The Struggle to Find the Balance

What is balance these days? I’d like to think that I know how to balance things pretty well but then I have to remind myself that multi-tasking is not really the same thing as balance. Then again, I guess that depends on what I mean by balance. I don’t mean balance in the sense of juggling all of the many tasks that you have to do on any given day. I mean knowing when you’ve taken on too much and you need to just sit out a few rounds and pick up where you left off later. That is the type of balancing act that I struggle to conquer.

I am an all or nothing type of person most of the time. I don’t like to do anything half-way, it’s either I throw my whole self into whatever task it is, or I would just rather not do it at all and wait until I can give it my full effort. The problem with that way of thinking sometimes is that you can very easily end up with a lot of things not getting done or burning the candle at both ends trying to make sure that everything does get done.

Last week I got really lazy (at least it was lazy in my mind) and while I didn’t just throw all of my projects and work to the side, I certainly was not nearly as productive as I know that I could have, or should have been, if I were giving it my full effort. I was just tired. I was mentally tired. I was definitely physically tired (given quite a few physical issues that have been aggravated over the last few weeks) and quite honestly, I was emotionally tired.

I’ve been stressed about a couple of different things, not just creatively (or should I say writing business wise) but financially as well. I hadn’t even realized just how stressed the financial thing had me until it looked like there was finally going to be some resolution on that front last week and I just breathed a heavy sigh of relief and the realization of just how stressed that had me hit. I just didn’t feel like doing much of anything last week and I allowed myself to lean into that feeling.

Now going into this week, I know that I can’t be the same amount of unproductive as I was last week and frankly, I feel a little more refreshed, so I am ready to get back to the creating of things. But I think that having that balance of allowing myself to lean into the “lazy” feeling last week helped. I think every once in a while, it would be okay to just not put quite as much pressure on myself to get everything done. It was just far too much.

We have to know when to stop juggling all of the things in the air and to just let a few of those tasks fall by the wayside. It’s not as if putting off one or two things is going to completely throw everything off course (and if it would then those are the tasks you absolutely should not drop) and you won’t be able to get back to them the next day. We have to find the balance between being able to do it all and not draining ourselves physically and mentally actually trying to do it all. You’re not alone in trying to manage everything because I haven’t got it all figured out just yet either. We can learn how to balance together.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeMindful #BeKindtoYourself

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Your Attitude is Everything

I’ve been in a bit of a funk since last week. I realized that I am nearing the stage of burn out and that I will most likely be taking a break from this blog and my YouTube channel in the month of December. I do have prerecorded videos that will be posted throughout December on YouTube channel so I will still technically be a presence over there. This will likely be my last blog post for this year (unless I get a great spark of inspiration for something to tell you lol) because I need to refill the creative well. It is important, as a creative, to not let yourself burn out entirely before realizing that you need to take a step back.

But my moment that I was having last week was also about something else. I was feeling like all of my efforts that I put into my writing career were pointless. I felt like all of the efforts were not bearing any fruit, or not enough fruit anyway if we’re talking in terms of finances. Even up until this morning I was just feeling so down about things. Then I was listening to something where the person being interviewed said that your attitude affects how you see things. It’s not like I didn’t already know this. I just needed a bit of a reminder and that reminder came right on time this morning.

I know that whatever happens, good or bad, I am blessed just to be given another chance each day God wakes me up in the morning. It is not over until it is REALLY over, meaning when there is no breathe left in my body. So just because I am not seeing things going in the direction I want them to go in right now doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay that way. But things surely can’t change course if I were to just have an attitude of giving up.

We accomplish nothing when we throw in the towel and give away. The only thing that would ensure is that all of the progress that we have made up to that point would truly be wasted and bear no fruit at all. It gets hard sometimes when you dream big but if it were easy then it would be a vision given to everyone and not just you. Our dreams and our visions are worth fighting to make them happen, no matter what it takes.

So keep that attitude of determination and drive. Hold on to that as you push through the dark moments where that little voice in your head is telling you that it’s pointless. Your attitude will be what carries you through and you will get there. Just don’t quit!

Until next time… #BeAmbitious #BeBold #BeGrateful

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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

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NaNoWriMo Is Right Around the Corner…And I am Not Quite Ready!

It is just about that time of year again! No, not the holiday season (in which the Christmas displays get put up before Halloween can even pass) but rather the NaNoWriMo month long challenge to write a book in 30 days (well 50,000 words of it anyway). This particular NaNoWriMo is going to be even more challenging for me because I am tackling the Middle Grade genre for the first time ever.

I have wanted to write this middle grade book, or series rather, for many, many years now (since my daughter was in middle school and she is now a high school graduate) but I kept letting the words of others influence me. Those who said that you’re not supposed to write in multiple genres using the same name for every genre you write in. Or the whispers of those who say that I don’t know anything about writing middle grade. Well duh, of course I don’t, but how else am I supposed to gain experience in writing in that genre without, you know, actually writing in it.

