Assumptions Suck in Books and in Real Life

Loving yourself and loving your way through it has a lot to do with forgiveness, but it’s okay to sometimes struggle with the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s about forgiving yourself or other people.

My husband is a tall, rugged white man. People look at him and assume that he played football, not just in high school, but college. Sometimes they assume he was pro.

            Those assumptions don’t stigmatize him, but that’s because he’s pretty lucky.

            We aren’t all that lucky all the time.

            But it’s important to look beyond people’s outsides and not make assumptions or to give advice like it’s absolute edicts. We all live in slightly different bubbles with different backgrounds and sometimes those worlds aren’t going to jive or mesh or even make sense.

When I was talking to him about some editing work I was doing on a self-help book, he looked at me and asked, “It must be nice for these people to be able to have the time and money to run off to a yoga or meditation retreat for three weeks.”

“I know, right?”

“Does this person think everyone can do this?”

“Kind of.”

            Both of us come from poor even though we aren’t poor now. Our parents were hard-working and our mothers were mostly single, but they didn’t have the ability to move beyond their economic brackets. His mom was derailed by lupus. Mine was derailed by diabetes and some bad decisions.

            The point is that both of them would have loved to have spa days and meditation and yoga retreats, chances to pamper their minds and bodies. But they were too busy surviving to find the money to spend on that.

            There are a lot of people posting Medium articles and blogs about how to balance work and life. They are often written by single guys in their late twenties. And it seems like they have it all figured out.

            And I hope that they do because that would be wonderful for them.

            But here’s the thing: Nobody else’s journey and circumstances are going to 100 percent work for you.

            Here’s another thing: Even your own methods and journey aren’t going to work for you 100 percent of the time.

            That’s okay.

            There’s no one path to love, to happiness, to success, or even to publishing a book, let alone writing it. There’s no one way that we are supposed to be. You’ve got to embrace that, embrace who you are and persevere.

Loving yourself and loving your way through it has a lot to do with forgiveness, but it’s okay to sometimes struggle with the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s about forgiving yourself or other people.

            It’s really good to try not to force other people to prescribe to your timetables about forgiveness. We all move at different speeds. That’s okay. We need to give ourselves and other people the space to determine their own damn pace.

            It’s important for us all to remember that our advice might not work for everyone and give space to our assumptions that it will. Not everyone who looks like a football player was a football player. Not everyone can practice self-care via a three-week meditation retreat. It’s okay. We are all okay.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.


NEW BOOK ALERT!

My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.

There’s a bit more about it here.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

Love Your Way Through It

Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

It’s really easy to get all wrapped up in status and ambition, to fall into the syndrome where you think the grass is always greener everywhere except your lawn, to be jealous at other people’s accolades or family’s or looks or luck.

            Shakespeare said that comparisons are odious. And that long-dead white guy was right.

            Comparisons make you feel like poop.

            I know that a lot of people try to make themselves feel better by comparing themself to others and find the others lesser.

I’ve had people do it to me all my life. I bet you have, too.

My husband before Shaun was a hospital CEO in a small, local hospital. I was volunteering to decorate for one of the hospital’s two annual fundraisers. I was up on a ladder wearing my favorite Snoopy shoes and jeans, hardly hospital CEO wife clothes, but good stuff for climbing ladders, hauling tables and putting out poinsettias.

My hair was its natural color and in a lopsided ponytail. I had no make-up on.

I’ll never forget these two wealthy ladies about two decades older than me loudly saying, “What does he see in her?”

            I tottered on the ladder a bit and the person helping me knew that I heard. It would have been impossible not to hear.

            “Don’t listen to them. They have miserable small lives and they’re jealous. Just jealous shrews,” the helper said.

            She might have been right, but it didn’t matter right that second.

I heard their words and for a moment they hurt me, but then I just felt so sad for them. How lonely their lives must be if they had to say that about me. How sad.

All I could do was love them when I thought about the hurt that they must have had inside of their hearts.

