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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Are You Really As Ready As You Think You Are?

are you really ready 1

I was thinking about what it means to actually be ready for the things that you dream for and that you say you want. My Pastor preached this past Sunday about what being ready really meant. It’s not just speaking into existence what you want for your life. It’s not even just knowing exactly what it is that you say you want. Those are important factors but what it really means to actually be ready to receive your dreams is about much more than that.

Being ready is about being knowledgeable and skilled in the things that you will need to do to prepare for your dreams. It’s about being attentive to the things and details that need to be addressed and the distractions that need to be removed so that you can be ready when the time comes. It is about being in the position that you need to be in, in order to make sure that when opportunity presents itself you are able to invest what’s necessary in yourself and your purpose. Being ready also means that once you have properly positioned yourself and you are rightly focused, you are then willing to put in all of the hard work that it will take for you to actually attain your dreams. Most of all, I think that to be ready means that you have to be available to receive your dreams, and fulfill your purpose. If you are too busy focusing on the things that aren’t going to get you to your dreams then you aren’t really ready.

You see there are so many things that we often times think that we are ready to jump into and it’s not that we don’t truly think that we are. It’s more often than not that we don’t truly understand exactly what being ready means. When I had my first book published back in 2008 I thought I was ready for what came next but because I was naïve as to all that it encompassed to be successful at being a published author things didn’t exactly go as I had envisioned them going. The book didn’t sell well and I was overwhelmed with the other side of what being a published author meant (the business side) and although I thought I was, I was not ready for that.

When opportunity comes knocking to make our dreams come true we always like to think that we are ready for whatever comes after. We don’t always properly assess things and what’s worse is that we find that we hadn’t properly prepared for what it is we said we wanted. We end up not being as ready as we thought we were. This is why we have to make ourselves ready. It’s not enough to just want the dreams we have envisioned to come true. We have to begin preparing for it long before the opportunity comes to knock at our door. So the next time that you say that you are ready to finally get all that you’ve been dreaming for, think about whether you are truly ready and properly prepared. Think about whether you have assessed everything and the amount of diligence and tenacity that it will take for you to see it through. Think about whether you are truly ready and more importantly, are you willing to step into your purpose and fulfill your dreams with the gifts that God gave you!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Journey Doesn’t End at a Closed Door

on the other side of the door

As I started this year with all of the excitement and anticipation of anyone dead set on taking their dreams to the next level I sat and thought about something that my pastor preached about a few weeks ago. He talked about not just asking God for what it is that you want out of your life but believing and knowing that God will do for you all that he promised he would do. The important part of his message that he spoke about was how sometimes we allow our impatience and our discouragement hold us back from getting all of the things that we’ve been asking God for. We want what we want right at that moment and somehow we think that if it doesn’t happen on the time table that we had in our mind that it means that it’s never going to happen at all.

I think that that’s what I have been doing, unknowingly of course, but I’ve been so impatient. It sounds funny saying that when I think about the fact that I’ve been at this for over a decade now but if I think back there have been so many moments where I felt like a breakthrough might have been coming but then an obstacle presented itself. Instead of holding steady and pushing through that door which was simply stuck, I turned and went backwards trying to trace my missteps to figure out what I missed that would have made the door open easier and quicker. The truth is, in those moments where I turned and tried to see where I went wrong my energy would have been better spent trying to push through that door that was just stuck, not locked, simply hard to open.

There isn’t a set time where everything is just supposed to magically come together. Just because the results aren’t immediate or as fast paced as you think they should be doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Everything that is worth having has been won in a struggle. We have to stop putting a time table on our dreams and making it as if they’re not worth striving for if they don’t happen at the precise moment we want them to.

There will always be a different door at the turning point of any moment in your journey and what’s on the other side of it won’t always be easy to access but we can’t give up and we can’t turn back trying to create our own do-over. Now it’s true that there are some doors that were meant to be closed in order for others to open but we can’t confuse what’s not meant for us to open with what just appears to be too hard to open. We have to just push through, no matter how hard we have to push, until we knock that door down. Don’t walk away before you finally get everything that it is you’ve been waiting for. The journey isn’t over just because you have to stay in the same place for a little while longer than you initially planned. Keep pushing through those doors because the next level is coming!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Dreams Don’t Die, They Simply Change, and That’s Okay

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One of my first childhood dreams for my future was when I was somewhere between eight and nine and just knew that I was going to be a New York Time’s Best Selling Author by the age of thirty. Needless to say that has not yet come true and I am almost forty. I spent a lot of time last year continuing work on my novels all while submitting other novels to various agents. I got a rejection letter from almost all of them (some still haven’t responded yet, which I suppose is a response in itself) but they weren’t the regular form rejection letters. They were all nice and complimentary of how well my writing is and how the story sounded intriguing yet it was not particularly what they were looking for. There were a few who even made some suggestions of certain areas of the story in which to make it a little stronger but still making sure to let me know that they thought I had great potential of getting traditionally published down the road.

