Warped Brains For The Win

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Warped Brains For The Win
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Join us as we talk about calling a new born baby an aunt and cognitive distortions.

Cognitive distortions are basically when you notice something that happens outside of yourself and you distort the hell out of it and create this super exaggerated, super negative view of yourself or another person.

There are at least six of these bastards.

The first is called Catastrophizing. I’m a master at this, but let’s go through all of them according to Esther Perel, a therapist and author.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Sparty Dog says to only worry about the now, baby. Eat your treats, scratch your fur, snore, and call it good.

Contemplating scratching

LINKS

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-recognize-and-tame-your-cognitive-distortions-202205042738

https://www.masterclass.com/classes/esther-perel-teaches-relational-intelligence/chapters/developing-self-awareness

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/family/older-dads-weird-demand-to-family-over-babys-name-baffles-internet/ar-AA122iLR

Dogs Cry Happy Tears When You Come Home Maybe We Should Too

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Cry Happy Tears When You Come Home Maybe We Should Too
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In our random thoughts, we talk about dogs crying, empathy, tribalism and social media. Those aren’t fully transcribed here.

Pharrell Williams says in a Masterclass that his imagination helped him survive, but as he grew up he realized that he was only seeing the world in one way, which was from his experience. The day that you stop being curious, you stop learning, he thinks.

“The universe doesn’t stop,” he says, “so why should my curiosity?”

Empathy helps people be more creative. Empathy towards other helps you realize that you know that they exist. When you’re in partnerships, he said, empathy is the role call, it’s where you show that everyone exists and it allows you to be open and create bigger projects and relationships.

So, let’s think about that in the bigger picture about our society and kids, okay?

In a New York Times article by Matt Richtel, he focuses on U.S. teens and their depression, anxiety, suicide and self-harm. He chronicles one ten-year-old’s journey on an iPod Touch that their grandparents gave them.

The kid posted selfies.

Some people (men) sent photos of their penises and asked for the kid to send naked photos back and also solicited them for sex.

The kid, C, tried to ignore it.

“That plan did not work out. The internet seeped into C’s psyche; severely depressed, they found kinship online with other struggling adolescents and learned ways to self-harm,” Richtel writes.

For teens in the U.S. the risks are no longer drugs, drinking, and getting pregnant. Now they are anxiety, self-harm, suicide, depression.

“What science increasingly shows is that virtual interactions can have a powerful impact, positive or negative, depending on a person’s underlying emotional state,” Richtel writes.

He adds that “The ability of youth to cope has been further eroded by declines in sleep, exercise and in-person connection, which all have fallen as screen time has gone up. Young people, despite vast virtual connections, or maybe because of them, report being lonelier than any other generation. And many studies have found that adolescents who spend more time online are less happy.”

The data? It’s grim. And it effects happiness and empathy.

Richtel writes, “From 2007 to 2016, emergency room visits for people aged 5 to 17 rose 117 percent for anxiety disorders, 44 percent for mood disorders and 40 percent for attention disorders, while overall pediatric visits were stable. The same study, published in Pediatrics in 2020, found that visits for deliberate self-harm rose 329 percent. But visits for alcohol-related problems dropped 39 percent, reflecting the change in the kind of public health risks posed to teenagers.”

He quoted how a doctor who talks about how a lot of kids try to find community online, adopting even the tic disorders of Tik-Tokers. They want, desperately, to belong.

We see tribalism all the time, that need for cliques, for belonging, especially in political parties, but it’s not just there. It’s everywhere—that need to fit in, to belong, to be part of a pack even if you never actually meet the other pack members. Dogs show it beautifully when they are full of joy greeting you at the door. Why aren’t we all like that? Maybe we’re meant to be—about our family and our friends—joyous to see them again, excited to hear about their days and adventures.

Robert Reffkin, who launched a real estate technology company, Compass, realized people wanted community and culture and people who give you energy rather than take it away in relationships and in workplaces. He said that most employees feel that their businesses and organizations need more empathy.

“Leaders need to really honor and respect the diversity of challenges in people’s lives,” Reffkin says. 

It can be as simple as not expecting everyone to be an extrovert and talk over each other at a meeting, understanding communication styles are different, or that sometimes someone needs a day off because they have a life beyond the office. That kindness, that understanding, gives your employees more support and makes them feel a part of something. That goes for your kids, too.

