Battle Tested… Still a Work In Progress

I was talking to someone the other night about the battles that we face and how sometimes I feel like I just want to throw in the towel, throw my hands up, and say to hell with everything. Now of course logically, I’m not going to do that because, shit, I’ve got goals and no matter how much I want to give up sometimes I have not ever been, nor will I ever be a quitter. When I get knocked down I may sulk a little bit, and I may even wallow slightly longer than is acceptable, but I do eventually get back up and prepare myself once again for the next battle. Now in the conversation that I was having the other day we were talking about the saying that says God gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers and we both reveled in the realization that God must have some really big things in store for us because we have been going through some tough battles lately.

This year has been a nightmare and I have been struggling. I’m in such a financial free fall right now and I am trying to maintain a positive outlook but it is hard. I came dangerously close to eviction the other day and while I have lined up a couple of clients for the next few weeks it’s still not going to be enough to stabilize things just yet and I am sinking. I was supposed to have some books out by now but my self-publishing efforts, as you might imagine given my current financial state, have kind of fallen to the back burner because I have to focus on keeping a roof over me and my daughter’s head. I do have a few things lined up so there is some comfort in that but it’s not enough to stabilize things just yet.

Okay I started going off course there for a moment. The point of this post was to highlight something I got when I watched a sermon from Bishop TD Jakes about fighting your Goliath’s (battles), and that is that no matter what the battle is that you might be facing right now, you should not allow it to discourage you. Your battle was not given to you to discourage you. It was given to you to empower you. Your battle was given to you to reveal who you really are, who you truly are and all of the power that you have inside of you, and all of the purpose that you have been given.

If you are feeling low at the moment, if your battle is getting too hard for you to fight, know that even if you are down you are not out. God is with you. God has already given you the strength to handle whatever it is that comes your way. You only need to believe in yourself and in the power that God has given you within. Until next time… #BeEmpowered #BeVictorious

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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NaNoWriMo Day 2

Just for those of you who might be wondering what the point of doing this month long writing event because you somehow think that it can’t possibly result in a published book, you are wrong! Just to give you a little boost of encouragement here is a list I came across, of at least 10 books that were written or at least started during NaNoWriMo that have been published. Some of these books have even made it to the New York Time’s Best Seller’s list. There are many more out there and perhaps I’ll do another list in the middle of the month but this is just to give you a little incentive. Now go write something because your book could be next on this list!

1) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

2) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3) The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

4) Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trimble

5) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

6) Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

7) Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart

8) Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

9) The Hungry Season by T. Greenwood

10) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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NaNoWriMo is HERE!!!!

It’s the first day of NaNoWriMo!!!! Yay!!!! Okay perhaps I’m a little overly excited but today I am getting started on a brand new book, the second in my mystery series (the first one is being edited in December). I have been working on the outline for months now, and finalizing it during the course of Preptober. I actually have done tons of research for this book (I may have to do some more research throughout but hey) and it centers around solving a cold case (not a real cold case though). I can not promise to post every day of NaNoWriMo, although that is the goal, but I will post as often as possible with tips, video clips to some Author Tubers with really good writing advice. Also, while I wasn’t able to pull everything together for this year’s NaNoWriMo but for next year I will be creating NaNoWriMo Prep materials and of course materials to also get you through the actual month of the event but more about that in the beginning of next year. Well that’s it for day 1. I’ve got the link for you below for the National Novel Writing Month website so that you can go over and sign up.

https://www.nanowrimo.org/

Happy Writing everyone!!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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To Plan or Not to Plan?

So you’ve got your story idea together right? You’ve started building your characters and molding and shaping their personalities? Now it’s time to decide whether you are a pantser or a planner when it comes to writing your novel. What’s a pantser, you ask? Well that’s when you are fortunate enough to be able to just sit down at the blank screen of your laptop and begin writing with no plot or course of action laid out before you. If you are one of those writers let me please just give you a virtual round of applause because I have tried writing that way before and the amount of time I had to use up to go back and forth to see if I had this detail or that detail just right, or to check the timeline and make sure that I hadn’t made some huge error and it just did not work for me.

I, like a lot of writers, am a planner and I try as much as I can to plan out every detail that I can. In terms of writing my novel I have realized that I have to have an outline. I typically do a short brief outline with just some of the major points of the story and where the plot twists are and the dramatic parts and the whodunit aspects of the story. After I get a general outline together then I take my character sketches and I begin the more detailed, chapter by chapter, plot twist by plot twist, part of outlining.

