Writers and Self-Care (A Preptober Post)

During NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month in case you’ve been living under a rock lol) writers tend to kick it into overdrive and get so lost in their story that they start to forget to do some of the simplest and most basic things. We tend to start to neglect ourselves for the sake of the art. So this NaNoWriMo

1) Don’t forget your hygiene – I know that this sounds obvious, but how many of you writers get so immersed in your story that you look up at the clock and suddenly the whole day could be gone. There are some writers who even get so engulfed in their characters and the story that they forget to eat and just work straight through the day without taking any kind of break. On one hand if you are that writer I almost want to congratulate you because that’s a lot of writing but on the other hand it’s not good to neglect things like showering and brushing your teeth and doing your basic daily maintenance. The story will be there if you step away for a minute.

2) Remember to eat – As I mentioned in the above tip, forgetting to eat is a common thing that people do when they become engrossed in their story. This is not healthy for you or your writing. How clear is your mind in terms of creating story and developing characters if you are not nourishing your body properly?

3) Take a break when you start to feel stalled – There will inevitably come a time that you will find yourself stuck and at some kind of standstill (and if not I would really like to know your secret). You will stare at the page or computer screen and find yourself rereading over the last few lines or scenes that you’ve written and end up in a place where you may not know where to go from there. The urge to press on and try to write anyway is strong and I know that this is what a lot of writers tell you to do, to keep going and work through it. That method does not work all the time and it may not work for everyone and that is when you just need to push your chair away from the desk and computer, get up, and take a break from your project. Go take a walk, go sit in the park and take in your surroundings, sit in a coffee shop or bookstore and listen to your surroundings (and the conversations taking place around you lol). You never know what could jog your creativity back into place!

4) Keep your health in tact – NaNoWriMo is not the time to abandon your healthy habits. If you consistently workout, do not use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to ‘take a break’ from the gym (I speak from experience, trust me). This is not a good idea, in fact it is a terrible idea because if your body is used to feeling a certain way from the continuity of working out then you will only be confusing your brain by the drastic shift. Working out triggers the endorphins in your brain in a way that nothing else can (not even coffee, as much as it pains me to say that) and if anything it will actually help you in your story writing and in achieving your writing goal for the month of November. Now if you have to change your time around then do that!

5) Read – This one is simple. Stephen King has said thousands of times and I’m sure many other writers have said it as well, and it’s because it’s true. You CAN NOT be a good writer if you are not first a good reader. To write well you must read A LOT. When I say read, I don’t just mean the genre that you are writing in either. Read a little of everything. Broaden your scope of the things that you read because if you do it will definitely broaden the scope of your writing. So READ! Enough said.

6) Don’t forget to stay connected – I know it’s kind of against the grain for NaNoWriMo and coming from a person like myself who likes to stay to myself for the most part it will sound strange but don’t distance yourself too much during NaNoWriMo. Writing is a solitary act (although it doesn’t have to be) for sure but remaining connected to people and remaining in tune with the people and things going on around you could also be critical to keeping your writing fresh and interesting.

7) Sleep is important – Lastly, but absolutely one of the most important things on this list, is sleep. If you are sleep-deprived your brain can’t come up with anything usable. That is not to say that you have to get a full eight hours of sleep (but if you can then go for it), I haven’t gotten anything over six hours at any one given time (unless I was sick) since back when I was in high school, but a decent amount of sleep is critical.

Okay so that’s it for today. I hope that all of you are prepping and planning your novels for NaNoWriMo and that when November gets here you don’t forget to take care of yourself. Until next time…Happy Writing!!! #BeMindful #BeCaringtoYourself

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Even If It’s Not Broken, It May Still Need to Be Fixed

What has God been able to teach you lately? That question was one that my pastor posed to us yesterday and it was a very thought provoking one. To put it in context, he was talking to us basically about getting out of the comfort zone of the things that we know and start walking in the path of the things that we don’t know. I love how the things that I had already been processing in my own mind for myself, when I hear them from another wiser and more experienced person it just makes that much more sense.

I am one of those old fashioned people who can’t really stand the drastic changes in technology and the way that we communicate today. I am much more “comfortable” doing things the way that I know how to do them and the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is my personal favorite mantra. My pastor preached to us yesterday about learning how to evolve with things and being willing to gain new knowledge so that it could help us take the skills that God has blessed us with, that we have always had, and nurture them and grow them into something even better and bigger with the power to do more good within this world.

When I heard those words I thought about all of the limitations that I have been placing on myself and my dreams just from the shear inability to allow my mind to expand and let myself learn new methods of doing things that just might actually allow for growth and exposure to something better. It’s so odd for me because I consider myself such a student of life and a person who just loves learning overall but when it comes to doing things in a way that’s unsure I just stop there.

