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/

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.

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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

 

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.

My Younger Writer Fantasies

I was reading an email ezine that I subscribe to from Christina Katz this morning that got me thinking about the side of writing that I don’t often like to think about.  That would be the business side of being a writer.  It’s the side that has to eventually kick in if you really want to turn your creativity into your source of income and have the ability to make a living doing something that you love to do.  Apparently it is the side that I haven’t figured out how to turn all the way on yet.

There are those who can manage being the creative person for a designated period of time and then switch on the business person when necessary for a separate length of time.  Then there is me, and other writers like me, who just simply are not born business people.  I am the creative person, not the business person.  For as long as I can remember I never liked to deal with the business side of anything.  But I think that was the fantasies of my younger writer self that just didn’t know any better.

Christina Katz spoke about writers who, when they are younger, have this big idea of being discovered and turned into an overnight success, living an ideal life free from all daily trials and tribulations.  I was that writer.  I didn’t think so then but looking back on that time now I can see that there were a lot of things about being a writer that I wasn’t factoring in.  Things like hard work (on the business end), extreme work ethic, determination, and patience.  One more thing I didn’t factor in was confidence.  Not necessarily confidence in my writing (because I always knew that writing was what I was born to do) but confidence in the person writing those words, confidence in me.

I thought that I would just be discovered one day, that someone would read my words and feel that they had to be the one who discovered me.  I thought that I would be under the umbrella of a major publishing house with a publicists and a person who did marketing professionally so that someone who knew what they were doing could get my name out there.

I imagined living in New   York (Manhattan at that) at a young age, working for national magazines and newspapers, and being on the New York Time’s Bestsellers list.  I imagined that by the age of 30 I would already have had a dozen or so books out, on bookshelves, or whatever else there was that sold books.  What I didn’t imagine, was having to be the publisher, and the publicist, and the marketer, all for myself.

I mean you see it happen to other writers (or so you think because that’s how things appear) and you think why can’t that be me.  The truth is that just because it seems like people such as Steven King, or J.K. Rowling, or Tyler Perry were overnight successes with no obstacles in their way,  doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a great deal of the other side that went into that success.  At some point there is a need to tap into that business side of the writer self.

I’ve been trying to avoid it for years now and it may have just been to my detriment but I have to stop fighting the business side of being a writer.  In a perfect world I would love to just focus on my creativity and have my talent be able to stand for itself and propel me forward but that just isn’t a realistic ideal to cling to.  I can’t just worry about figuring in time for writing and all of the creative projects I have in the works.  I have to figure in the time to be my publisher, and my publicist, as well as my marketer.  I have to be realistic in the fact that I can not be the writer who solely focuses on the creativity of it all without fully committing to the business of it all as well.  Time to dismantle those younger writer fantasies I once had!  Did you fantasize up the writer life in your mind?

 

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.

Blooming Late or Right In Season?

Everything happens for a reason and at the time that it is supposed to happen.  That is how the saying goes right?  When frustrations set in about my slow (and I do mean slow) progression to writing success (and financial comfort ability) it is really hard to believe that there is any truth to that saying.  Half of the time I want to say that it is really just how people justify having a bad round of luck and the walls just crumbling in around them (or maybe that’s just me).  However, deep down inside I do know that there is actually truth to it.

When success happens later than you expect it to (or planned for it to) it gets frustrating watching people who are barely out of high school or college achieve success on a fluke or by a chance meeting with just the right person.  Meanwhile you work hard and consistently at something that you have the talent to back up and it just seems like mountain after mountain just keeps forming right in your path.  You get around one mountain only to be challenged with another.

You’re left wondering why this person can just snap their fingers and have all of what you’ve been working hard for years (and years), and where’s that person’s mountain.  Sometimes success just seems to come so easy for some and so much of a struggle for others.  I guess some people (myself included) are late bloomers.  It can make a person just want to throw up their hands and say the hell with it.

When I think about it, there are a lot of people who didn’t become a success when they first started out.  They struggled, stressed, and fought hard to get to their current place in life and it was a mountain to climb every step of the way.  Just because success doesn’t come easy does not mean that it isn’t coming.  There is a reason that some people have to go through more than others in order to accomplish what they set out to do.  Blooming late sometimes just means that you are blooming in season.

The writer I was in my 20’s is not who I am as a writer now in my 30’s.  Naturally I have grown, both in life and in my writing, but I have also been through things that have given me experience (and a little bit of wisdom) to be able to open up more within my writing.  If I had gotten the level of success that I wanted in my 20’s I’m not sure that I would’ve known what to do with it, or how to handle it with the level of maturity that I could now or in the future.

There was a reason why it didn’t come to me then.  I wasn’t ready for it, and I wouldn’t have been prepared.  It just wasn’t the time.  There is a reason why I haven’t bloomed yet but I do feel that the blooming is about to begin.  Better late then never!

 

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.

Is It Camp Season Already?

So I got an email in my inbox today about CampNaNoWriMo and the date is approaching in April.  I hadn’t actually planned on doing CampNaNoWriMo this year because I didn’t do so well in actually producing anything last year when they did the mid year program.  This year they have one in April and in July and at first glance I want to just say no and wait until the normal time in November.

Throughout the course of the day I have thought about the fact that I never use not doing something well the first time as an excuse to not try again and I don’t want to start now.  Perhaps the CampNaNoWriMo is just what I need to finish up the other novel and get working on outlining the ideas for the other one.

It will not only allow me to finish up a project but also to prepare for the NaNoWriMo in November and if I should choose to do the one in July as well (which knowing me I probably will), it will be a good warm-up for that one as well.  So since April is approaching (quicker than I would like it to) I suppose I had better get my time management skills in check.

Hopefully some of you will join me in the month of April and participate in the CampNaNoWriMo and get warmed up for the November round.  If you do decide to participate please let me know and maybe we can help hold each other accountable.  Let’s go camping!

 

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.