Celebrating the Success of Others

So I wanted to talk about the nature of celebrating other people’s success. This comes to mind because a couple of weekends ago Tyler Perry had a history making moment with the grand opening of his very own studio company. Now for those of you who may have been living under a rock the last few weeks (lol) and do not understand why this was historic for him and for people of color in general, it’s because he didn’t just open a new studio with some investors and some private backing from someone here or there, he owns that entire 330 acre lot, 100% outright, with HIS OWN money and not owing anyone else any favors or money at all for this achievement. It was monumental to the African American community to have him accomplish this in a time where it seemed damn near impossible.

Now I was ecstatic for Mr. Perry and emotional, so much so that you would’ve thought I knew that man (sadly, I don’t, at least not yet anyway) and I was thrilled to see the outpouring of love and celebration for the hard work he has put in and what he has accomplished. Now while I know that everyone is not a Tyler Perry fan, I didn’t expect all of the hatred towards him either. You don’t have to like his body of work (although I absolutely love every single thing he’s ever done) in order to be able to appreciate his business savvy and work ethic and the fact that he didn’t just wait for a seat at the table, he literally went out and built his own.

It made me think about how much further we could get in this life if we stop begrudging everyone the success that they’ve achieved and celebrate them and appreciate the path that they are laying for the people that will come behind them. Everyone that achieves anything, it is due to someone that went ahead of them and broke down a few barriers first, and busted down some doors so that it wouldn’t be so hard for the next person.  When I was younger I used to have the why them and not me thoughts but I realized a long time ago that what may be one person’s time is not necessarily meant to be my time, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I give up and it certainly doesn’t mean that I wish for someone else to fail.

God’s plan for someone else is never going to be the same plan that he has for you because their purpose is different from yours. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be happy for someone else having their dreams come true and appreciate the work that went into making those dreams come to fruition. We have to be each other’s cheering section and root each other on because honestly a win for one person is essentially a win for all of us because the world can only become a better, more prosperous (and I don’t mean only monetarily) place when we all love one another and come together to make each other better. So the next time you start wishing that someone else’s success was yours, try readjusting your way of seeing things. Remember that the success that is theirs is going to be on a different level than the success that is meant for you. Until next time… #BeGrateful #BeDiligent

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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To Plan or Not to Plan?

So you’ve got your story idea together right? You’ve started building your characters and molding and shaping their personalities? Now it’s time to decide whether you are a pantser or a planner when it comes to writing your novel. What’s a pantser, you ask? Well that’s when you are fortunate enough to be able to just sit down at the blank screen of your laptop and begin writing with no plot or course of action laid out before you. If you are one of those writers let me please just give you a virtual round of applause because I have tried writing that way before and the amount of time I had to use up to go back and forth to see if I had this detail or that detail just right, or to check the timeline and make sure that I hadn’t made some huge error and it just did not work for me.

I, like a lot of writers, am a planner and I try as much as I can to plan out every detail that I can. In terms of writing my novel I have realized that I have to have an outline. I typically do a short brief outline with just some of the major points of the story and where the plot twists are and the dramatic parts and the whodunit aspects of the story. After I get a general outline together then I take my character sketches and I begin the more detailed, chapter by chapter, plot twist by plot twist, part of outlining.

Now I think there’s a misconception that when people outline they follow the outline to the tee and I have heard a lot of people say that’s what they don’t like about outlining but the outline is just a general road map for you to follow but the story almost never follows the outline down to the letter. In fact I almost never stick directly to the outline but having that outline does help me stay more on track then I would if I were just writing without a blueprint.

Where the outlining process can get a little broad and diverse is in the method in which you choose to outline. I for one like just getting a legal notepad and writing my outline by hand (this and the character sketches are the only things I write by hand). The other methods of outlining that people typically use are creating a storyboard with a bulletin board or you can storyboard in a digital format now with Pintrest or whatever digital format works for you to create a visual idea of your story. Some people choose to do a graphing (or mind mapping) method. There are also programs that will help you outline in a particular digital format such as Scrivener.