Now I think there’s a misconception that when people outline they follow the outline to the tee and I have heard a lot of people say that’s what they don’t like about outlining but the outline is just a general road map for you to follow but the story almost never follows the outline down to the letter. In fact I almost never stick directly to the outline but having that outline does help me stay more on track then I would if I were just writing without a blueprint.

Where the outlining process can get a little broad and diverse is in the method in which you choose to outline. I for one like just getting a legal notepad and writing my outline by hand (this and the character sketches are the only things I write by hand). The other methods of outlining that people typically use are creating a storyboard with a bulletin board or you can storyboard in a digital format now with Pintrest or whatever digital format works for you to create a visual idea of your story. Some people choose to do a graphing (or mind mapping) method. There are also programs that will help you outline in a particular digital format such as Scrivener.

Now you don’t have to outline in order to compose a good story for NaNoWriMo. Outlining doesn’t necessarily make your story any worse or better. Like I said in my last post, it’s just a matter of finding and doing what works well for you. I hope that some of this information helps you and the next post I will be giving you a few YouTue channels that I think you should check out that will help you in your Preptober adventures. Until next time… #HappyOutlining

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Growth In Progress

Growth in Progress post

I do so enjoy those moments when you take a look at a scenario and how you responded to it (or in some cases, didn’t respond) and realize just how much growth has taken place within yourself. I had one of those moments earlier today. I’ve written about it here before and most people who know me know that my mother and I do not have the best of relationships. It’s one of the many things that is disheartening for me because I had always wished for one of those mother/daughter relationships that I see so many of my friends have with their moms and a few years ago after trying and trying to no avail, in the process of rediscovering myself and learning to love myself the way that God loves me, I have come to terms with the fact that I won’t ever get that from my mother because she’s simply not equipped emotionally to give me that kind of relationship.

My mother has never thought much of me, and in her eyes I was never really going to amount to anything and it used to hurt me a lot more than I would’ve liked for it to. My mother was abusive to both me and my sister but my sister was still the child who could do no wrong while I was the one that could do no right, at least in her eyes, and I was the sensitive one so while my sister was the type of person that certain things rolled off her back, I literally cried over every hurtful statement my mother made about me. Even as an adult, it hurt.

However today, in trying to have a conversation with her where more hurtful things were said by her, I realized that I don’t really care what she thinks about me anymore. I mean do I wish she thought more of her own daughter, sure, but she’s going to think whatever she thinks and there is nothing that’s going to change her mind and I’ve finally gotten to a point where I realized that how she sees me or doesn’t see me for that matter, is her problem and not mine. I look in the mirror and I see the wonderful child of God who he gave so much purpose to and who, even though I’m not exactly where I would like to be at this stage in my life, is pursuing her dreams and her purpose with passion and determination and I’m not letting anything, or anyone get in my head anymore about what they think I can or can not accomplish in this life.

When I had that revelation earlier I smiled from the inside out because I felt emotionally freer than I had ever felt. I had gotten to a place I had been longing to get to and I had been working on my personal and spiritual growth and I hadn’t even realized that I had reached a major milestone in that particular journey. There’s something to be said for not caring what people think of you and not that it wouldn’t be nice to be given compliments or to have your talents acknowledged, but to not need the validation of their approval. Sometimes you are going to be the only one who sees the path for what it is and where it’s leading, and it may not even be so much that you know where you’re going to end up, just that you are trusting in God for his direction in getting there.

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Is There Any More Space In the Writer’s Room?

writers room post 1

Caution: This post is more of a rant than anything prolific! I keep seeing all of these new but not so new shows streaming on Netflix or Hulu or whatever other streaming devices there are these days and I’ve noticed a theme. There are a lot of “reboots” or “remakes” of wonderful old shows or shows that are not quite a remake but just close enough to resemble an old show and it got me to thinking about originality in the television world. Has the well for creative and inventive writers run so dry lately that the executives at these television networks can’t come up with any original concepts?

