Accountability Measures

Accountability Measures

So I have said this year was going to be the year that I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t do something. I acknowledge that I can’t just say an automatic yes to every single little thing but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make a substitute solution so that I can still stay on the right path to my end goals. For instance, one of my main goals this year is to stop waiting for a traditional publisher or an agent to say yes to my books and say yes to them myself by self-publishing them with the ISBN #’s I’ve been sitting on for literally over five years now. So I know that my budget is going to be an issue. To say that it is tight would be a gross understatement, but to get around the issue that I can’t exactly afford a professional book cover, I am going to use a special graphic program (as professional as I can get it) and learn how to do one myself (and if you knew how challenged I am in the area of technology you would understand what a huge deal that is for me lol). So my no excuses rule means I can’t focus on the lack of money to get a professional book cover, I just have to make a way to do one on my own.

Now there are some other things that I have been making excuses for and I realize that I am going to actually need to set some deadlines. Deadlines are what keeps people who second-guess themselves at every turn and can what if their way right out of an opportunity, people like me, held accountable for actually following through. I am supposed to start back at a hobby that I love and had to stop because I had gotten injured. I was supposed to had gotten back to it last year but I was feeling a little scared that I would re-injure myself. I told someone that I would finally get back to it this year but I left it open ended with no actual set time. It gave me a way out of it by not having an actual time pinpointed. That same person made me pick a date the other day and now that I have that date in my mind (it’s March 5th by the way), now I feel obligated to stick to it. I don’t have any excuses right?

So with my book, that’s supposed to release soon (I know, very vague right lol) I had made the commitment to publish a book but I just didn’t say when. I suppose I did that as some sort of safety net just in case something went wrong with the whole process. With no deadline, I wouldn’t have to explain to anyone else why it didn’t happen. But that pretty cowardice right? So I’m setting a deadline hear and now that the re-release of my book, The Diary: Succession of Lies, is going to be released on March 1st, 2019. So you heard it hear first and now I have to no choice but to do it because I have no excuses! So deadlines are the thing now! It’s what I need to hold myself accountable—my new accountability measure if you will! Do deadlines work for you? Let me know how deadlines have helped you in your life?

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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Are You Really As Ready As You Think You Are?

are you really ready 1

I was thinking about what it means to actually be ready for the things that you dream for and that you say you want. My Pastor preached this past Sunday about what being ready really meant. It’s not just speaking into existence what you want for your life. It’s not even just knowing exactly what it is that you say you want. Those are important factors but what it really means to actually be ready to receive your dreams is about much more than that.

Being ready is about being knowledgeable and skilled in the things that you will need to do to prepare for your dreams. It’s about being attentive to the things and details that need to be addressed and the distractions that need to be removed so that you can be ready when the time comes. It is about being in the position that you need to be in, in order to make sure that when opportunity presents itself you are able to invest what’s necessary in yourself and your purpose. Being ready also means that once you have properly positioned yourself and you are rightly focused, you are then willing to put in all of the hard work that it will take for you to actually attain your dreams. Most of all, I think that to be ready means that you have to be available to receive your dreams, and fulfill your purpose. If you are too busy focusing on the things that aren’t going to get you to your dreams then you aren’t really ready.

You see there are so many things that we often times think that we are ready to jump into and it’s not that we don’t truly think that we are. It’s more often than not that we don’t truly understand exactly what being ready means. When I had my first book published back in 2008 I thought I was ready for what came next but because I was naïve as to all that it encompassed to be successful at being a published author things didn’t exactly go as I had envisioned them going. The book didn’t sell well and I was overwhelmed with the other side of what being a published author meant (the business side) and although I thought I was, I was not ready for that.

When opportunity comes knocking to make our dreams come true we always like to think that we are ready for whatever comes after. We don’t always properly assess things and what’s worse is that we find that we hadn’t properly prepared for what it is we said we wanted. We end up not being as ready as we thought we were. This is why we have to make ourselves ready. It’s not enough to just want the dreams we have envisioned to come true. We have to begin preparing for it long before the opportunity comes to knock at our door. So the next time that you say that you are ready to finally get all that you’ve been dreaming for, think about whether you are truly ready and properly prepared. Think about whether you have assessed everything and the amount of diligence and tenacity that it will take for you to see it through. Think about whether you are truly ready and more importantly, are you willing to step into your purpose and fulfill your dreams with the gifts that God gave you!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Dreams Don’t Die, They Simply Change, and That’s Okay

dreams don't die 1

One of my first childhood dreams for my future was when I was somewhere between eight and nine and just knew that I was going to be a New York Time’s Best Selling Author by the age of thirty. Needless to say that has not yet come true and I am almost forty. I spent a lot of time last year continuing work on my novels all while submitting other novels to various agents. I got a rejection letter from almost all of them (some still haven’t responded yet, which I suppose is a response in itself) but they weren’t the regular form rejection letters. They were all nice and complimentary of how well my writing is and how the story sounded intriguing yet it was not particularly what they were looking for. There were a few who even made some suggestions of certain areas of the story in which to make it a little stronger but still making sure to let me know that they thought I had great potential of getting traditionally published down the road.

