The Writer’s Myth I Love to Ignore

Killing the Myth.png

Every writer has there own methods and ways of doing things. They have their rituals and their habits (sometimes bad ones) and strategies that work for them. Typically writers go by very broad rules of the trade that are spread across the masses and for the most part I will say there is truth to those habits and rituals and ways of doing things. However, there is this one myth, this very big no-no that writers, or any creative type really, aren’t supposed to be doing a lot of if they actually want to get any substantial and quality work done. Watch lots of TV.

For years I have been trying to find some justification and arguably some back up to my inherent belief that watching a lot of television as a creative (in particular a writer) does more good than harm and I think I have finally found it. I stumbled upon a blog post the other day (okay it wasn’t a stumble, I regularly follow her blog) in which the blogger acknowledged that while her love of binge watching Netflix has quite possibly halted work on several writing projects, it also added value and perhaps even a bit more passion into the projects that she was able to complete.

Now I do not have Netflix (Yes I know, I’m about the only person left in the world who has no desire to have a Netflix account), however, I do have an extreme love of watching television. I have my regular nightly shows, mostly police procedurals or any drama with a bit of mystery to it (like Law & Order SVU, Chicago PD, or Criminal Minds to name a few), and I also have my hospital dramas (Grey’s Anatomy and Chicago Med, and I’ll throw Chicago Fire in here too because I don’t know where else it would fit). I even like my political dramas (Scandal, Madam Secretary), and of course the all important Soap Operas (Young & the Restless and Bold & the Beautiful). Also I like my comedies (Big Bang Theory, etc) my history channel shows, and my cooking shows… Okay you get the picture, I have an interest in pretty much every aspect of television and that’s not including my love of movies. It goes without saying that I watch a large amount of TV and I have to have the TV on to go to sleep at night too (I need the noise).

To my point, I have been told countless times that people in writing, or any creative avenue really, are more productive when they watch less television. I have balked at this theory ever since I’ve heard it because it just doesn’t make sense to me, or rather for me. I mean I know that there are quite a few largely successful people who write for television and own television companies and don’t watch TV so I know that it clearly works for some people but it baffles me how you don’t watch the very medium you create for. Just as baffling to me is a writer who doesn’t read books (and believe it or not there are some) because how can you create for an audience when you don’t partake in what you are in fact producing.

Needless to say, I am the opposite and perhaps the exception because I don’t focus very well when I don’t have something on my television, and it can’t just be anything, it has to be something that inspires me when I’m writing (and yes I actually write while I watch TV—so see I’m still being productive during my TV time) or even just something that inspires a new character, or a new subject I want to write about. Television doesn’t just inspire me, it also calms me, and it is my relaxing place for when I’m stressed and worried and need to just calm down or if I’m just feeling really anxious or depressed and I need to laugh. In all actuality, sitting in silence, without the TV will probably lead to a less productive day for me because silence drives me a little crazy and I don’t concentrate very well in it, thus leading to lack of productivity.

So if you have a method that’s not supposed to work for you as a writer but somehow it works, just go with it. I know it may seem to not make sense to anyone else doing what you do, and it may just go against all of the rules of the trade but aren’t rules sometimes meant to be bent a little. At least bent to work just the right way, and in your favor. The wonderful thing about being a writer or any creative is that your out of the box thinking can lead you down a path you never saw coming, and in the best most possible ways! So go forth and buck the trends and laugh in the face of the myths!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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What Do You Say On the Days You Don’t Know What To Say?

I made a promise to myself that I would really focus on writing a blog post on a very regular basis.  At first it was everyday but then I realized that I wanted my weekends to be about reading, or doing research, or marketing myself in some way.  I still have work to do on the marketing part of that equation.  

However, I won’t pretend like it is not a struggle to produce words that will be thought provoking and inspirational (hopefully you guys do consider them inspirational) on a consistent basis.  Some days I really just don’t know what to say.  Some days I go through the whole day and I don’t hear anything that inspires me or gives me an insight into what to write for you guys.  

I tend to feel really inadequate as a writer on those days when I don’t know what to say.  People have this misconception that writers know exactly the right things to say and sometimes we just don’t.  Sometimes our minds are focused on whatever project we are working on and that is what consumes us.  Today is one of those days for me.  