            Neither of those women probably even remember that moment, but I do, and I also remember that I made a choice.

            I could have luxuriated in that hurt instead of acknowledging it, seeing it, and then letting it pass through me.

            I could have lashed out at them and matched their pettiness with my own.

            But instead I chose empathy. I had the luxury and safety of doing that because I’m secretly pretty secure in who I am. I love myself even when I suck. I chose to love them when they sucked, too.

            A translation of Dhammapada verse 223 makes it so that  Buddha once roughly said, “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”

Some translations use ‘overpower’ rather than ‘silence.’

Overpower the angry man with love.

            Love your way through it.

            Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

Let’s all be strong together, okay?


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Be Brave Friday – Sometimes It’s Hard to Spread Love – Do It Anyway

Every week day on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, I post something from my dogs (Gabby and Sparty) or my cats (Marsie, Cloud, and Koko).

I often wonder if there’s a point or if I’m just annoying everyone I know (and don’t) who follow me on social media.


I often think about how I give my thoughts and words to my dogs and cats because it’s the only way I can feel brave enough to say how I feel.


Every once in a while someone will get cranky with me about them, send me a private message and deride me because I still believe in love and goodness and hope.

“Who are you,” they’ll ask, “to believe such things. To share them with the world like you’re so smart or some sort of goody-goody.”


But every once in a while, someone will give me the most beautiful gift, an act of grace, a surprise, and I will cry because I am so stunned and lucky and grateful and relieved that there are so many good people out there.

Those reminders are so important especially when everything seems to be falling apart or actually is falling apart.


In just this past month, Cheryl Rainfield and Richard Small gave me those moments. And I felt so lucky.

This time it was Nora MacFarland who sent me this.

I cried when I saw it. I cried when I opened her cards. I cried when I sent her a thank you message.

I have cried a lot lately and if you’re the type of person who cries, I bet you have, too.


Last year we became full-time parents to a little person with oppositional defiance disorder and she always says after one of her big moments, “Why are people so nice to you?”

And I say, “I’m not sure, but I think it’s because I love people so much so I try to be kind to them.”

“Even people you don’t know?” she says, pretty skeptically honestly because this is hard for her to wrap her head around.

“Even people I don’t know and especially people I do know. Sometimes those people can actually be the hardest.”


I have been so lucky in this life because I do get to know people who go out of their way to give; people like Cheryl and Richard and Nora and so many more. People who offer pea soup because they know I love it. People who tell me I can rant when I need to. People who just read my books and support me on Patreon. People who I get to be a part of their literary and book journeys.

I know how lucky I am. I want you all to be lucky too. 

Nora was so brave to send her amazing art to me, to make this, to share her genius. I hope you can be brave too. I know you can.

Loving your way through tough times, through big cultural hard times and personal horrors can feel almost impossible. But you can. And love and anger aren’t dichotomies that exist in separate spaces. It’s possible to rage and love and cry and hope all at once.
But I hope that as you go through these days, you turn as often as you can to love.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Do You Have To Find Your Bliss?

A woman named Maggie S. had a great post about why she sets goals on the same week that Meg Cabot had this great post about putting on your big girl panties and dealing with things.


Another writer friend, Lisa, had this post of awesome about how you should follow your bliss.

And articles about goals and finding your bliss are constantly all over Medium.

Which made me think.

Note: Me thinking is somewhat dangerous.

But it made me think about what I want out of life and I realized that I have no idea what my bliss is or how to follow it.

Yes, I am blissless!

I mean, I am not like Eeyore and looking sad and finding negatives everywhere.

Eeyore: I can’t believe you used me as an example.
Me: Sorry Eeyore.

I am a pretty happy person actually, but I have never consciously thought to myself: SET GOALS. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS. PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL UNDERWEAR.

Does anyone else not like the word ‘panties?’

I really don’t like that word. Especially when men over 72 say it.

Anyway, I just sort of live and not worry about bliss and it’s worked for me.