I suppose my writing career could be in a far different (and better) place right now if I had been more adaptable to change a long time ago. New can be scary for me, especially if I had gotten so used to doing things in a way that seemed to be working so well but the thing is sometimes you do things the same for so long that you can’t even see when they stop working. You’re too blinded by the familiar and you keep walking in what you know because it feels right to you.

When you finally realize how much you haven’t grown it can be a jolt to the system and one that can either cause you to crumble or to kick it into high gear and get moving in the right direction. I guess you could say I did some crumbling first. I suppose I just have to keep reminding myself of how good change can be when I start to regress and back away from something new. The fact of the matter is that what God wants me to do with the gifts he’s given me, what he wants me to pour into this world is far more important than my wanting to remain ‘comfortable’. I have work to do and I don’t get to complain about being uncomfortable!

Until next time… #BeUncomfortable #BeInFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Accountability Measures

Accountability Measures

So I have said this year was going to be the year that I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t do something. I acknowledge that I can’t just say an automatic yes to every single little thing but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make a substitute solution so that I can still stay on the right path to my end goals. For instance, one of my main goals this year is to stop waiting for a traditional publisher or an agent to say yes to my books and say yes to them myself by self-publishing them with the ISBN #’s I’ve been sitting on for literally over five years now. So I know that my budget is going to be an issue. To say that it is tight would be a gross understatement, but to get around the issue that I can’t exactly afford a professional book cover, I am going to use a special graphic program (as professional as I can get it) and learn how to do one myself (and if you knew how challenged I am in the area of technology you would understand what a huge deal that is for me lol). So my no excuses rule means I can’t focus on the lack of money to get a professional book cover, I just have to make a way to do one on my own.

Now there are some other things that I have been making excuses for and I realize that I am going to actually need to set some deadlines. Deadlines are what keeps people who second-guess themselves at every turn and can what if their way right out of an opportunity, people like me, held accountable for actually following through. I am supposed to start back at a hobby that I love and had to stop because I had gotten injured. I was supposed to had gotten back to it last year but I was feeling a little scared that I would re-injure myself. I told someone that I would finally get back to it this year but I left it open ended with no actual set time. It gave me a way out of it by not having an actual time pinpointed. That same person made me pick a date the other day and now that I have that date in my mind (it’s March 5th by the way), now I feel obligated to stick to it. I don’t have any excuses right?

So with my book, that’s supposed to release soon (I know, very vague right lol) I had made the commitment to publish a book but I just didn’t say when. I suppose I did that as some sort of safety net just in case something went wrong with the whole process. With no deadline, I wouldn’t have to explain to anyone else why it didn’t happen. But that pretty cowardice right? So I’m setting a deadline hear and now that the re-release of my book, The Diary: Succession of Lies, is going to be released on March 1st, 2019. So you heard it hear first and now I have to no choice but to do it because I have no excuses! So deadlines are the thing now! It’s what I need to hold myself accountable—my new accountability measure if you will! Do deadlines work for you? Let me know how deadlines have helped you in your life?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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In the Moments When You Think You’ve Failed

 

 

failing post

I was having a moment the other day. Actually I had a few moments over the course of the past weekend. You know those moments when you just question and second guess every single little thing that you’re doing because you’re not sure if you’re really doing anything right. There were some things that weren’t going right in my actual writing the other day so it made me question whether I’m even still any good at this writing thing I love so much or am I just wasting my time. I looked at my numbers (my stats)on my blog posts and on the posts on the magazine and even though they were going up the increase just wasn’t matching up with the effort that I was putting in so it made me wonder if I was doing enough or was I just not good enough in that department either.

There were some other little personal things that I was having issues with which I’d rather not go into detail about that were making me question myself as well. Then my daughter and I had a, how shall I say, difference of opinion on something that made her upset with me (when I felt like there wasn’t any reason for her to be—typical teenage stuff) and because of all of the other little moments I had been having I was already feeling on the edge of having my emotions spill over so that moment with her just made me feel like I was now failing in the mom department as well. I’m not going to lie, I shed a few tears this past weekend because I just felt like nothing I was doing was good enough or right and I felt like I was literally failing at everything.

Then I went to church Sunday and my pastor’s message was about being ready to (fittingly enough) deal with adversity in life. He talked about how adversity makes you stronger and how nothing you ever achieve in life will be achieved without going through some great adversity. He talked about trusting in the relationship that you have with God and in the fact that while it may often times seem like things aren’t going right, that they aren’t going just the way you think they ought to go, and even how sometimes it may seem like the path you’ve chosen is wrong because of the turmoil or hard times you may be going through, that you have to not only trust God through the hard times or the uncertainties, but you have to trust that the relationship that you have built with God is strong enough to get you through those times until you reach the light on the other end of what seems like total darkness.

