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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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

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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With a Sense of Urgency

create a sense of urgency

There is nothing like doing work for someone else’s dream, or someone else’s project that will motivate you to get back to tackling yours. In the most recent couple of weeks I have been working on another project that did not allow for me to consistently work on my own projects for that time period. Now what’s funny was that while my projects are very important to me and the need to get them accomplished is great, the sense of urgency did not present itself until I was unable to work on them.

It is funny what becomes urgent and even more important when the ability to do them is not there. I looked at the stacks of work pertaining to my project and longed to jump to work on them but was mindful that in order to finish the task that I had before me, I could not. I looked at my desk and thought of the hundred or so different ways to reorganize it and clear the present clutter from the top of it in order to be more efficient about getting my work done when the opportunity was restored to me. I had so many ideas of what to do with this character and that character once I was able to return to working on my novel(s).

It’s ironic how when we have the time (some of us anyway) for our own work to get accomplished we waste that time on things that in the end don’t really matter to us, television shows that could be recorded and watched another time, outings that are not in line with our goals, or even people who do not get our dream and just how important it is. When that time, that choice is taken out of our hands suddenly everything that we should’ve been focused on becomes so much more important and then we reflect on that wasted time and beat ourselves up for wasting it.

I have wasted quite a bit of time this year, I’ll admit, on things that were just procrastination tactics and ways to keep myself from enduring the worst case scenarios (which I will talk about in my post tomorrow) when in reality, in avoiding the worst case scenario, an even more negative thing happened. So now that the project has concluded, I am going to stop wasting that time and get back to this blog (which I’ve missed so much) and back to finishing my novel(s) and my ebook. Oh and I guess cleaning off my desk wouldn’t be a terrible thing to do either. Well it’s good to be back and remember to plan your time wisely and don’t waste it on things that don’t matter as much to you as your dream does. No one is going to make your dreams come true for you.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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6 Ways to Get More Organized in Your Writing Habits and Increase Productivity

organized writer_1

Sometimes it’s hard to get your writing habits in check and maintain some discipline when it comes to working on your project(s).  I am working on implementing some ways to get more organized in my writing that I wanted to share with you guys today because I know that this is something that a lot of writers struggle with.  In particular writers who have not yet found their groove, so to speak.

I do have to admit that I have yet to master a couple of these (at least not for extended period of time) and I am still working on some of these suggestions myself.  However, I thought that we writers all need to stick together so I hope that some of these suggestions can not only be good for me but that they can help some of you out there as well.

  1. Hold Regular Meetings with Yourself—Your writing is a business and you are the CEO of that business.  You may not have the office, with the proper support staff (or you may) but you still have to hold the meetings and check in with yourself on where you are in reaching those goals that you are hopefully setting periodically.  They can be weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly, but they do need to happen.
  2. Work on Multi-Tasking with Your Writing Projects— It used to be frowned upon to work on more than one project at a time.  It was looked at as if you were throwing in the towel on the one project just to go start (and probably not finish) another one.  However, times have changed and sometime when the inspiration is going dry on one project, rather than continuing at something that isn’t working in that moment, there is no reason to let the other ideas that might be filling up your brain (and your notepad) go to waste.  Start another project and perhaps getting fired up for the new project can reignite some old inspiration for the other one.
  3. Prepare Your Writing Projects in Detail— Another way to not get stuck in that “how do I start this” rut or that “I’ve got one chapter down but I don’t know where else to go with this” dilemma, is to outline your project or at least jot down the important story plots that you want to cover within your book.  Having a guide map of where to go in your story doesn’t mean that you have to absolutely stick to that guide but it does help you to not get stuck wondering what will come next in the story and it will keep you from having to backtrack and try to recount minor details that you’ve already written when you forget what they are because chances are your readers will know when one detail doesn’t match the other.
  4. Evaluate All of Your Time Wasters— You don’t have to give up all of your T.V. time, and you don’t have to never see another movie again but you do have to make your writing time matter more than that television show that you think you just can’t miss.  Most people have cable now, and with that they typically have a DVR, so record the T.V. shows that you can’t miss and watch them later in your down time.  But your writing time is precious and should not have to compete with the T.V. or the internet, or that phone call that you know you can make later. Don’t let your writing time go to waste.
  5. Keep All of Your Eggs in Their Own Baskets— Now while it is perfectly okay to work on multiple projects at a time (not too many though) you do want to make sure that you don’t blur the lines between the projects.  You can’t work on two projects at the exact same time period because the back and forth between the two projects would drive you crazy.  Set a time to work on each project individually and separate from the others. (For example, in the morning time you work on project A, a little time in the afternoon for project B, and if you have a third project then perhaps you can devote some time in the evening for project C.)
  6. Schedule the Down Time that You Know You Are Going to Need— Writing is not easy and if you are working on something personal to you it can be extremely emotional.  If you are working on the business side of your writing career it can become quite taxing so you have to remember to take some time to do something for yourself that has absolutely nothing to do with writing. Go see a movie, get your nails done, take a spa day, go work out at the gym, take a mini-vacation or even a long one if you’ve just finished up a big project.  Do something that you enjoy and that is going to give you a sense of calm so that your mind can be refreshed when it’s time to jump back into your writing project(s).