But now I want to have some bliss to follow. Not a Tiger Woods kind of bliss where I eschew all responsibility and just sort of follow my libido to the land of porn stars and cocktail waiters because… um… EW!

Not a politically motivated bliss where I ignore all opinions and facts outside my own bubble because also … ew.

But some sort of nice, legal, personal, without-negative ramifications bliss.

And I have to wonder… Am I the only one out there who doesn’t know exactly what her bliss is?

I sort of just find bliss all the time, in random things like Gabby my dog rolling in the snow…

Gabby: Hey! This isn’t a snow picture.
Me: You blend in with the snow in all the snow pictures.
Gabby: True. I will give you that one and add that my bliss is basically these things: squirrels, cats, squirrels, Sparty Boy (my doggy boyfriend), Cloud Kitty (my cat girlfriend), when chicken falls on the floor, car rides, belly rubs, squirrels
and the Fed Ex man with the beard, the one who gives me treats.

Sorry for the Gabby digression.

But I find my little bliss moments with her or Sparty Dog or the cats humiliating themselves by jumping on the counter and missing

best ya authors

Koko the Cat: I am going to go to sleep and pretend you did not mention that event, which should never not be mentioned, Human!

Or getting to touch a copy of DAD WITHOUT A DAD, which came in the mail.

He made this! Isn’t he talented?!?!?!

Or getting this amazing ornament from one of my other friends, Alyson.

SHE MADE IT! Isn’t she talented?!?!

Or just getting some awesome Christmas cards from amazing people like Cheryl and Akiko.

But maybe finding little bliss all the time isn’t how I should be. Maybe I should working for a big bliss, a followable bliss.


Do you all have a bliss?

Is it silly even to ponder this?


Should I just put on my big girl underwear and move on?

Or should I just be psyched that I have some amazing pets and friends and tiny blisses all around me? I think I know the answer, but what about you?


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Secret Writing Advice

Do not sign up with a local internet provider who will allegedly embezzle funds from his employees’ 401k accounts and then disconnect the service, the server and the phone lines and then everyone (including your editors and agent and mother) will try to send you an email and they will get a message that you don’t exist.

No. Sorry. That’s not it. 

Although that is good important advice I wish someone had told me before it happened.

Below is my real advice and it’s not about computer fraud or even strictly about the craft of writing. Instead, it’s about the mind state of being a writer.

Yes, the mind state.

Yes, that sounds hokey.

MY ADVICE:

The thing is that sometimes writing is easy.


The thing is that sometimes writing is not… easy.

These are the days of writers. People blog. They text. They NaNoWriMo. You are one of those people. You know that it’s hard.

I know that it is not easy for me to be one of those people, a writer in the days of writers, and especially in these times of economic turmoil where people are getting laid off or fired and entire publishing houses are restructuring, trying to stay alive.

Let me tell you something about writers in these days of writers. 

Sometimes when we look at a page we see the world.

Sometimes when we look at a page we see hope. Sometimes when we look at a page we see nothing at all.

But here’s the big secret….

Writers matter. Stories matter. You matter.

It all matters despite the economy, or maybe even more so because of it.
It all matters despite the fact that the whole world can write and blog and text, or maybe even more so because of it.

So we lurch.

So we bother.

So we search our mirrors and our lives.

So we search in hearts and in actions and we make stories.

No matter what: We make stories.

So go on. Read and study, think and play, feel the truths that form solid hard in the gut and in the throat. Write your stories, blogs, texts, and poems and don’t worry if it’s Proust or gobbley gook or even if it will get published.

Worry will keep you from creating. And we all worry too much about too many things. Writing and the joy of creation should not be one of those things.

That’s my secret advice: Just write.

You owe it to the world and the world owes it to you.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain
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If you are the kind of writer who wants clicks and readers, this is the podcast for you. Yes! A helpful podcast from us weirdos. I know, right?

Here’s the first one.