Robin Arzón, an ultramarathon runner, says when you feel a part of something, then you feel like you have agency. During her career, Arzón was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and had to readjust to the changes and challenges to her body. Other runners supported her as she supported them. They empowered each other and empathized with each other during training and races.

“I believe empowerment is contagious. I believe joy is contagious,” she says.

A study in Japan looked at 823 college students and learned that the students with high or moderate physical activity self-reported more cognitive empathy than the students with low physical activity (The Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Therapy, 2021). That doesn’t happen when we’re all on social media, stuck inside, joining a TikTok group. Or if we’re scrolling through Twitter looking for a hashtag to focus us on hating other people.

“Empathy is everything,” Arzón says. “It extinguishes assumptions and limitations.”

Empathy helps you to empower other people because when you see where they are at, you are able to help pull them along to their goal.

“Empathy’s greatest potential is equality for all mankind,” Williams said. Empathy is the best tool for equality, he says. But it’s also the best tool for belonging. When we realize others’ pains; when we work toward connections? We move out of our tribes, our bubbles, and become something much healthier and bigger.


DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Cry when your people come home, because holy god, they made it back!


SOME COOL LINKS TO LEARN MORE

https://www.masterclass.com/classes/the-power-of-empathy-with-pharrell-williams-and-noted-co-instructors/chapters/do-something

https://www.theledger.com/story/news/state/2022/04/26/florida-school-book-bans-these-library-titles-being-reviewed-school-boards/9542938002/

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/dogs-cry-happy-tears-owners-27803328

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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

You can totally hack into other people’s heads

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
You can totally hack into other people’s heads
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You can totally hack into other people’s heads. It sounds dastardly, right? But you can tweak other people’s memories.

On Mind Hacks, Heather Fishel cites the work of Dr. Jon Lieff and writes:

“Once an event occurs and time moves on, it becomes a part of your memory. Each time you recall that event and its details—smells, sounds, details, and so on—you’re not, in fact, remembering the original moment. Instead, you’re recalling the last time you remembered that memory.”

But it’s more than that. We tweak those memories to make better stories:

Fishel says:

“Wired writer Jonah Lehrer points out, human nature makes us love stories, and the more exciting and engaging a story is, the more we’ll want to share it. As a result, when we recount our memories both internally and to others, we ignore any facts that don’t suit the plot. Our minds allow us to toss aside any information that we dislike, replacing truth with pure fiction. Why? We simply want to fit in, and unless we change what we remember, our stories will suck.”

We will tweak our own memories so we don’t look dumb, so we fit in, so we tell a better story, and we usually don’t even realize that we’re doing it.  And sometimes we have totally false memories.

What is a false memory?

According to VeryWellMind, false memories

“are misremembered, distorted, or fabricated recollections of past events. Such memories can be trivial, such as mistakenly remembering where you put your car keys, but they can also be much more serious.”

The big time consequences of false memories are the stuff of novels and tv shows: false convictions, financial loss, lawsuits, children dying in heated, locked cars.

But it is also a smaller scale thing. You are sure you left your cell phone on the desk. It is not on the desk. It is on the table. You have to wonder how many poltergeist cases are rooted in false memories, right? You think you shut the closet door, but the closet door is open. You are positive you locked the door. The door is unlocked.

You think you saw Bigfoot when you were six, but did you really, Carrie?

Ahem.

I’m the first to admit that I’m no longer sure.

Verywellmind has three strategies culled from researchers to help deal with false memories, which we are quoting here.

Use imagery: Researchers have found that when people use imagery to create a visual representation of information, their memory for that information is better and less susceptible to false memories.10

Search your memory: Experts also suggest that selectively searching memory for mistakes and falsehoods can sometimes be helpful.11

Evaluate and corroborate memories: If you find a memory that you aren’t sure about, evaluating it based on your expectations and then collaborating it using other people’s recollections or other historical data can help verify or disprove it.11

But what’s really wild is that psychiatrists like Elizabeth Loftus have found that there’s a misinformation effect with memories. So, if you witness or experience an event and then talk about it, are questioned about it in a leading way, view tweets or news stories, or are exposed to the wrong information repeatedly? It can change your memory of that same event.