I suppose that the fact that they didn’t send back something generic and formal and actually took time out of their already busy schedules to personalize my rejection a little more means something but in the end a rejection is still just that. I’m not going to lie, I was beginning to doubt myself and my writing ability just a little bit but then I decided that this year was going to be the year of no excuses and I was not going to let someone else’s approval stop me from putting my work out there. Truthfully, that I’m not further along in my career as a published novelist (and not just someone with about four or five novels just sitting completed on a flash drive) is my own fault.

My first time being published was back in 2010, and it was by a small publishing house, and if I look back now I honestly wasn’t ready for the business part of being a published novelist. I was also a little too excited and a little too naïve in thinking that this small publishing house would do the same things as a traditional publishing house, in terms of marketing and publicity. I wasn’t really knowledgeable about social media and how best to use it to market myself and when it came to promoting my own book, well I tended to shy away from putting myself out there. I know more about social media now as opposed to what I knew then and I think I am more ready now then I was then to be published.

You know they say be careful what you ask for because you just might get it and in terms of receiving something that you’re simply not ready for yet, that saying couldn’t be more true. I used to tell people that I regretted my first experience with publishing because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what I had gotten into when I signed with that small publishing house. It wasn’t a very successful experience and I had expected to just be able to write and let someone else handle the rest. That was misguided thinking but now those lessons that that experience taught me are priceless.

Now, because of that experience, as I get ready to reenter the arena as a published author by publishing my own work, I understand all of the work that the process will entail and while I am not yet a marketing or social media genius, I am substantially better at it then I was then and what I don’t know or understand I am prepared to research and learn. I was smart enough then to make sure that I got my rights back to my novel that was published back then in a reasonable time and I plan on republishing that novel (possibly renaming it what I wanted to name it to begin with) because I still believe in the story that lied within those pages.

We tend to waste time trying to control things that are not within our control instead of focusing on what is. We do ourselves a great disservice when we hold onto the notion that we can somehow go back and change the mistakes that we made before. Sometimes we have to learn how to let go of the dream that we started out with and grab on to the dream that has bloomed where the old one once was. Now I’m not saying that I don’t still desire to be published with a traditional publishing house but this is the year of no excuses right, so to waste time waiting for that to happen when I have ISBN #’s waiting to be used for my own novels would be pointless. The things I dreamed for myself ten or fifteen years ago aren’t really gone, they’ve just morphed into newer, bolder dreams that require me to have the courage to let what once was go and grab onto what can be now. Are you ready to let go of the dreams that didn’t survive your past and grab onto the dreams of your future?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Write the Vision and Make It Plain

“Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the Vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”

~ Habakkuk 2:2

Write the vision and make it plain post

So I was listening to the Steve Harvey Morning show the other morning and it was the end of the show when he usually imparts some words of wisdom for his listeners. This morning he talked about writing your goals and your vision down. He made a point that (and I’m paraphrasing) writing down the goals helps you to visualize the vision in a way that you can’t visualize it if it just remains in your head.

Hearing that made me think about when my focus had gotten off track before and all of the times that I have been thrown off my writing flow it had been during a time frame where I had stopped writing down my goals and my dreams for one reason or another. For someone like me who is a planner, and who likes to have most things planned out to the tee it is hard for me to operate when I don’t have things planned out. I struggle to tow the line between planning things out excessively and not planning things at all to try and not be so obsessive. I think that I’ve realized that I need the structure of planning things out because it is how I am able to see the bigger picture.

There are plenty of people who like to tell me how unattainable my dreams are and all of the reasons that none of them will ever materialize into reality. I will even admit that sometimes I let their rejection of my aspirations deter me from the end goal. However, having them written out, having a vision board that shows me what my end game is, having a certain amount of belief in my overall vision, is what focuses me in the end. It’s not that having a physical representation of my dreams quiets the naysayers, but rather it helps me tune out their voices of belittlement (most of the time anyway) and persevere in the vision that I have, the purpose in which God gave me.

