far I’ve come in my journey, or sometimes how far I still have to go in my journey, I think I could actually get to where it is that I’m going. It’s like that watched pot that takes so long to boil when you are watching it. If you just walk away and let it be, stop hovering over it and trying to watch the water come to a rolling boil, it would happen a lot sooner than you might expect. So I’m going to work on not looking at the scoreboard as I travel on this journey and just trust that as long as I’m moving forward, and never backward, that I am winning!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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What Happened to That Girl?

What happened to that girl

I do not recognize the writer that I have become. I think back to my productivity and the ability to just sit down and write endlessly when I was in my teens and early twenties and I wonder what the hell happened. I used to write practically every moment of the day. If it was just moments in between moments that I could somehow grab or steal, I would write. You hardly ever saw me without a pen or pencil in my hand and as soon as I could get to a computer I would type until it was all transferred to the computer and my fingers were partially crippled from typing so much.

I know that things change when you get older have children, get a little more settled in life, but I never envisioned that the way I work, the way I write, would change. I suppose that I somehow thought that I would always be able to pull all-nighters or that my energy levels wouldn’t change (particularly when I developed anemia during pregnancy that never seemed to go away). I equate all night working with writing and getting work done but now I struggle just to keep my eyes open, let alone staying up all night long.

I feel like I’ve lost that girl somehow. That girl who was just so driven to get the words out that I sacrificed my sleep. I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself because I feel like I can’t seem to get it together and I know that I should be doing better than what I am doing, I know that I should be getting ready to publish my 10th book (at least) not still working on getting my 2nd out there. I dwell in things for far too long and I don’t really know how to pull myself out of the funk that I sometimes fall into. I don’t do well with change and when things change I don’t know how to cope.

Perhaps that is where I start to get a little piece of that girl back again. Maybe realizing that not only is change inevitable but rather necessary. I have to figure out how to make the changes that come along work for me instead of letting them go against me. I have to figure out a time that works for my productivity because clearly me trying to force writing to happen at night is not working and I am resisting the change in routine and that amounts to zero productivity. I want to find that girl again but perhaps introduce her to a new way of coping and doing things. But I’d like to keep her fire and her drive. That is one thing I don’t want to change.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Stuck In the Place That Is Nowhere

Stuck in nowhere 3

I’m staring at my list of projects that I am supposed to get done over the course of this year and wondering what is wrong with me. It seemed like I had finally come out my fog of depression and gotten my motivation back at the end of last year and I had made a plan for this year and literally created steps on how I ca go about carrying out those plans. So I am completely both surprised and disappointed in myself that here we are about to go into the third month of this year and I still can not get my shit together.

I don’t feel depressed anymore (seriously I don’t). I started back working out at the beginning of January and with that I am starting to feel good about myself again and feel my confidence coming back and I’m feeling my energy coming back as well. So why can’t I seem to get motivated when it comes to sitting my ass down and tackle these projects? It certainly isn’t that I don’t want to get these things accomplished. It isn’t even lack of ideas because I have an overwhelming amount of those.

I feel these bursts of creativity and motivation to sit down and get working on these projects and then something will come up, my daughter will need me for something, projects for other people that need to be done (what pays the bills), there will be housework that needs to get done, and sadly sometimes I’m just tired (from working out) and in need of sleep. I can’t pull the all-nighters that I used to do anymore, I just don’t have the energy and there is not enough coffee in the word that can keep me up ALL night.

As I type this now I am trying to keep myself from falling asleep because I am really tired from my workout this morning, and of course later I have homework to do with my daughter, housework to be done, dinner to be cooked, and of course there is mother daughter time to be had and then it will be time to go to bed because I have to get a decent nights sleep in order to have a good workout in the morning. I want to stay up until 2 and 3 in the morning working on this stuff but it just never works out like that because I literally collapse in my bed.

I feel like I am still acting as if I am in a depressed state but I know that I don’t feel depressed anymore (at least not in this moment). I guess I’m really just trying to figure out what is wrong with me. I’m not one of those people who have no idea what it is they want out of their life and I have ambitions, and I have purpose. I saw a quote from Steve Harvey’s Facebook page “If you’re going somewhere, why don’t you stop playing, commit yourself and get there?” and it made me think of all of this and of course I had to write it out here and voice to all of you.

I need to get it together because I have way too much to do and I have wasted far too much time already just thinking of where I’m headed instead of putting the action into getting there. I feel like in this moment I am not doing my best for my career and I hate that and I don’t feel like I’m doing it on purpose but in the same sense I don’t know that I am doing enough to get over this rut I seem to be perpetually stuck in.

You guys are my sounding board and I thank you for that because honestly sometimes talking it out here allows me to work through it. Thank you for reading and thank you in advance for any words of encouragement you have for me. I hope your projects are coming along and I have faith that I will get this together.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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