Novelists can use this to help develop plots for novels. Mystery writers do it all the time making a detective call out the inconsistency in a witnesses’ testimony, and sometimes in real life and novels people confess to a crime because of a false memory, believing they have committed a crime even though they haven’t.

But people can do this to each other too, as Fishel writes:

“Try lying to them in a different way: tell them they didn’t complete a task that they, in fact, did. For example, if your roommate can’t seem to understand that doors need to be locked when leaving home, point out the unlocked door every single time you leave. Do this repeatedly over time, and your roommate will start double-checking and questioning himself every time he leaves home. “Did I lock the door? Did I completely forget?”

What are the ethics here? Some people believe that this can be a force for good. But is controlling another person ever a force for good? It’s like gaslighting but tweaked, right? So, use this knowledge wisely, friends.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Only manipulate your humans for good.

LINKS WE REFERENCE

https://nypost.com/2018/09/27/scientists-discover-evil-people-share-a-dark-triad-of-traits/

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/weird-yellow-brick-road-discovered-at-bottom-of-the-ocean/ar-AAX4kJd

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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Are you really a couple if you don’t drink each other’s blood and how not to be overwhelmed

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Are you really a couple if you don’t drink each other’s blood and how not to be overwhelmed
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In our random thoughts we talk all about drinking each other’s blood. Thanks, Megan Fox and MGK.

Here’s the rest of the podcast though.

So, this is going to be a short podcast because we’re going to give you some super simple advice this week. Ready?

BLOW OFF YOUR PHONE

Your phone rings? You don’t recognize the phone number? Don’t answer it.

Seriously.

Every single time your phone rings and it’s not a number you know, it means it could be a spammer wasting your time.

More than that though, each of those calls in an interruption that you aren’t expecting and you aren’t wanting. Even if it’s someone awesome, you aren’t in a position to deal with that call to the best of your ability.

Make them leave a message.

If it’s important, they will.

CHECK OUR EMAILS TWO OR THREE TIMES A DAY, NOT AN HOUR

The same thing goes for email programs. Don’t check it all the time. It’s a distraction. Yes, sometimes the emails are super important, but most of the time it’s Texas Tamales telling you that you have only twenty-four hours left to get a fantastic deal that includes queso.

You have to prioritize your to-do list and your time. For that reason, don’t check that email first thing in the morning either. Get something else that is super important done.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Constant distractions make you lose your goal.


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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Simple Story Structure, Pokemon Oreos and Do You Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching You?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Simple Story Structure, Pokemon Oreos and Do You Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching You?
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There are lots of fancy and complicated ways to figure out story structure.

There’s Save the Cat, the Snowflake Method, the Five-Act, the Four-Act, the Six-Act.

But sometimes all of those complicated methods bog some of our writer brains down.

So today we’re going to give you a super quick guide to story structure for your novel. You ready?

Step One:

Name it. This does not have to be its forever name, just a way for you to find the computer file. It can be THE EVIL NOVEL THAT HAS NO NAME RIGHT NOW. That’s fine.

Step Two:

Find a hero. Name them. Put them in a jam or a bad place. Maybe they suck at making commitments? Maybe they need a promotion. Maybe they live under the stairs. Give them a problem.

Step Three:

Think about what has to occur in order for them to ovary up enough to try to deal with that problem.

Step Four:

Now decide what is going to change once that hero gets proactive and tries to deal with that problem or once they take action.

Step Five:

Are things different for our little hero now? How?

Step Six

Okay. Something else needs to happen so that the story takes a turn or a veer to the right or left. What makes it go in another direction?

Step Seven

Make things worse for our poor hero. How are they worse?

Step Eight

Okay. If this is a positive change arc where the hero ends up in a better place, what is it that inspires them to make a big effort and go for that win?

Step Nine

What is the big win (positive change arc) or the big loss (negative change arc)

There you go, how to figure out your novel’s basic structure in nine easy steps? Do you feel heroic, writer? You should.

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s okay to make it simple when it comes to story structure. It really is.

Dog Tip for Life

When your people turn your head and look at you and you realize you’ve been caught, it’s time to stop because then they just think you’re a creeper.

