Shutting Out the Noise

Shutting Out the Noise

Let’s talk about distractions! The noise of our distractions can be so loud sometimes that it drowns out what really matters to us. There are so many things that keep people from succeeding and being productive in their endeavors. From friends and even family, to television and other things that aren’t of high priority, the environment we surround ourselves with can sometimes do more harm to us than good.

What can also be a distraction to our ultimate goals are the no’s that we hear and the failures that we endure. The obstacles that are thrown at us to derail our journey can allow us to get distracted. We tend to get caught up in the failed attempts at whatever it is we were trying to get accomplished that we overlook the fact that a failed attempt means that there was an attempt to begin with.

A failed attempt is a lesson for what not to do in the next attempt. People who like to constantly remind you of what you’ve failed at and who try to discourage you from making any further attempts at greatness are just distractions in disguise. I used to get distracted by the no’s and I’ll admit that sadly I was a person who had allowed defeat to make me feel defeated. I’ve been working really hard to make sure I change that. I have been working to not allow myself to fall into those particular distractions because they are not good for my productivity.

Sometimes, as hard as it may be to do, you have to block out the moments of defeat. You have to let go of the feelings of self-doubt that hearing no can bring about. You have to treat those moments in which you feel like you’ve failed as teaching tools for your path moving forward. Don’t be so distracted by the obstacle that you completely miss the lesson that it’s meant to teach you.

 

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

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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

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Published in: on June 4, 2015 at 12:35 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Are There Really No Days Off?

Days off 2

So I’ve been wondering lately if I have been putting in enough work on this dream of mine. I mean I have things planned and enough ideas to fill up several notebooks but is planning enough if you don’t throw every single second you have into it. I was under the impression that there are moments where I should be allowed for little breaks, moments of free time, moments of me time, in which I focus on taking care of me. After all I have realized that in taking care of myself a lot better I am able to open myself up more creatively.

I was listening to The Steve Harvey Morning Show today and he was speaking about how those who want to truly be successful can make sure that they get to where they want to be and one of the main points that he stressed was that there are no days off when you are striving to be successful. There is, or shouldn’t be, any time for anything that doesn’t have to do with furthering your goal and your purpose. Now I normally can agree with most of what Steve Harvey says, after all, look where he is and how much he has accomplished, he would know right. But I suppose every situation is different for everyone.

I don’t know that I agree with not having moments to step back and get some clarity, or to step away and take a slight break, have some time that is not all about the dream, because I would imagine it would be good for your mind if that wasn’t all that consumed it. Then again, I could be wrong because I have not yet reached my goals and I don’t believe that I am even close and maybe that is because of my “days off”. Maybe my “days off” somehow suggest I don’t want it bad enough.

I have to ponder this one for a while because while I am certainly willing to dedicate 90%, maybe 95% of my focus to this dream of mine because I definitely want it. It’s all I think about sometimes, being successful that is. However I don’t know if I’m prepared to say that I want to give up this newfound me time that I am just now learning how to take. I can’t say that I regret the time that I carve out to spend time with my daughter. I can’t even say that the very minimal time that I make for a few close friends is a mistake either.

I think that you need to step away sometimes and enjoy the life you are trying to provide for because that allows you to see what it’s all for. I think days off are necessary. After all, the dream isn’t going anywhere while you are taking some time for yourself or loved ones. It will be right where it always was when you get back to it. Just because I believe in a day off, or two, doesn’t make my dream any less important. Sometime I like to step away from it so I can get an even clearer view of what I want.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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This Dream Is Everything To Me and I Cannot Fail

Chasing my dream 2

I realized when I woke up this morning that I am still not having the rate of production that I want so far this year. There’s something else I realized too. I cannot handle the thought of failing at this. Not failing in general with various tasks that may fall through or fall short of what I expected. Not failing simply in terms of getting thrown off course and sent in a different and unexpected direction. Not failing as in not completely fulfilling all of the larger than life goals that I have for myself.

I can handle all of that because I have learned (and read from many successful people) that failure is a part of succeeding, quite possibly a more vital part than people realize. What I absolutely cannot handle failing at is the overall goal of fulfilling the dream I have had since I was six years old of being a writer, and not that person who has a full time job and writes as my side gig (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that AT ALL). I don’t want to have to go back to having to balance both the fulltime job and my writing dream because when I had to do it before it didn’t work for me at all, on any level.

My dream was to make a living as a writer and that I was going to influence this world, even if it’s only to a small sum of people, in a major way. I have too many people who doubt me, including my own mother, and most of my entire family, and I refuse to prove them right in any way. Now me succeeding and making my dreams come to fruition is definitely not about proving anyone else wrong (not solely) but we all know it’s a bonus when you can do something everyone said that you couldn’t.

I have my plans set and my projects that I am supposed to be completing for the year set and they seemed so achievable when I wrote them down. However, January is almost over and I don’t see where any breakthrough has happened yet. I know I have to be patient but did I ever mention that patience is not really my strong suit. I have been at this so long and the journey has been quite daunting and tiresome and when you have people in your ear questioning you on whether you should just go ahead and give up or admit that it’s just not going to happen quite the way I want it to, it can be really frustrating.