Now you don’t have to outline in order to compose a good story for NaNoWriMo. Outlining doesn’t necessarily make your story any worse or better. Like I said in my last post, it’s just a matter of finding and doing what works well for you. I hope that some of this information helps you and the next post I will be giving you a few YouTue channels that I think you should check out that will help you in your Preptober adventures. Until next time… #HappyOutlining

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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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

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There’s No Lid on the Box that is Your Comfort Zone

No lid on the box

So let’s talk about our comfort zones! No one understands needing to have a routine more than I do. I am that person that annoyingly has to have a plan, a plan to map out the plan, and have all of the plans organized in a very particular way (I also have OCD issues but that’s a story for another blog post). I don’t say this as if I believe this to necessarily be a great thing, but rather, it is one of my many flaws that I wish I could do away with.

Obviously it’s good to have some organization when you are prioritizing your goals. However, sometimes I feel hindered by my obsessive need to over-plan and excessively organize things. It’s all done in an effort to stay within my comfort zone and admittedly it has held me back from doing a lot of things and it has in many ways perpetuated the fear that I’ve always carried along with me for most of my adult life.

My fear has stopped me so many times from taking chances and seizing opportunities but that need to remain in my comfort zone and sticking with my routine has only enhanced those fears. I suppose you could say that I had found a sense of security within my comfort zone and that being safe was far more enticing than living in the unknown realities of what it means to take risks.

I don’t advocate to anyone that they stay inside the box that they’ve created for themselves. I have been trying to get out of my own box for many years now but there’s always that invisible lid that I imagine will hit me on the head and knock me back down. I have been diligently working to change that about myself and I’m going to be open and welcoming to all opportunities that may come my way. If you haven’t already, start knocking down those walls of comfort that have been surrounding you. The only lid that is on the box that you have confined yourself to is the lid that you imagined is real.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Don’t Over Plan Your Way Out of Opportunities

Missed Opportunities

I woke up today and realized something. I waste entirely too much time planning. I have always been a planner, one who has to have a list for everything and everything in its place before I go for the end goal. When I was younger it worked for me and my love for being the list maker and the consistent planner grew. But as I got older the plans and the lists began to hinder me because what I never accounted for in all my planning and goal setting was life just unfolding as it was going to, as it was inevitably meant to.

I have a tendency to plan so thoroughly that by the time I am done with the plan the opportunity to actually follow through with any of those plans has long passed me by. I will think of something, have a vision for something if you will, and by the time I have worked through all the lists and plans it ends up being too late and someone else has presented something to the world far too similar to mine for me to move ahead with it.

It’s like the story where the man is waiting to be rescued from the sinking boat he’s on and every person that is sent to rescue him he tells them that he is waiting on God to rescue him and to take someone else. When he drowns he asks God why didn’t he save him and God tells him that he sent three different people to rescue him and he refused them. Essentially he sent the opportunity that he needed and he missed it. I feel like I might have missed far too many opportunities that were sent my way because it didn’t fit with the plan, or undoubtedly because I hadn’t finished planning for that opportunity and I was blinded to what was presenting itself right in front of me.

For example, quite a long time ago I had an idea for a show about women living their lives behind prison bars and about what they go through, how they get treated, how they maneuver their new lives. I started making plans and lists but it was never quite as perfect as I needed it to be and before I knew it I was hearing about this new show on Netflix, “Orange is the New Black” and (No, no one stole my idea, I never communicated it to anyone else) I watched it and felt deflated as I saw what I had been planning for unfold from someone else’s imagination. It was my own fault and my own neurosis that kept me from what could’ve been a breakthrough opportunity had I only not wasted so much time trying to make it perfect.