I have thoughts of finishing my novel going through my head and where to go next with it.  I have thoughts of the next novel project that can either be a Young Adult novel or an Adult fiction novel but I haven’t quite decided which way to take it just yet.  I have a non-fiction book that I am trying to figure out what direction I want to go with it because it is a book that will be about my weight loss journey which is more about becoming a healthier and happier version of myself but it will also incorporate details of my childhood so it might actually border on something close to a memoir.  

That is what has been on my mind all day and thus I couldn’t really come up with anything to say today.  So I hope that you will understand my lack of inspiration in my blog post today but I did keep my promise I made to myself to continue posting on a daily basis.  Maybe tomorrow I will know exactly what words to say. 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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Planting One Seed At a Time

“Most of the time multitasking is an illusion. You think you are multitasking, but in reality you’re actually wasting time switching from one task to another.”

~ Bosco Tjan

There always seems to be a message of inspiration for me in some part of every day.  Whether it’s in the conversations that I have with Ms. L. (which frankly always hold some source of inspiration), or something that is being said by someone in the gym I go to or on TV, or even if it’s sent in an email.  Yesterday there so happened to be an email that I felt spoke directly to me.  It was one of Tyler Perry’s Inspirational Corner Messages that he sends out to everyone who is on his email listing.  It was a message on how to become successful.  It was right on the money and exactly what I needed to hear.  

He spoke about his success being due to the grace of God.  He spoke about narrowing your focus and planting your seeds.  He essentially said that when it comes to the success that we want out of life for ourselves, all we can do is plant the seed in the ground, water it, and believe.  He advised that to be successful one must narrow their focus and concentrate on one thing at a time, one idea.  That one idea, once made a success, will give birth to all of your other ideas.  If you spend time spreading water over too many seeds you don’t have as much water for one seed, that one seed that you feel is most important to bloom.  

I realized then the reason why I have been feeling so lost lately within my writing.  Ever since this year has started, I have felt so much pressure (that I placed on myself) to tackle everything on my goal list.  Trying to figure out how I am going to work on all of these different projects that I want to get done over the course of this year all essentially at one time.  The rational response is that of course I can’t work on all of my projects at once but the overachiever that lives inside of me wants so badly for it to be possible.  I’ve been wasting so much time trying to work out a plan in my head to make it happen which has resulted in me getting nothing done at all.  

I must narrow my focus.  I must take what is the most important thing to me and concentrate on how I can make that work and make that successful.  Once I thought about concentrating on that one thing, I didn’t feel so lost anymore.  My direction became a little clearer.  If I focus on becoming the well known author that I was meant to be and acquire the agent that I am seeking to find for my next novel, then all of my other ideas will come to fruition.  

I always thought that if I could be really good at multitasking than I could get everything accomplished relatively at once.  However, it hasn’t been working that way so I must shift my efforts to something different, something that is going to work.  Multitasking, I think works for those who have already reached that level of success that they strived to get to.  When you are just trying to get to that level of success you must narrow your focus.  I must narrow my focus and plant one seed at a time and give each individual seed a chance to bloom in their own time.  Until tomorrow…Focus on that one seed and the rest will eventually bloom!  

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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Idea Overload

So every now and then I get the dreaded writer’s block where I can’t think of a single thing to write and I get more and more frustrated which just makes me more blocked.  People tend to think that that’s the worst thing that can happen to a writer and for some it may be.  However, for me the worst thing is when I have so many ideas rattling around in my head that I can not focus on just one of them at a time.  Even when I try to section off projects and work on one at a certain designated time, and another at a different time, then three more ideas pop into my head that I can’t stop thinking about.  

Now I know some might say that having an array of ideas to choose from is not a bad thing but that all depends on who you are as a writer.  I suppose if I was good at jotting down some notes or recording notes for one project and then setting it aside until I am finished my current project then it would be okay.  Unfortunately, I am not one of those writers who could set aside any one idea.  I have a list of projects that I am supposed to be working on right now but I find myself constantly adding to that list, which causes me to procrastinate trying to figure out how to cram all 20 something ideas into a realistic time frame.  

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I would rather have writer’s block instead because that wouldn’t be any fun either.  I just wish all of these characters would stop popping up into my subconscious out of nowhere, pushing the already developing characters that I am currently interacting with aside and fighting for my attention.  Well I guess I’m done rambling for now, I’ve got to go deal with the characters that need to be heard.  

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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