I won’t give up on this vision of mine, largely in part due to this nagging feeling in my gut that keeps telling me that I’m on the right path, even if it doesn’t always feel like it, and to not give in to what other people think is best for me. The other reason I won’t give up is because this is the purpose that God has given me in life and I won’t turn my back on that purpose. I’m strong enough to persevere and as for the patience, well I’m working on that part (lol) but I won’t back down from this dream.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Published in: on January 27, 2015 at 6:24 PM  Leave a Comment  
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It’s Not How You Start, Or Is It?

It's Not How You Start Or Is It

I can’t believe that January is almost over already. I’m reflecting today on whether or not this has been a productive month so far and I can’t get past how fast the time is already going by. I need the year to slow down just a little bit because while I haven’t been completely lagging in getting things going, I haven’t had the great start that I had hoped with all of the unexpected twists and turns in my schedule.

We all know that saying that it’s not how you start but rather how you finish that counts. I have always thought that to be true but in retrospect, in thinking on the year of 2014, while I started the year with high hopes, I was in a state of deep depression in the beginning of 2014 and did not start that year very well and sadly I finished with virtually nothing to really show for it.

I’m not saying that I did nothing last year because I started to come out of the funk of depression somewhere towards the middle of the year and even before then I managed to do enough to convince people that things weren’t as bad as they truly were so I did something but nowhere near what I know I am capable of doing. The end of the year, while I spent it making plans for this one, I didn’t have the accomplishment that I feel and know I should have had.

Of course that could be me just beating myself up for not being able to complete my always outrageous “to be done” list but I know me and I know when I’m wasted a huge chunk of time and depressed or not, it was still time wasted that I can never get back. I was just listening to a writing video in which the moderator revised that famous quote a little. She said how you start the year is an indication of how you are going to finish and it made me think.

I have (in my own opinion of course) started this year off a hell of a lot better than I started last year off but I know that I could still be doing better. However I acknowledge that this has been a much better start to this year and if this is a slight indication of how I am going to finish the year then I think maybe there is hope for this year to go as well as I want it to go. Hope your first month of this year is going productively!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Published in: on January 20, 2015 at 6:41 PM  Leave a Comment  
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My Balance Is Still Off

Finding Balance 1

This week is almost over and while I have accomplished some things on my to do list for this week (okay maybe only one thing really), I have not done nearly enough towards what needs to be done. When I think about the fact that January is almost over and my novel hasn’t even been touched yet this month I shake my head at myself. True enough I had some things I needed to get out of the way promotion wise before working on my novel but then when I think about it, is that just an excuse.

I said that this was going to be the year that I probably sleep a lot less to achieve my tasks but I’m torn between my drive to succeed in my writing and my drive to get healthier and get my weight loss journey back on track which includes getting more sleep so that my body can be in the best position possible in order to lose the weight that I need to lose and gain more self-confidence and self-acceptance. It’s hard when I put it out there in writing like that because it’s either my dreams and my vision or my health and prolonging my life.

It seems like it would be an easy choice but it’s really not. I do find that when I’m healthier (and that includes getting the proper, or close to proper, amount of sleep) I do produce more in my writing and my creativity is at its best. However, then I see the people that I admire and look to for knowledge and know-how producing massive amount of product and their projects coming one, after another and you see the number one thing they practice is working into the wee hours of the night and getting a very minimal amount of sleep.

That is not me comparing myself to others (not really) because I know that I am not them but that is me acknowledging that to put out more work requires more time and that more time means less of something, typically sleep. I am still working out the balance to get the ball rolling here but I have yet to feel like I’m getting off to a good start. I almost feel like I didn’t start preparing for this year soon enough at the end of the last one. But how much preparation can you do before you should actually begin doing instead of just planning to do.

Balance and focus seem to be a continuing issue and it has to be figured out and quickly if I want this year to go the way that I want it to go. I’m still learning and while I know that there should never really a point in life that you stop learning, I feel like I’m too old to still be trying to figure it out. And yet, I still press on!

 

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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Published in: on January 6, 2015 at 5:01 PM  Comments (1)  
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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

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The Challenge Ahead: Getting Mentally Prepared for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo1

The good thing about working on two unfinished projects for National Novel Writing Month is that I don’t have to complete the task of writing an outline like I would normally do for a new project. However the challenging thing about it, aside from the fact that I will be working on two books at the same time, is that they are two different types of books. One book is my novel that I started about two years ago and the other book, which I started working on about nine months ago, is non-fiction, more of a self-help/motivational book for writers. The two projects couldn’t be more opposite of each other so I’m not sure how the contrast is going to affect my production.

While National Novel Writing Month will not be new to me, trying to complete two different projects at the same time that are not in the same genres. I am a little more confident about the non-fiction project because I started it more recently and it will be fairly easy to jump back into it. The fiction book, I’m afraid I might have taken too much of a break from that one to just jump back in. Either way I am determined to make the best of the month of November and to attack these projects as if my life depends on it (they really do, lol). Once November is over and I (hopefully) have my two finished projects I plan to immediately get them into the editing phase so I can get the ball rolling on getting these books published.

I have my work cut out for me and for any of you who have participated in NaNoWriMo, you already know it is not an easy task to accomplish. I will share the process with you as it goes along and I hope if any of you are doing NaNoWriMo this month please feel free to share with me your process and how you’re achieving the task. I guess November will be a pretty busy and productive month!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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