I say all this to say that if you too are like I was, like I have been, stop wasting so much time trying to make everything just right, and planning everything through to a tee. I’m not saying don’t plan at all, or don’t have your lists. I’m saying don’t focus so much on the lists and the plans that you forget the goal, the vision, and so you don’t miss the opportunities that can come your way while you’re busy planning. Sometimes the opportunities can be so small that if you blink you’ll miss it so pay attention to what’s in front of you before your lists and plans are all that you end up with. Until next time… plan less, live more!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Downside of Being a Constant Planner

constant planner 3

So it’s not a secret to anyone who knows me or who reads my blog regularly that I am a notorious planner. I am seriously one of those people who does not like to deviate from the set schedule and due to that I usually miss out on some spontaneous things that could provide me with unplanned on blessings and opportunities. Now last year I had my plans but I tried to be a little more relaxed about sticking to them and perhaps be a tad bit more spontaneous with my time. Well it didn’t really work out so well for me last year because I think I just got too relaxed.

So this year my plan was to not only make my plans for my goals and projects but I read constantly about how important it is to create a schedule for how your day unfolds which of course includes (mainly) my writing time. So I even did that. So here’s the thing with creating a schedule where you follow point by point of what to do at certain times, it doesn’t always quite work out how you plan it. The downside to being someone like me who is a person who has to have things planned out and very routine is that life is very seldom routine nor can it be maticulously planned out.

I will tell you that every time something didn’t go as planned last year it threw me even further off course and got me so off track but it did teach me something. That there is absolutely nothing wrong with someone who wants to plan out everything, or at least everything that is important and on your goal list, but you just have to know how to not be completely thrown off track and devastated when something goes diffrently than how you planned it. I learned that I can’t be so opposed to change or something that’s not routine, that it leaves me completely dumbfounded when life throws change right in my face and says to hell with my routine.

This first full week of the New Year was planned it out. I had it laid out when I was supposed to work on what and how much time would be dedicated to each task and sad to say that the first days of this week have all gone differently then how I planned it out. Between the weather or just simple circumstance, all of my plans got turned into new unexpected ones that wouldn’t have been my choice. But I have not let it derail me or throw me off course and I readjusted, and pretty well if I don’t say so myself.

I do think that it is funny or odd how us creative types who love to be free with our emotions and words and our art are sometimes so in need of the structure of strategic planning and scheduling. I suppose because our art is in many ways a little chaotic, we have to find ways to, in our minds, structure that creative chaos. I suppose even in us trying to structure our creativity we can’t forget that little bit of chaotic freedom that is still necessary.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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God Called One of His Angels Home Today

“What we are is God’s gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God.” 

~Eleanor Powell 

I had something completely different in mind to blog about today but when my best friend Ms. L called me with some tragic news that took place in her family I was moved to write something totally different.  A 38 year old woman is no longer in this world today due to a heart attack that no one saw coming and obviously (because of her age and good health) could not have been predicted.  Ms. L had just spoken to her last night and she was said to have been lively and energetic, without any sign of something being wrong.  Then she was just gone.  

Now while I did not know this person personally I feel sadness for Ms. L and her family and the immediate family of the person they lost.  Mostly I feel such sadness for her 8 year old little girl who was unfortunate enough to be the one to find her because she had no idea (clearly) that this would be her last Christmas with her mother.  This is a painful reminder of the fact that none of us are promised tomorrow.  

I find myself constantly telling myself that I will start really living my life tomorrow, or next week, or next year, after I have everything mapped out.  Today I realized the problem with that way of thinking.  We don’t know what life we have left on this earth and because of that we have to start living that life.  I’m not dismissing the act of planning what it is that you want to do in life (I don’t think I could stop planning if I tried) as well as what you want out of it.  However, all of that planning should not go to waste by forgetting to live out those plans before we lose our chance to.  

And for those of you out there who have unspoken words that you think you have all this time left to say, say them now because none of us know if we will have another time to say them.  Until tomorrow…Never take for granted the life that you have. 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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