Resources

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/26/1040779728/pokemon-oreo-cookies-ebay-pikachu-mew

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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

What Not To Say To Your Wife

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever

I am not a writer by trade and I don’t have the grammar skills nor writing craft that many of you have. However, I am here now to give you some advice on how important the proper choice of words is. This is extremely important, not just in writing but in everyday life, so listen up!

Choose your words carefully! Use them in an appropriate manner to get your true and intended point across. The ramifications of not doing so can be very detrimental to your audience and sometimes even yourself.

Please allow me to give you a perfect example of one gargantuan blunder that I made just a few minutes ago.

First, a little backstory. Carrie has been sick for a week, maybe even a couple days more, depending upon when she actually admitted to not feeling a 100%. No, she does not have COVID, it’s more like a common cold with all of the accoutrements, runny nose, congestion, sore throat, tiredness and last night, a slight fever.

Now, I love my wife more than anything, ever! I have tried to take care of her and make sure that she has what she needs. I have been forcing her to work less than normal and rest throughout the day. Hell, last night I even made her chicken soup (from scratch) with leftover stuffing dumplings.

But all of that tenderness and affection can be destroyed in but a moment!

I will start with the point that I was trying to convey to my lovely wife as she sat in her office chair working, coughing, blowing her nose and generally looking miserable.

This is what I tried to say:

“My dearest, I am so incredibly sorry that you have been feeling so horribly for so long! It seems as though this cold will not go away as quickly as I was hoping and it literally breaks my heart every time that I gaze upon you beautiful face and see you so obviously feeling like crap. Is there anything that I can do for you right now?”

And this my friends is what I said.

“Aw, I hope you feel better soon/ I’m getting tired of looking at you and you looking like shit.”

Yep, even though it was said with the most love, tenderness, and empathy, my word choices still made it a little less than desirable. And it was most definitely not the message I was trying to send.

So, while you ruminate on these words of wisdom I am going to try to get my wife to speak to me again.

No worries, I am sure that we will be okay (because my lovely wife is incredibly forgiving) and I am sure that Carrie will be feeling better soon.

This is why I always say, “Love Your Way Through It!”

Peace,

Shaun

NEW BOOK ALERT!

INCHWORMS, the second book in the DUDE GOODFEATHER series is coming out September 1!

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

You can buy it here!

Dude, don’t nod. Four major writing mistakes that are easy to avoid

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dude, don't nod. Four major writing mistakes that are easy to avoid
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Here in the Land of Writing Advice, we try not to lay down too many edicts because edicts are prickly things, but we’re going to put out four quick bits of writing advice that make you look a little more cool.

Let’s get started.

Nodding in acknowledgement.

If you’re a writer and you write:

Carrie nodded in acknowledgement. “Yes,” she said. “I do want to someday ride a manatee.”

The reader/editor is going to think, “What the what?”

A lot of writers worry that the reader isn’t going to get it. They want to be helpful. But in that example up there, we have three ways the writer is telling us that Carrie is agreeing.

Carrie nodded.

In acknowledgement.

“Yes,” she said. “I do want …”

Trust your writing. Trust yourself, okay? And trust your reader.

HE THOUGHT TO HIMSELF

The same kind of thing is happening here.

Shaun thought to himself, “Self, I am a pretty sweet man.”

Unless your book is about telepathy or has telepathic characters (hopefully manatees), you’re always going to be thinking to yourself.

So just write:

Shaun thought, “I am a pretty sweet man.”

It’s versus its

Okay, whenever you have an apostrophe in the middle of a word it means one of two things:

There’s a letter missing and you’re smooshing two words together.

It’s showing possession.

It’s with the apostrophe means it is. It always means it is.

Its without the apostrophe means belonging to it.

So:

The werewolf ripped its tank top during the change and cried.

That one? No apostrophe in its.

The werewolf said it’s going down to J Crew to get a new tank.

That one? Apostrophe.

We’re versus were

Continuing on the apostrophe train, we’re and were.

We’re has an apostrophe that’s showing you that it really means we are. The apostrophe is standing in for the a in are. Oh, that sounds weird.

The were (w-e-r-e) is second person past tense singular, past tense plural, and past subjunctive of the verb “be”

So we wouldn’t say:

Hey. The werewolves we’re changing in J.Crew because they were raging out over the lack of pink tanks with tassels.

We’d say.