I know that it shouldn’t bother me nearly as much as it actually does but I think that the reason for that is because I have so many ideas, new ideas for plays, movies, and even television shows that are burning a figurative hole in my journals (or my brain for the ideas that haven’t quite made it onto paper just yet) and yet they make it nearly impossible for anyone who didn’t start out in the television/film industry when they were twenty something to actually have their ideas seen or heard. I’m not saying that they should make it simple and yes I suppose people have gone the route of starting their own web series on YouTube or some other internet portal but there’s a legitimacy in having a television network executive look at your idea and getting as excited about it as you do and taking that idea and transforming it for the whole world to see. If most people are honest with themselves, it’s the validation that they really want.

It’s not that I don’t love the old shows that they are taking and remaking into something for this newer generation to enjoy but it just seems like emptying a well that didn’t need to be tapped into. If they need new ideas there are plenty of us writers out here who I’m sure would love to help them out in their writers’ rooms, or maybe that’s just me. It shouldn’t be as hard as they make it to get new ideas heard and to see new ideas on the screen instead of so many blasts from the past of the old concepts just with new faces.

There is talent out here and new wells with newer and more original ideas if they would just be willing to not cut the rungs of the ladder so short for the rest of us who missed the twenty something boat. Sometimes older, more seasoned writers can provide a broader perspective with a bit of wisdom added for effect. Writing rooms shouldn’t just be for those straight out of college or who have already been in the business for decades. There should be space for the writers in their thirties or even in their forties who had to live a little bit of life first before getting to go after their writing dreams because talent doesn’t just expire with age.

This is not a post condemning twenty something’s or the younger generation of writers who have been steadfastly working their way up for the last decade because I commend you and I truly wish I had been able to have that luxury. This is just me shedding a light that there are those of us who are not straight out of college or who haven’t been in the television/film industry forever who still can write and who can add something to this television world that isn’t just a remake of a show that already was.  

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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The Imprint We Leave Behind

Imprint we leave behind post 1

So this week we lost one of the most talented and wonderful actors from my childhood, Luke Perry, and it was both unexpected and a bit devastating so I can only imagine how his family is dealing with it. I saw many videos of people talking about how generous he was and how down to earth he was and even in looking at the older videos of his interviews I could see how humble he was throughout his entire career.

He never seemed to take anything for granted, and valued every acting job he got, and every moment he got to somehow touch other people’s lives through his work. There’s even a story that Colin Hanks told about how there were kids on a plane crying and hysterical and in walks Luke Perry with a bag full of balloons to help distract the children. When Hanks talked to him afterwards Luke said that he always carries a bag of balloons on a plane because so often there are situations like those where you have children who need a bit of distracting for one reason or another. Just the thought of someone who is that thoughtful to do that every single time he got on a plane, to already be thinking about the children who may need that distraction just says what kind of a man he was.

I stumbled across another video clip of him being interviewed in which he says that he wanted to make a difference and affect and touch other people’s lives in some meaningful way, and he stated that he didn’t want to let life just happen to him, but rather that he wanted to happen to life. I thought on that statement for a moment and then back to the plane story and how many more stories there must be of him doing things like that and I am in awe of just how much of an impact he has had. He did what he set out to do which was make a difference and leave a lasting impression on people’s lives.

It’s such an interesting thought, not letting life just happen to you but rather you happening to life. So many times we just deal with the things that happen to us and end up having to dig our way out of it or figure a way around it but I like thinking about the prospect of me happening to my life instead of letting things in life just happen to me. I think of what a difference we could all make and the ways in which we can touch other people’s lives if we start happening to our lives instead of just waiting for life to happen. What kind of imprint is your life going to leave in the world?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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So About Oscar Night…

About Oscar Night 3

So this isn’t going to be a long post but I couldn’t let the day go by without acknowledging how amazing Oscar night was last night for women and people of color. The Oscars made history last night with the majority of the wins going to people of color and women, people who up until the last year or two were vastly overlooked when their work clearly deserved to be recognized.

It went from being the #Oscarssowhite a couple of years ago to being the #allinclusiveOscars this year. I must say that as a writer who had lofty dreams of one day writing my own screenplays and maybe even having a book or two of mine being made into a movie and winning an Oscar myself down the road it was definitely inspiring. I had put those hopes of an Oscar one day in my career to the side because frankly I couldn’t see them giving out too many Oscars to too many people of color because the Oscars has been considerably white washed throughout history ever since the Academy was created.

It seems that they are finally making room for a diverse group of artists to make waves and make a difference. It’s renewed my hope and even inspired a couple of new stories that I hope to tell over the course of my writing career. There’s something extra encouraging when you can see the possibility for your work to earn the highest honor an artist can achieve.