Get Rid of The Crap

Seriously. Get rid of the words, the repetition, the flowery language that exists JUST to be flowery but has nothing to do with your message, your character or your plot.

Don’t have people nod and say yes at the same time. One is enough.

Don’t have people think to themselves. We know they are thinking to themselves.

Unnecessary words are blah. Nobody wants to be blah. Nobody wants to read blah either except maybe that one fourth grade teacher and maybe your honors freshman English teacher, the one who yelled about James Joyce a lot.

Let Your Title Be a Promise and a Gift.

That’s right. Give your readers something. Your title is a promise and a gift.

Think to yourself: Why would anyone care about reading this?

For this podcast, the answer to that would be that people care because they want the tools to be a better writer. Figure out why you’re writing what you’re writing and give that to the reader.

This goes for books too. Even if your answer is just – I want to provide readers an escape. It works.

Actually Write Your Story

Don’t just talk about writing. Write.

Don’t stare at the blank page. Write.

You can always revise. Revision is good. But you can’t revise a blank document or a page full of nothing.

I once had a reporter who was THE BEST guy. He was my best friend. I loved him with all my heart, but he would have writer’s block all the way up to deadline. I’m a chill human. I hate being demanding, but I would have to go into his office every deadline and implore him to write.

“My lede isn’t perfect,” he’d say.

“Done matters. Perfect doesn’t matter.”

I would write ten stories to his one story, over and over again. And the thing was? People liked my stories better. That quest for perfection makes us crazy. But it also keeps us from getting things done.

Don’t Try To Be Someone Else

You should write like you. Not like Anne Lamont or the million other lovelies out there. Not like T-Nehisi Cotes who is brilliant.

You have a unique experience and voice. Use that in your stories. Be brave. Be absolutely who you are. Don’t be shy about it, shout your voice into the world.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Write. Be yourself. Don’t write extra words just to be extra or fill up your word count. And your title is a promise to your reader/listener. Don’t break the promise.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Focus on your wants. Don’t add fluff. Don’t be fluff.

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

HOW I MANAGE TO BE HAPPY

My husband Shaun just showed me a video he took of me when we were in Belize on a wheelchair project with Rotary International a few years ago. It was during an absolutely terrible time in my life.

But on the video, I’m swimming with some sharks in the warm water, thrilled. In another one, I’m at a restaurant laughing at the amazingly beautiful dessert I’m about to eat.

I’m happy.

“This time sucked for you,” Shaun said as hunkered over the laptop screen, watching. “But look at how happy you are.”

“I’m pretty resilient,” I said.

The reason I’m resilient is because I know exactly who I am.

My daughter Em said on Thanksgiving, “Last summer was a bad time for you. I was a little worried.”

“It was. But I bounced back,” I told her.

Litany of Terrible Things Paragraph

Like a lot of other people, some terrible things have happened to me in my life and I’m not the most prime physical specimen. I have to wear knee braces to hike or run. I have no depth perception, epilepsy caused from a virus that a rapist gave me, constant shoulder pain. I’ve seen a lot of people die in person. I have no parents or grandparents left.

Enough of That

But there’s a reason I bounce back and can usually find my happy place again. It isn’t because I’m awesome or special in any way that is different from anyone else.

Why Do I Always Find My Happy Again?

It’s because I know who I am. My values and beliefs? They are so strong that they can be pretty damn annoying, honestly.

Let me rephrase that: I can be pretty damn annoying, honestly.

No Pretending

I don’t know how to be who I’m not. I don’t pretend on social media and I don’t pretend in real life.

Live In The Moment

I live in the moment, every single moment, and occasionally worry obsessively about money or the health of the people I love or the state of the world, but when I do? It’s always a worry consistent with my values and beliefs.

That’s the secret.

We can’t wait for something huge to happen and shake us out of the monotony of our lives or our selves, to make us evolve into someone who will behave in a way that actually reflects their values.

We have to put in the work every day.

And sometimes (Okay, a lot of the times) I screw up and when I do?

I get sad and disappointed in myself.