Hey. The werewolves were changing in J.Crew because they were raging out over the lack of pink tanks with tassels.

Similarly, we’d say:

We’re werewolves, man, and we demand tanks with tassels. Got it?

Not

Were werewolves, man, and we demand tanks with tassels. Got it?

Writing Tip of the Pod

Um. Everything we just said.

Dog Tip for Life

Live in your current paragraph.

Resources -Links we talk about!

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/06/28/australia-Nude-Aussie-sunbathers-who-fled-deer-fined-after-rescue-from-woods/1071624916281/

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/06/24/britain-RSPCA-king-cobra-plastic-toy-Workington-England/1231624552603/

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Being Swallowed by a Whale is So Bad Ass – Fear Setting and the Big Lie in Your Novel and Your Life

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Being Swallowed by a Whale is So Bad Ass - Fear Setting and the Big Lie in Your Novel and Your Life
/

A lot of writers get blocks. Sometimes those blocks have to do with story ideas, with the fear that their idea sucks, that they don’t have the writing chops to pull off a novel.

Sometimes those blocks have to do with worry that trolls will ridicule their story, nobody will read it, everyone will hate it.

Sometimes those blocks have to do with the fear of typos, of not being perfect.

But they all have to do with fear.

As a writing coach, I have to talk to a lot of writers about their blocks and their fears. And recently, I realized that adopting Tim Ferriss’s ‘fear setting’ approach could help a ton of the writers-students that I love so much.

Goals are brilliant, Ferris says. Resolutions? Fantastic.

But nothing happens with those goals and resolutions if you are too afraid to make the steps.

So he delves into those fears and explores them and determines the potential and the risk.

That’s what you need to do with your writing (and your life).

Ferris’s process is quite refined and quite simple. We have links in the podcast notes on carriejonesbooks.blog so that you can find them in Ferris’s own extended version. He also has a TedTalk about them.

But it begins like this:“Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can—or need—to make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1–10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?

Next, think about what you could do to fix it if that worst-case scenario happens. Write it down. Was it not quite as hard as your fear made you think it would be?

Next what are the benefits, the potential, the outcomes in forever ways and transient ways of all those scenarios and possibilities? Would you be more confident? Happier? Would you have more money? Make a scale of 1-10 and rate those outcomes.

He asks,

What are you putting off out of fear? Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be—it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it. I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous business people for advice.

And how is this hurting you? By not doing something because of your fear how are you hurting yourself? Inaction also has a cost. It’s just a cost that seems easier because it doesn’t seem to rely on as much choice.

Ferris has some fantastic slides from his TedTalk that relate to this, too.

A lot of us who write novels, talk about the big lie that dominates our main character’s life, the wrong belief that dictates and holds the character back.

Fear is our big lie in the story of our lives.

All of us have our own big lie or lies. We worry so much about what might go wrong that we are afraid to embrace what might go right. We live so much in our heads that we fail to live in our world. We allow the fear, the lie, to hold us down. Our fear is also a symptom of our lie.

It’s good to see how that’s holding you back. Just like we want the characters in our novels to have transition arcs and evolve, so should we, right?

Dog Tip for Life

Don’t let your fear control your life.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Use the big lie and your characters’ fears to show their transition throughout the story.

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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

RESOURCES AND LINKS NOT LINKED ABOVE.

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Mysterious-black-substance-on-Wells-Beach-is-many-16235442.php

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Dog-ejected-from-vehicle-in-Idaho-crash-found-16237347.php

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/2021/06/11/humpback-whale-catches-michael-packard-lobster-driver-mouth-proviencetown-cape-cod/7653838002/

Writing What You Know is B.S.

Nobody wants to read every single author’s autobiography masquerading as fiction.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Writing What You Know is B.S.
/

Don’t Fall for the Write What You Know BS

So, I just realized that we don’t have the word WRITING in our podcast, which makes us not niche enough and is a total branding f-up.

Oops.

A little too late now.

Anyway, our concept is that we’re just these random married people who give writing tips and life tips via the filter of our two adorable rescue dogs and our own quirky weirdness.

We figured if people found us? So be it.

But if we had done a tiny bit of research we would have probably named the podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN WRITERS or something to get the damn writing word in here.