It is intimidating to write in a genre you’re only read for pleasure and have never written and writing for kids period is just incredibly scary because kids are harsh critics. However, I would be doing myself, and more importantly God, a disservice if I didn’t go after everything that I want to do and that I feel He has put a purpose in my heart to do. I don’t know how good (or bad) I’ll be at writing it until I actually sit down and write it.

So that’s my project for NaNoWriMo this year, the first book in a middle grade series (for more information about my project my video on it will be released on my YouTube channel on Thursday) and I’m pretty excited about. The only thing that has me a bit more anxious this NaNo (well more anxious than I am on a regular basis) is that I am not nearly as prepared as I usually am when I get ready to start a new book.

I’m sure that I will be by the end of this week, I’ll make sure of it, but I’m a bit nervous that I haven’t yet figured out my outline and everything at this point. I am having fun going back and watch shows I watched as a middle school kid, or just shows that I liked that are for middle grade children to try and get in the mindset of writing for a 12 year old. Nevertheless, I will start with what I have because in life that’s what you have to do right. Start where you are!

Until next time… #BeMotivated #Be Productive #BeConsistent

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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

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Side note:  I have a new Author Newsletter that I would love it if you signed up for http://www.tinyletter.com/Author_JCCarpenter

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Do I Really Need to Say Yes More?

I read Shonda Rhimes book, Year of Yes, a couple of years ago and I vowed after reading it to start saying yes to things more often. Essentially I promised myself that I would be more open to change. After all, isn’t saying yes more geared towards the things that are out of your comfort zone and that you normally wouldn’t do? I will admit that there are some things that I have done since reading that books that I ordinarily wouldn’t have done, one of them being starting my YouTube channel. There’s a few more things that I have done that required me to step out of my bubble of comfort but I would assess that there have been far more times that saying no was the better move for me.

I have struggled in the past to find that balance between throwing caution to the wind and saying yes to things and knowing when to draw the line and just say no for myself. It would seem that at the moment when I finally learned how to say no to the things that I don’t want to do for my own sanity and self-care, that I lost some of that ability to say yes. I do believe that the Pandemic of the last year and a half also gave me further permission to be more of a no person than that yes person that I was working on becoming.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I want to be that ‘say yes to everything’ person because I don’t know that I would be a very happy person if I did that. I spent most of my childhood, my twenties, and a sizable chunk of my thirties saying yes to things that I just didn’t want to do at all, but not for the aspect of change, rather to please other people. I don’t know if it’s different when you’re saying yes for change and saying yes to people please but either way I don’t know that I can be that person. Sometimes no really is the right answer.  

Now this is not anything against the people who say yes to every single thing and who love doing so. I think that it’s great to discover what works for you and if you are someone who says no to EVERYTHING then you should definitely read Shonda Rhimes book and incorporate yes more into your vocabulary.  It’s good to explore and step out of the bubble of comfort sometimes. For me, I just cannot say yes to everything because then I get in this place where I start feeling like I’m doing things more for someone else and not for myself. I don’t want to go back to that place where I’m pleasing everyone else by saying yes to what they think I should do to the detriment of my own mental health and my own joy. I will not give up this peace that I have found and if that means I say no more than yes, so be it.

Until next time… #BeTruetoYourself #BeStrong #BeAuthentic

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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

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Side note:  I have a new Author Newsletter that I would love it if you signed up for http://www.tinyletter.com/Author_JCCarpenter

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NaNoWriMo Day 5—The Beauty of Writing Sprints

So I discovered something important for my future writing success in these first few days of NaNo! Writing sprints are super effective. I know that writing sprints are nothing new but I was resistant to trying them because that hadn’t been the way I had ever written before and I just thought why can’t I just sit down and write non-stop until the words are done for the day. I mean most days I’ve never had an issue getting words down but I can tend to get stalled a bit at times and then frustration sets in. So I thought that this NaNoWriMo I would give writing sprints a try.

I have been watching a lot of writing videos lately and live streams so I just thought why not. So that’s what I’ve been doing differently this NaNoWriMo and I have been very pleasantly surprised at just how helpful doing these sprints are. They keep me focused, they keep me on track, and they have boosted my creativity. So if you’re looking for something new to try to liven up your writing sessions and maybe your old way of doing your sessions is leaving you stalled a bit, try doing writing sprints. Now you can do them in whatever increments work for you. Some do ten minutes, some do fifteen or even thirty, but I have found that twenty minute sprints seem to work for me. So hopefully you are doing well in your writing so far and you will give writing sprints a try but for now I must go back to write! I’ll include a list of a few AuthorTubers that have some live stream writing sessions with writing sprints so you can give them a try as well.

Brooke Passmore

Kate Cavanaugh

Natalia Leigh

Mandi Lynn

Becca C. Smith

Tamara Woods

Until next time… #BeEncouraged #BeInspired

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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

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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

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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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

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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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”

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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/

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

 

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