This is the type of encouragement that artists needed and I am so glad that the Oscars is finally catching up to including ALL artists in passing out distinguished honors. I hope you all are polishing up those novels and dusting off those screenplays that you gave up on because now’s the time to really get in the game.  There just might be an Oscar in your future yet!

Jimmetta Carpenter

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No Prayer Is Too Big

No Prayer too Big post

So I’ve been reading Joel Osteen’s “31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life” over the last couple of weeks and it has been an enlightening experience just to read and declare these bold promises and pray these even bolder prayers over my life and my journey. This past week in particular it felt vitally necessary for me to read them, and not just once, some of the declarations I had to read over several times just to let the words and the message seep into my brain.

I often times think that I can’t ask God for all the big things that I want in life because I think of so many other people that are far worse off then me, that need far more than I do, and that frankly may need God to do bigger things in their life than what I need. I don’t want to be selfish or too, for lack of a better word, greedy with my prayers. But then I think about the book of Genesis in the bible. Now I have some work to do when it comes to reading my bible and I admit I have not read the whole entire bible in it’s entirety and certainly not straight through but I have read the first few chapters of Genesis straight through.

When I think about all of the big, bold, and wonderful things in this world, in this universe that God has created and all of the beauty in this world that he gave us, all in different areas of the world, and all at the same time, it reminded me of just how big our God is. He can help a homeless person sitting on the streets of Los Angeles or Chicago and still come through on the prayers that I have for him, all at the same time. There is nothing too big for him.

In the words of my good friend, Ms. L that she spoke in her recent podcast episode (God, You Missed a Word), I have to will joy into my life. And that goes for anything that I want to invite into my life, I have to not only pray for it, and believe that it will be so, but I have to will it over my life as well. I trust my relationship with God and I trust the dream that he placed in my heart and I trust that he would not give me this vision and bring me this far just to have me be too afraid to pray for everything he has in his plan for me. If there’s nothing too big for him to do in our lives then there’s nothing too big for us to ask of him.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Growing Pains

Growing Pains post 2

So yesterday was Valentine’s Day and oddly enough it got me to thinking about how much I’ve grown. I can remember a time where Valentine’s Day made me anxious. Was I going to be alone on the day of love or was I going to have someone to share it with that particular year? At the stage in my life where it bothered me if I didn’t have a valentine I did not love myself enough yet, hell most days back then I didn’t even like myself (I’m talking late teens and early twenties here), and then whether or not I did like myself usually depended on what someone else thought of me. I didn’t realize it then because people didn’t talk about stuff like mental health but I had already begun my dance with depression and I needed validation from others to feel some sense of self worth.

So needless to say Valentine’s Day has never been one of my favorite days because it was either a really extreme high (because I had someone that year) or an even more extreme low (because I didn’t and I had my mother’s voice echoing in my head telling me no one would ever want me). I don’t bring any of that up to be all sad and depressive, only to point out that I truly have grown. I said a couple of years ago that I was starting a journey in which I wanted to be by myself for a while and grow my relationship with God and the one I have with myself, that I wanted to start to love myself a lot better and treat myself better than anyone else could ever treat me.

Now because I’m a mother and almost every time my daughter and what she needs will come first I don’t always succeed at treating myself to nice things or even pampering myself at all, but I have improved my love of myself and I have (at least I believe I have) strengthened my relationship with God which has also in turn provided even more self awareness and allowed me to see in myself what God sees in me, what HE has always seen in me. For me valentine’s day is no longer about whether I have someone in my life special or not because I know that I always have someone special in my everyday life and that is me (and of course my child but you get the point) and that’s enough.

I’m still growing and there are still improvements that I am making within myself and within my relationship with God but I can truly say that I have a peace within me now that I don’t think I’ve ever had before and I love it. I don’t look at Valentine’s Day with disdain anymore and it doesn’t make me sad like it once did so many years ago. I think that my growth in terms of self acceptance and my spiritual growth has spilled over into my writing career and the journey of fulfilling my purpose and I believe that it will continue to nurture those areas of my life. It’s funny how we rush so fast in our teens and early twenties to grow up without realizing that our growth never really stops, or at least it shouldn’t. I hope that I’m always growing, that we are always growing because there is always so much more to the next stage of life then what we learned on the last.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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