There’s a weird danger of not thinking quite enough about who your listeners are and this is true for your readers, too, right? But there’s also a weird danger in taking writing advice like WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW and think it’s an edict that Shaun can only write about tall, white, CIS, ex-cops from Florida who now live in Maine or that Carrie can only write about short, quirky authors from New Hampshire who have no clue who they really are.

So, we’re going to break down that phrase for you.

Write what you know doesn’t mean only write about someone exactly like yourself.

Write what you know means:

  1. Write about settings that you can accurately describe well so readers can feel them and experience them, too.
  2. Write dialogue that you can hear in your head coming from characters who have different speech patterns and mannerisms.
  3. Write about emotions that you feel or can understand.

If I only wrote what I knew, I’d never write a book about pixies almost causing an apocalypse or a cheerleader who has alien DNA or murder mysteries.

Nobody wants to read every single author’s autobiography masquerading as fiction.

And then there’s the more philosophical aspect going on. How do we write what we know when we aren’t sure what it is that we know? What is it to know? Maybe a lot of us writers write in order to know. Similarly, maybe a lot of us humans and dogs live in order to know.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Immerse yourself in the details, emotion, and setting of the story so that the reader can trust the world that you’ve created.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t limit what you know. Move beyond your local fire hydrant and smell the world.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

DON’T STEAL ADULT TOYS THREE BIG TIPS FOR WRITING AND LIFE

The earlier you put the conflict, the more invested your reader gets

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
DON'T STEAL ADULT TOYS THREE BIG TIPS FOR WRITING AND LIFE
/

We’re keeping it simple this week, my friends, with three big tips to write better novels and being a better human.

Make your stories sexy and accurate.

You can’t write a book that takes place in the south and not write ‘y’all’ or ‘bless your heart.’

You can’t write a book that takes place in the south and not have sugar in iced tea.

Similarly, you can’t write a book in New England in the winter and not have the character’s breath puff out into the cold air.

Your stories lose impact if you fail to be concise and sharp.

Your stories lose impact if your readers think, “WTF is this? There are no kangaroos in Maine.”

So, know your people. Know your setting.

And this goes for life too. If you keep buying your wife red roses and she’s told you a bunch of times that she doesn’t like roses, she likes tulips and bright flowers because roses remind her of death?

Yeah, that’s not good.

If you’re handing out flyers in a high school to promote your Gram and you don’t look like you’re in high school? Not going to go well.

If you leave your halloween prop out in May? Not going to go well.

Listen. Learn the details. Be appropriate, my friends.

Have a f-ing point.

A story should have a damn theme. It’s what you want to say in the story. It reflects your personal beliefs, your experiences.

What’s a theme? According to MasterClass,

“A literary theme is the main idea or underlying meaning a writer explores in a novel, short story, or other literary work. The theme of a story can be conveyed using characters, setting, dialogue, plot, or a combination of all of these elements.”

So, your life should have a theme, too.  What is your life’s theme?

Redemption? Love? Courage? Revenge? Good vs evil? Perseverance?

Pick one and give your life some meaning.

If it gives your life meaning to steal someone else’s adult toys for years and years (See the link) just know that this is illegal and stuff.

Don’t jump from one head to another.

Readers want to get attached to your narrator. You don’t want to jump around from one character to another. That’s how the reader gets confused and detached and doesn’t want to follow the story any longer.

So, life is like that, too. Yeah, sometimes it’s frustrating hanging with one person, but you hop around too much? You might get a disease. Make your hopping purposeful.

BONUS TIP FOR WRITING NOT FOR LIFE.

Put the damn conflict in there early.

In real life, it’s pretty nice to not have drama or conflict all the time. It allows us to blossom and to grow. And it’s easy to get addicted to the energy of drama and try to incite it for attention.

But peeps, that’s not the kind of attention you want. Negative attention kind of sucks. You want the positive kind.

However, in stories, the earlier you put the conflict, the more invested your reader gets. They want to know what happens. Readers (and people) are a bit addicted to conflict and drama and you want to put that on the page.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Care enough to make your settings accurate, put in the conflict early, have a point and don’t hop around from character to character.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Sometimes things don’t make sense. Figure them out. Investigate the stuff that doesn’t make sense because that’s how you learn and grow and understand things beyond you and your bubble of experience.

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.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

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