Hopefully some of the writers out there can put this into practice for yourselves and perhaps you have even more suggestions that you can add to this list that you can share with me and the rest of the readers here.  Happy writing everyone!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

I Figured Out the Real Reason I Can’t Finish My Novel

finishing that novelI was reading an article in the Writer’s Magazine about how hard it is when you are writing something that is personal and that closely mirrors your own experiences somehow, even if it was a piece of fiction that was loosely based on your own truth.  It occurred to me after reading this article that this could definitely be the reason that I can not seem to finish my current novel that I am working on.

When I think about it, I haven’t lost the passion for my current novel, I haven’t become bored with the story, I haven’t become tired of the characters, in fact it is quite frustrating that I have so much passion for this unfinished novel and yet I can not seem to actually finish it.  Now granted I have many things that legitimately take up my time like being a mother, being back in school and working on my master’s degree, working on writing articles and this blog as well as publishing my magazine.  However, having other responsibilities has never stopped me before in finishing something.

Sitting and thinking about it, what is really holding up the process, I am now almost convinced that it has more so to do with my next novel that I am planning to write then the actual novel I am trying to finish.  My next novel (not revealing the title just yet), while fictionally written, will not just be loosely based on my own personal life, but it will actually touch on a large part of my childhood and the tumultuous relationship that I have with my mother and the emotional baggage that I have when it comes to her.  Even though I am fictionalizing the story quite a bit, the premise is going to touch on a lot of emotions that I am ambiguous about dealing with.

I feel like it is a novel that I need to write to work through some things and it is one that it took me a long time to even be ready to write and I have to wonder if this stalling tactic is somehow a sign that I am not as ready to write it as I thought I was.  But when I think about it, I am ready but then I’m still not sure if I really am.  My first novel, The Diary: Succession of Lies, took a lot out of me to write because it was extremely personal to me as well and it also took some time for me to get through writing it because I was writing through a painful time.

One would think that to write your pain out on the page it would be simple and that it would flow like a river of water.  I think that there is this myth that writing the personal stories takes less time and that it is somehow easier to do.  While this may in fact be true for some there are countless stories that I have read of other writers who struggled the most on the work that was more closely related to their personal experiences.  Ironically, the personal stories, or the fiction stories that are based in truth, are usually the best ones.  There is heart in those stories and they become more relatable to others because someone else may be experiencing the same things that you have already gone through.

I write for many reasons but in large part because I know I can’t be the only one experiencing some of the things that I have gone through.  If I can touch even just one person then I have served a purpose with my words and that is all I really want to do.  In fixing what is wrong you have to first understand what the problem truly is.  Now that I have identified the problem in why I am stuck in this novel and held back from starting the next, I think I can do something to change.  If you are stuck maybe it’s time that you stop to figure out the real reason that has you stalled.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

In Need of a Special Place to Write

Parisian scenery 2

When I start to think of a special place to be able to write my mind starts to wonder off and think of the places that would be special to me that I can’t really get to right now.  What a dream it would be to sit in a coffee shop or restaurant in New York somewhere (preferably Manhattan) or even on a park bench in Central Park.  Or how wonderful it would be to sit in a café in ParisFrance or to sit somewhere inside the LouvreMuseum and soak up all of the artistic inspiration.  I can even imagine sitting in some Italian villa by the water and taking in the scenery while I let my characters fill the pages with their stories.  Unfortunately, that is not my present reality.