It is so much easier to fight for a dream in which you can visualize what it would look like to reach that goal. It’s true that you can’t see years into the future and that there’s no real way to predict how it all will turn out but you still have to keep your eyes on the road ahead of you to get yourself to the next part in the journey. If you have nothing to aim for, no goal in your sights, then what are you really working towards. Can you see what the end goal will be? Can you visualize your journey? Visualize and believe in yourself! The season you’re in right now is not the season that you will stay in forever!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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No Risk = No Reward

No Risk No Reward 2

Children are fearless and their tenacity has no boundaries. It’s wonderful and exciting to watch a child get an idea for something and because they have absolutely no fear and no worries about rejection they go for any and everything. I wonder at what age we lose that fearless, tenacious spirit. Adults are far less likely to try new things, unlike children, because all of the fear seeps in. They wonder, what if I get hurt? What if it doesn’t work? What if someone else does this better than me? What if no one gets it? What if no one accepts it? Children miraculously don’t worry about such things. They just go for it! If it fails they simply get back up and try again as if the failure never happened to begin with. Why do we lose that as we get older?

In my more recent journey of becoming more spiritually grounded I knew that one of the things that I needed to work on within myself and that needed to be changed was my many different degrees of fear. I have a lot of defense mechanisms that have become sort of a crutch for me. One particularly bad one that I’ve been trying to break is one where I play out all of the worst case scenarios in my head when thinking about attempting something new or, in my case as a writer, submitting something. And while it is good to be realistic about the good and bad of something so that you can be prepared for either outcome, in my case dwelling on the possible negative outcomes have somehow held me back from even attempting things at all. It wasn’t intentional but I would find ways to talk myself out of doing something or submitting something because I had convinced myself that it was never going to be accepted anyway so why bother.

I have no idea when it happened? When I began to think about all of what made me afraid of going after the dreams I have instead of the wonderful things that can come from achieving them. I wasn’t always so fearful and I used to like taking risks but perhaps my risks were met with too many rejections and not enough rewards. But that’s life isn’t it. Looking back on all of the “failures” I have had in attempting my dreams I can ascertain the many lessons that came out of them. However, I am also realizing that some of the more recent “failures” I have had happened, not because of the risks that didn’t pan out, but rather because of the risks that I was too afraid to take to begin with.

A lot of times we don’t try new things because we can’t predict the outcome. We don’t want to fail so we think that it’s better to never actually try. Somehow it is more appealing to not put ourselves out there because then it means that we can’t get hurt, our ideas can’t get rejected, and no one can tell us that what we’ve poured our hearts into is somehow not good enough. However, that also means that our ideas don’t get heard at all and that what we have effectively poured our hearts into just sits around never being seen by anyone. If we never leave the place that feels comfortable for us, the place that’s safe for us then we miss out on so many things and we will never truly succeed. At that point we would simply be living in our fears instead of living up to our dreams. So, while our comfort zones may make us feel protected we can’t stay there if expect to get to where it is we are destined to end up.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Plant Seeds, Water Dreams, and Persist Until Success Blooms

 

planting the Seeds of Dreams 2I’ve been thinking a lot about the time limits we impose upon ourselves when it comes to getting the things we want done. For a planner like me who had her life plans mapped out from the time I was ten years old it is extremely disheartening when things get thrown so far off course that you don’t even recognize the road you’re on anymore. A childhood friend of mine read my blog post the other day about going back to the beginning of a dream and provided some much needed words of encouragement that I needed to hear. He reminded me that just because I have not yet accomplished the things that I thought I would have by now that it doesn’t mean that I won’t. He reminded me that a lot of times the success comes later on in life and he let me know that he still believed in me as he always had since the 8th grade poem that a group of us wrote together.

True enough, my plans for making an established career as a writer have not worked out quite the way that I envisioned but I’m not completely sure that I would change things. I can say that now because hindsight is twenty-twenty and looking back at some of the things that certain detours in my plan have brought into my life (one main blessing being my daughter) I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I’ve had or the obstacles that I have had to work through for anything. I think that when I finally do reach the position in my writing career that I am striving for that those same obstacles and experiences will provide a great foundation for the lasting success that I saw for myself from the very beginning.

There are no time limits on when a person can achieve the success that they are looking for in life. We would like to get to the level of success we desire in a hurry and sometimes that can end up being to our detriment because far too often people aren’t really truly ready for the success they are seeking. I think that we’re often tested to gauge whether or not we’re even serious about what it is that we say we want. Will we throw our dreams away at the first sign of a major hurdle? Will we get halfway down the path to our goals and then get so impatient with how long it’s taking that we turn and double back before we’ve even reached the end of the road? Just how important could our dreams be if we run away from them at the first sign of resistance?

I think things happen for a reason, be it good or bad, and we have to be sure that the journey we are on has our full commitment and that our plans of action matches our level of desire. We can’t just quit on the dreams we have because it gets a little harder than we thought it would be to achieve them. They say that the hardest battles come with the sweetest victories so just imagine how sweet the success will be if you don’t give up on the goal just because the storm became too hard to bear. You’ve already planted the seed so just make sure you keep watering the dream!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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