It’s not the ease of life that is what lets us know that we are fulfilling the purpose we are here to fulfill, but rather the strength that we discover in ourselves when we have come out of the hard times. That strength that propels us forward and allows us to keep moving, battle scars and all, to the next level is what lets us know that in the end we only fail if we never put up a fight. So even though I had my moments where I felt like I was failing at everything that I was doing, I realized on Sunday, that as long as I was still trying, still fighting to get my message out, fighting to fulfill my purpose, fighting to be a good mom and raise my child in the best way that I possibly can, I may not do everything perfect and I may make a lot more mistakes along the way but at least I’m fighting. That alone means I’m winning!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Writer’s Myth I Love to Ignore

Killing the Myth.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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50 Shades of Publicity and Buzz

Shades of publicity

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months (maybe longer) then you know that this weekend is the release of the most talked about movie in I don’t know how long, “50 Shades of Grey”. It stands to gross over $80 million opening weekend alone (of course those are projected figures) and has probably been one of the best promoted movies, including gimmicks and promotional materials, in decades.

While sadly, I will not be going to see it, certainly not because I don’t want to, but because I made a decision this year to use my finances a little more wisely and since I have already treated myself to something for the month of February then seeing it, at least on opening weekend, is not in the cards. Now everyone who I know that wants to see the movie has their obvious reasons but I however, being the writer that I am, have ulterior motives.

I have never actually read the book so the hype that everyone is making over it is somewhat lost upon me due to the fact that I don’t know what’s in the book. I do, however, desire, to see what kind of writing lies in a movie that garners this much publicity and this much hype. I know that the book and the movie almost never match each other so part of me wants to read the book simply just to see how the writing between the two compares to one another. The other part wants to see it to take notes and to study the craft in which the movie was written.

I hear the buzz for this movie and the projected numbers for this movie and all I can really think about is whether any of the project ideas I have for the upcoming future will do those same kind of numbers one day and how do I get that kind of buzz and publicity going for my endeavors. I can’t help it but I don’t necessarily watch movies and television the same way anymore. I almost don’t even read the same way anymore.

I watch movies and TV and read with that writer’s eye and sometimes with the critical view of an editor. I see what could have been done better, written in a more convincing way, or I see how the characters could have been more persuasive in their acting or with their tone when they say a line. I suppose that means I am evolving as a writer and editor but it sometimes does take away the fun of watching or reading something for the sheer enjoyment of it.

With that said I am now going to go work on the many ideas that I have brewing in my head right now, some of which I hold out the hope that they will be so well written and so enticing that they will also have that same 50 Shades buzz and publicity and yes the numbers too some day (and soon). Hope that you all enjoy your Valentine’s Day weekend and if you are one of many who will be seeing the 50 Shade of Grey movie please let me know what you thought of it!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

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Writing in the Reality of the Moment

“Reality isn’t the way you wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are.”

~Robert J. Ringer

I am a writer of many things.  Fiction of all types, poetry, articles that motivate and uplift, and articles that are meant to inform.  No one who writes, unless they particularly write nothing but children’s fairytales, is going to always produce things that are considered motivating and uplifting.  Some things that people write are just real.  It comes from a place of reality and living in the present moment and in the knowledge of knowing that, as much as we would like it to be true, every moment of people’s lives is not going to always be happy and uplifting and completely void of negative obstacles.  That’s just not the reality of things.  

So when someone tells me that an article that I wrote to be informative and educate people, who may or may not know certain aspects of a health related disease, is stemming from a place of darkness and negativity it makes me want to literally curse them out and throw something, preferably at them.  This particular person would like me to write of nothing but motivating and uplifting things and speak of absolutely nothing that might be negative.  That’s not real for me.  

For one I don’t consider the article that I wrote, “The Rise of Lung Cancer in Non-smoking women”, to be dark and negative.  It simply is meant to inform people on things they may not even know concerning the disease.  I was informed just by researching the subject.  Secondly, I don’t feel like I have to be placed in this box as a writer of only writing and producing motivational articles.  I like to write a little bit of everything but most importantly I like to keep whatever I write (except for fiction) very real. 

The funny thing to me is that someone making that type of comment to me appeared and came off as completely negative.  As if they were someone just trying to get me riled up and trying to plant seeds of doubt or self consciousness in my mind.  It’s almost as if they somehow thought that this would make me just all of a sudden change my style of writing and the things that I put out there for the world to see.  

Truthfully it did make me angry but it didn’t deter me from writing my way and on my terms.  I write from the heart, whatever way I happen to feel, whatever information I want to convey or educate people with.  While I do love when people like what it is that I have written, I write for me first and for the world second.  Now maybe that’s wrong in some people’s eyes but if I wrote to try and please everyone else then I may possibly be the one who is not pleased with what I am writing and then I am no longer writing for the sheer love of writing.  

My words to the world of writers today is to always stay true to who you are in your writing.  Everyone is not going to like what you have to say but the important thing is that you say it, however you want to say it.  Write for the moment you are living in and from the place you are coming from.  Don’t ever let anyone else dictate what your voice as a writer should be. 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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