And sometimes the people I love screw up and when they do?

I get sad and a little disappointed but then I forgive them.

Why? Because that’s one of my values: forgiveness.

And that forgiveness that we give to other people? It has to extend to ourselves.

Your Values And Actions And Happiness Are Connected

Your values have to dictate your actions if you’re going to be happy. That’s going to annoy some people in your family or your coworkers or your friends. But there’s no other way. To be happy, you have to live the way you think matters, you have to hold onto your integrity.

It matters.

You matter.

And so does your happiness.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

If I Am Dressed, I Consider It A Miracle and Other Important Writer Answers to Questions

 I have been tagged a couple times now so here goes:

Rules: Answer the questions, add one of your own if you want, then tag five of your friends. (I am skipping that part because I hate tagging. You can tag yourself and say I tagged you if you want).

1. How old were you when the craft of writing called you to perform?

I wouldn’t say I was ever ‘called’ because that makes me think of being a priest and the thought of me being a priest is just so scary that I can’t handle it. 

Although, it would be fun to wear the collar and maybe guest star in Evil.

The first thing I remember writing is a haiku in second grade for Mrs. Joyce Snearson. Her son now writes for Entertainment Weekly.

My haiku was posted on the wall because:


1. I understood what syllables were.
2. I wrote in just one sentence like she asked.
3. It did not involve Tonka trucks, Barbies or hunting.

I thought writing might be okay if you always got praise like that.

My haiku (for the record)

Spring is fun you see
Because flowers grow with rain
and robins come home.

My next big writing excursion was a Star Trek story for my brother. It did not go so well.

2. What’s your favorite writing outfit? 

If I am dressed, I consider it a miracle.

3. What computer program do you use for your writing?

Microsoft Word

4. What’s the name of your most difficult character to write?

You know the random guy in the restaurant? The one who doesn’t do anything? He’s just background noise. And then sometimes he’s in the hall at the high school, or maybe at the gas station while stuff is going on?

Him.

5. When is your favorite time of day to write? 

When I am fully awake. This sometimes never happens.

6. What’s your favorite genre?

Oh, I am a genre lover and I’ll do anything with a genre. Wait, you don’t even have to pay me, so that means……

I’m just easy.

7. What writers have inspired you the most in your career and why?

My teachers at Vermont College: TIm Wynne-Jones, Sharon Darrow, Kathi Appelt and Rita Williams-Garcia because they are:


1. Awesome writers
2. Pretty fine dancers
3. Unafraid to give generously to others
4. Cute

8. Do you think you’re smarter than a fifth grader? 

I think that depends on the fifth grader, but in general – no.

9. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re stuck on a scene?

Walk the dogs outside and call it exercise when it’s really just standing around watching them smell things, pee on things and smell things again. All of that tugging on leashes makes me get back into that writer flow.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be?

Ignore advice.

Fine. I won’t be snarky. Um….

How about:

Write the way you want to write. Write about what you want to write. Write like you, not like John Green or E. Lockhart or Angie Thomas or Miguel Syjuco or M.T. Anderson or Rita Williams Garcia or Jason Reynolds. Write like you.


CARRIE’S TEACHABLE CLASS!

I have a quick, pre-recorded Teachable class designed to make you a killer scene writer in just one day. It’s fun. It’s fast. And you get to become a better writer for just $25, which is an amazing deal.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

EAT THE MASHED TURNIP IT IS DESPERATE TIMES, AUTHOR – COOKING WITH A WRITER

I am a potato fan. But all our potatoes lately have been – gasp – green. It’s desperate times, my friend, so I’m trying to convince the carnivores in the family that mashed turnips is an okay substitute.

EAT THE MASHED TURNIP IT IS DESPERATE TIMES, AUTHOR - COOKING WITH A WRITER

If you are trying to do this in your own home story, do not let the other cast of characters see the actual turnip before you mash the bugger.