I suppose that the fact that they didn’t send back something generic and formal and actually took time out of their already busy schedules to personalize my rejection a little more means something but in the end a rejection is still just that. I’m not going to lie, I was beginning to doubt myself and my writing ability just a little bit but then I decided that this year was going to be the year of no excuses and I was not going to let someone else’s approval stop me from putting my work out there. Truthfully, that I’m not further along in my career as a published novelist (and not just someone with about four or five novels just sitting completed on a flash drive) is my own fault.

My first time being published was back in 2010, and it was by a small publishing house, and if I look back now I honestly wasn’t ready for the business part of being a published novelist. I was also a little too excited and a little too naïve in thinking that this small publishing house would do the same things as a traditional publishing house, in terms of marketing and publicity. I wasn’t really knowledgeable about social media and how best to use it to market myself and when it came to promoting my own book, well I tended to shy away from putting myself out there. I know more about social media now as opposed to what I knew then and I think I am more ready now then I was then to be published.

You know they say be careful what you ask for because you just might get it and in terms of receiving something that you’re simply not ready for yet, that saying couldn’t be more true. I used to tell people that I regretted my first experience with publishing because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what I had gotten into when I signed with that small publishing house. It wasn’t a very successful experience and I had expected to just be able to write and let someone else handle the rest. That was misguided thinking but now those lessons that that experience taught me are priceless.

Now, because of that experience, as I get ready to reenter the arena as a published author by publishing my own work, I understand all of the work that the process will entail and while I am not yet a marketing or social media genius, I am substantially better at it then I was then and what I don’t know or understand I am prepared to research and learn. I was smart enough then to make sure that I got my rights back to my novel that was published back then in a reasonable time and I plan on republishing that novel (possibly renaming it what I wanted to name it to begin with) because I still believe in the story that lied within those pages.

We tend to waste time trying to control things that are not within our control instead of focusing on what is. We do ourselves a great disservice when we hold onto the notion that we can somehow go back and change the mistakes that we made before. Sometimes we have to learn how to let go of the dream that we started out with and grab on to the dream that has bloomed where the old one once was. Now I’m not saying that I don’t still desire to be published with a traditional publishing house but this is the year of no excuses right, so to waste time waiting for that to happen when I have ISBN #’s waiting to be used for my own novels would be pointless. The things I dreamed for myself ten or fifteen years ago aren’t really gone, they’ve just morphed into newer, bolder dreams that require me to have the courage to let what once was go and grab onto what can be now. Are you ready to let go of the dreams that didn’t survive your past and grab onto the dreams of your future?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Write the Vision and Make It Plain

“Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the Vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”

~ Habakkuk 2:2

Write the vision and make it plain post

So I was listening to the Steve Harvey Morning show the other morning and it was the end of the show when he usually imparts some words of wisdom for his listeners. This morning he talked about writing your goals and your vision down. He made a point that (and I’m paraphrasing) writing down the goals helps you to visualize the vision in a way that you can’t visualize it if it just remains in your head.

Hearing that made me think about when my focus had gotten off track before and all of the times that I have been thrown off my writing flow it had been during a time frame where I had stopped writing down my goals and my dreams for one reason or another. For someone like me who is a planner, and who likes to have most things planned out to the tee it is hard for me to operate when I don’t have things planned out. I struggle to tow the line between planning things out excessively and not planning things at all to try and not be so obsessive. I think that I’ve realized that I need the structure of planning things out because it is how I am able to see the bigger picture.

There are plenty of people who like to tell me how unattainable my dreams are and all of the reasons that none of them will ever materialize into reality. I will even admit that sometimes I let their rejection of my aspirations deter me from the end goal. However, having them written out, having a vision board that shows me what my end game is, having a certain amount of belief in my overall vision, is what focuses me in the end. It’s not that having a physical representation of my dreams quiets the naysayers, but rather it helps me tune out their voices of belittlement (most of the time anyway) and persevere in the vision that I have, the purpose in which God gave me.