When I was younger I used to be able to write anywhere, no matter what my surroundings were.  I was able to block out all of the outside noise and I would even be able to tune out all of the negativity that was taking place around me.  For hours I would just write and write, and read, and then write again.  It wasn’t so hard then to focus my thoughts and the story ideas that kept creeping their way into my mind.  I didn’t need quiet for concentration (although too much quiet makes me unable to write as well), nor did I need a breathtaking atmosphere.  All I needed was my pen and my notebook and the rest would pretty much take care of itself.  I would really like to get back to that but I am not sure that it is a possibility.

When I am at home, sitting at my desk, there might eventually be some writing that gets done but only if I don’t think about the laundry that needs to be washed, or the dinner that needs to be cooked, or the homework that my daughter needs to finish up, or the homework that I need to finish, or the cleaning that needs to be done, or the groceries that I need to go buy, or the bills that are behind and need to be paid.  After everything else that has to be done in the house I am usually too tired and drained to write.  So where can I go to just sit and write and be productive in getting my work done.

I must admit that I get a lot of writing done sitting in a Starbucks (doesn’t really matter which one) but the problem with that is the aroma of all of the coffee that my budget doesn’t allow me to buy.  It really is torture to sit in a coffee shop and not be able to drink any coffee.  Some would say that there’s always the library but for some reason being surrounded by thousands and thousands of books doesn’t actually make me want to sit and write but rather go pick out books to read.

I need a place to write that allows me to only think about my characters and their story; a place where the words will just flow without a struggle and where I almost can’t stop the words from coming.  For now I’ll just have to make what I have work for me instead of allowing it to work against me.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.

When Being Tired Takes Over and You Are Just Too Tired to Write

too tired to write

We all have those days where we’ve been running around, doing errands, taking care of other responsibilities, and we are just too tired to write.  Of course almost every piece of writing advice says that you should write everyday, no matter what, even if it is just a paragraph or it’s only for fifteen minutes.  In most cases I agree with that piece of advice and I try to adhere to that but there are just times when not only your body is tired but your mind is exhausted.  In these cases you might find that you simply can not write (at least not anything that would make any kind of sense).  This is when the guilt comes in.

You start to feel like if you were really a good writer then you would just suck it up and put some words on the page already.  You start to think about those people who put out ten books in a year (at least I do) and beat yourself up because clearly they didn’t let their being tired stop their productivity.  I know that I for one feel completely terrible when I don’t write and I feel even worse when the ideas are there in my head but they just won’t come into focus.

Over the years I have tried not to beat myself up so much when I can’t write.  For some people, they can push through and power forward, even when their mind is stuck or when their thoughts are running wild with too many ideas.  There are those who are really good at not letting that keep them from putting the words on the page anyway.

However, there are other types of people (like myself) that just can’t write that way.  We can’t make ourselves write when we know what will be written is what we would consider garbage.  We can’t write when our thoughts aren’t focused and we can’t get the words out when our minds are exhausted.  It doesn’t make us any less of a writer nor does it make us any less passionate about what we want to do with our writing.

Sometimes we just need to rest.  So often when people in general are tired they keep going until the point of pure exhaustion and if we don’t take those moments that are necessary to rest we will burn out.  Sometimes the rest makes us produce better quality work and possibly even more passion for the project than we had before.

Sometimes when we travel on our journey we get so caught up in progressing forward that we forget to stop along the way and recharge.  Without the energy to carry on we are no good to anyone, least of all ourselves.  Rest and recharge if need be.  The work will be there when your mind is fresh.  Don’t feel guilty for taking a pit stop every once and a while.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

 

Write 2 Be Magazine is now out so please go check it out at http://write2bemagazine.com/.  Also please go and join the magazine on twitter https://twitter.com/write2bemag, join the email listing for the magazine or submit a request for an author interview at Write2bemagazine@yahoo.com, and also like the Write 2 Be Magazine fan page https://www.facebook.com/Write2BeMagazine.  Please help support my endeavor and my new journey and help me spread the word about Write 2 Be and its meaning.