Also, um, buy my books. 🙂

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Print Recipe
EAT THE MASHED TURNIP IT IS DESPERATE TIMES, AUTHOR
This is adapted from THE SPRUCE EATS, one of my favorite recipe sites. https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-delicious-mashed-turnips-2217302
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people who aren't annoying about turnips
Ingredients
Course side dish
Cuisine american
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people who aren't annoying about turnips
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Find turnips out there somewhere. Do not judge them by their looks. Admire their looks. It's like an ombre.
  2. Give the turnips a bath like they were at Burning Man for weeks.
  3. Peel the turnips. Think about peeling back the layers of character motivation.
  4. Cut turnips into big pieces. Make those pieces the same size.
  5. Wonder why things must be the same size to cook evenly. It seems unfair. Try not to feel too much empathy for this cut up, peeled, and cleaned turnip pieces.
  6. Cry because you really wanted potatoes and you can't do this any longer.
  7. Why must everything be so hard?
  8. Cry more and go write a sonnet about hard times and turnips.
  9. Put turnips in a pot.
  10. Drown them with cold water.
  11. Recite your Turnip Sonnet Eulogy. Make sure to mention muses and potatoes and feeling like you're never good enough, darn it. Never!
  12. Cry and bring to a boil.
  13. Put salt in the water.
  14. Don't let the water boil over because that will be a starchy mess like your tear-stained face and sonnet.
  15. Cook those babies until fork tender. This takes around 10 to 15 minutes post boiling.
  16. Find another pan.
  17. Heat the milk in it over low heat.
  18. Add the butter. Let the butter melt into the milk. Take it off the heat. Convince yourself nobody will notice these are turnips and not potatoes just like nobody noticed that your erotic novel was a christian allegory.
  19. Drain the turnips.
  20. Put the turnips back in their pot.
  21. Shake it a lot for three minutes while singing that Taylor Swift song about shaking things off. Wonder if you can incorporate that into your turnip sonnet. Shake things for 2-3 minutes. Things mean turnips, pots, your bum.
  22. Mash the turnips.
  23. Add via stirring the milk and butter mix.
  24. Add salt. Salt is good. Salt should be in the sonnet.
Recipe Notes

Again, this comes from Molly Watson at The Spruce Eats and the link is here. 

The Battle For Word Count

 I am having a hard time writing today.

John Wayne in My Head: Understatement of the year, right there, Little Lady.

Thanks Mr. Wayne, dead movie star, and inner Carrie Jones critic aka internal editor aka mean voice in my head. Nice of you to show up. Your eyes look VERY blue in that picture.

JW: Well, I was alive then.

True. Anyway. I’m having some issues. What kind of issues? I’m worried about female stereotypes in the middle grade I’m writing. All of a sudden on word 20,667 I’m thinking, “Is Lily strong enough? She likes math. How do I keep her from being a stereotype of a girl who likes math?”

Oh no, am I oppressing my co-women? Crud. 

JW: You’re just supposed to write. It’s your first draft. Don’t make me have to threaten ya.

I know! I am, but it’s hard. I have issues.
JW: Issues don’t bring home the bacon.

Do you mean, bread, Mr. Wayne?
JW: No, I mean bacon.

Why do I think you mean bread?
JW: Because your brain is on strike because you aren’t writing. Now get a move on.

Fine. Fine. It’s all going to be garbage.
JW: True, but it’ll be your garbage.

In a stereotypical heterosexual American relationship, the man takes out the garbage, you know. That’s your role.

JW: What do you think I’m doing right now?
Talking to me?

JW: No, I’m trying to take out the garbage also known as self-doubt in your little writer brain.
Oh! Oh. That’s so nice of you. Stereotypical, but nice.

JW: Little Lady, I aim to please.

For all of you doing, National Novel Writing Month right now, good luck! You’ve got this! Battle for that word count and stomp down the stereotypes and that self doubt. They don’t get to control you, right? You control you.

Cough. Off to listen to my own advice.

LET’S HANG OUT!

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Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com