It is so much easier to fight for a dream in which you can visualize what it would look like to reach that goal. It’s true that you can’t see years into the future and that there’s no real way to predict how it all will turn out but you still have to keep your eyes on the road ahead of you to get yourself to the next part in the journey. If you have nothing to aim for, no goal in your sights, then what are you really working towards. Can you see what the end goal will be? Can you visualize your journey? Visualize and believe in yourself! The season you’re in right now is not the season that you will stay in forever!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Getting Back into the Writer’s Flow of Things

Back in the writing flow of things (27)

So I know that I’ve been missing in action and it has been quite a while since I last wrote and I didn’t mean for it to take me so long to get back in the rhythm of things but you know how creativity strikes, or rather in some cases doesn’t strike. I had hit a creative wall and it wasn’t necessarily a lack of ideas, but a lack of knowing how to focus my ideas in a productive manner. I actually think that a part of my issue is that I have too many ideas and in a perfect world I would be able to do the work of ten people all at once and be able to get all of my ideas off the ground and running all at the same time. Alas, this is most certainly not a perfect world, and I am only one person with only two hands and I can not multiply myself the way I need to in order to get a lifetime worth of accomplishments done in a short period of time. I suppose if I hadn’t spent a large amount of wasted time second guessing every idea I’ve had, and every dream I’ve wanted to go after then I could have produced more of my ideas by now.

I got a boost of writing motivation when I participated in this writing challenge in September. It was Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 10 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders (you can find out more about by looking it up through Facebook) and it was a very cathartic experience doing this challenge and left me feeling surprisingly vulnerable, but in a good way, because that was the reason I did the challenge. It’s not like I haven’t been a part of writing groups in the past (albeit not for long) or have done challenges such as this one but I never really allowed myself to really be vulnerable in them and I was more of an observer in those and less of a sharer. With this challenge I actually shared a bit of myself, and while I admit I could’ve shared a lot more (something I have to work on) for me it was still a huge step. I got to interact with some extremely talented individuals who allowed themselves to be equally as vulnerable.

I feel like I’ve been missing that interaction with other creative minded people because at one point in my life I was consistently in the orbit of a couple of select people who were creative like me and we bounced ideas off each other and gave each other feedback. Then suddenly the few select creative minded people had vanished. I mean they were still around but their lives blossomed into a different direction and they moved away and got busy and their careers bloomed and they went on to find groups of other creative minded people where they were now at and I was still stuck. It was no one’s fault or anything, just that it was their turn to bloom and grow and it wasn’t mine (yet). I still love them and I root for them but I had lost that outlet and I haven’t found a new one yet.

The recent challenge I did got my creative brain really flowing again and I loved every day of it and the people that I connected with there. Now I’m in the right mind-set to prepare for National Novel Writing Month and that excites me so much because I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to participate this year for lack of creative inspiration. Now if I don’t write here anymore this month it’s not because I’m not writing at all because I’ll be outlining my novel for NaNoWriMo. I will also be blogging at least three times a week in the month of November as I go through the NaNoWriMo experience and hopefully a few of you will join me in doing NaNoWriMo as well. Until next time…. Keep Writing!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Plant Seeds, Water Dreams, and Persist Until Success Blooms

 

planting the Seeds of Dreams 2I’ve been thinking a lot about the time limits we impose upon ourselves when it comes to getting the things we want done. For a planner like me who had her life plans mapped out from the time I was ten years old it is extremely disheartening when things get thrown so far off course that you don’t even recognize the road you’re on anymore. A childhood friend of mine read my blog post the other day about going back to the beginning of a dream and provided some much needed words of encouragement that I needed to hear. He reminded me that just because I have not yet accomplished the things that I thought I would have by now that it doesn’t mean that I won’t. He reminded me that a lot of times the success comes later on in life and he let me know that he still believed in me as he always had since the 8th grade poem that a group of us wrote together.

True enough, my plans for making an established career as a writer have not worked out quite the way that I envisioned but I’m not completely sure that I would change things. I can say that now because hindsight is twenty-twenty and looking back at some of the things that certain detours in my plan have brought into my life (one main blessing being my daughter) I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I’ve had or the obstacles that I have had to work through for anything. I think that when I finally do reach the position in my writing career that I am striving for that those same obstacles and experiences will provide a great foundation for the lasting success that I saw for myself from the very beginning.

There are no time limits on when a person can achieve the success that they are looking for in life. We would like to get to the level of success we desire in a hurry and sometimes that can end up being to our detriment because far too often people aren’t really truly ready for the success they are seeking. I think that we’re often tested to gauge whether or not we’re even serious about what it is that we say we want. Will we throw our dreams away at the first sign of a major hurdle? Will we get halfway down the path to our goals and then get so impatient with how long it’s taking that we turn and double back before we’ve even reached the end of the road? Just how important could our dreams be if we run away from them at the first sign of resistance?

I think things happen for a reason, be it good or bad, and we have to be sure that the journey we are on has our full commitment and that our plans of action matches our level of desire. We can’t just quit on the dreams we have because it gets a little harder than we thought it would be to achieve them. They say that the hardest battles come with the sweetest victories so just imagine how sweet the success will be if you don’t give up on the goal just because the storm became too hard to bear. You’ve already planted the seed so just make sure you keep watering the dream!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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