Getting Naked: How To Be Unstoppable: BE BRAVE FRIDAY

A lot of people ask me how I get so much done. And a lot of other people think that I don’t do anything during the day at all, which is pretty funny, honestly. Those people are mostly my surviving relatives.

When I was in seventh grade, I didn’t want to shovel and one of my siblings said I was lazy. They said the same thing when I quit my job at fourteen when I was mugged. It had an impact. But more on them than on me. And that’s one of the reasons why I firmly believe we can never let other people define us. Only we get to define us.

But despite that sibling’s belief about me, I pretty much work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day at a minimum. Sometimes I don’t stop until 10 p.m. That’s when I teach at the Writing Barn on Tuesdays.

To be fair, I do the Pomodoro method, which helps me survive.

My average week involves:

  • reading and editing 1,000 pages of other people’s writing,
  • writing about 100-200 pages of feedback for writers,
  • writing five poems and posting them on Medium,
  • creating 3-4 blog posts here,
  • co-hosting, editing, writing two podcasts, even though my voice is the biggest thing I am uptight about thanks to bullying,
  • writing about 5,000-10,000 words of my own stories,
  • sharing chapters as I write them (on one story in progress) on my Patreon,
  • sharing weekday quotes from my dogs and cats on social media,
  • deleting a lot of junk mail. 🙂

It can be a lot and I tend to get burned out every November/December. The holidays don’t help because I suffer that ‘mom holiday syndrome’ where I have 8,000 traditions and food and worries. And then I revive and get psyched to do more.

But here’s the truth: I kind of love it.

I don’t like being inactive. I don’t like stopping. And I use my free time (when I have some) to be with the people and animals I love.

It’s all pretty cool. And I’m lucky.

Now it’s time to be brave, get naked, and be real.

I’m so driven because I live a life where I’m currently the primary wage earner, and I am terrified of not being able to support my family, of losing my house, of not being able to feed and clothe everyone.

As the much youngest child (fourteen years), after my stepfather died, my mom raised me alone for most of my life and I remember what it was like to tell bill collectors she wasn’t home, to eat commodity cheese, to feel guilty to need things, to listen to her cry about money, to sell the house my dad built so we could live in one that was cheaper and had less property taxes. She ended up having to sell that one too.

That fear has driven me for a long time. And there was a short time in my adult life when I slept in the car in the winter in coastal Maine because I was too afraid of sleeping with my husband.

Hot tip: Big, furry dogs are good at keeping you warm.

But getting everything done is only partly about my fear. It’s also about habits.

Tim Ferris writes:

“The life you want is built on habits. There’s no way around it. What you do consistently will determine who you become in 5 years. What I’ve realized is the hard part isn’t habits. No.

“The hard part is habit maintenance.

When tragedy or bullsh*t strikes the temptation to give up your best habits for a day, week, month, or year is tempting.

“The days you don’t want to do your habits are the days you must. The trick isn’t to become a navy seal and develop a mind like a fortress. All you have to do is show up for 15 minutes and reinforce the habit on a bad day.

Habits maintain the belief of who you seek to become.

That’s how you become unstoppable. You strip yourself naked, show your fear, face it slowly or in big lumps, do the things you want to do so you can become who you want to be, and keep going and going and going.

But it’s not the only fear that drives me to have those habits and to try so desperately to evolve.

I’m also a little afraid of stopping.

I’m also a little afraid of having people realize how much I actually love writing my own stories, how invested in them I am, how I worry that they will vanish into obscurity, how I worry someday that I won’t get to share those worlds I make up at all.

Fear can lead to paralysis.

I’ve seen that before with my sweet mom, with a lot of friends that I love, and writers that I meet, and I know that I can’t let that fear stop me though, just like I hope you won’t let your fears stop you.

To get what you want, you have to journey into places that you haven’t been before and that can be scary sometimes.

To get what you want, you have to create the habits and do the work and that can be tiring sometimes (and scary too).

To get what you want, you have to be willing to face the discomfort, the fear, the yearning and that can be absolutely terrifying sometimes.

Is it worth it? Hell yeah. I think it is.

Ferris writes in that same article:

Success is the willingness to feel vulnerable

Many things in life make you feel vulnerable and like you want to curl up into a ball:

Saying no

Presenting a new idea

The prospect of marriage

Having kids

Accepting failure

Starting a new project

Getting a new job

Challenging leaders

Telling it how it is on social media

If you can’t lean into these vulnerable situations, you live life at a massively lower level. You avoid discomfort. Eventually you no longer feel like yourself anymore. It doesn’t make sense.

We all have to lean in and lean in hard if we want to grow. We have to face the discomfort and anxiety that greets us and embrace that Nike slogan and just do it.

Next year, I hope to continue doing and expanding and doing things I’m afraid of:

  1. Start another podcast.
  2. Feature more author interviews though they make me nervous.
  3. Have a writing retreat here in Maine if COVID chills out. Let me know if you’re interested.
  4. Write more poems even though they make me feel naked and exposed.
  5. Write more books including a book of my animals’ inspirations.
  6. Write some really different stuff under a pen name.
  7. Keep on fighting my fears.
  8. Maybe start a local news blog.

So, thank you for helping me to keep on keeping on being a writer, a podcaster, an editor, a writing coach. Thank you for helping me keep bill collectors away and feeding my family. I appreciate it and you so much.

What habits do you have? What habits do you want?

What fear is holding you back?

My little, creepy book baby is out in the world because who doesn’t want sad, quirky, horror with some romantic bits for the holiday season?

It’s a young adult novel (upper) called WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK, please buy it!

It’s super fun.

Leaning Into Fear in 2020

We all have times in our lives when fear gets the best of us, when we don’t know what’s going on in ourselves or in our world. Our thinking becomes catastrophic and everyone is suddenly an expert in the Book of Revelations and apocalypse horsemen.

That’s no way to live. Not even in winter in 2020.

Marguerite Duras wrote in her novel The Lover that “the art of seeing has to be learned.” That’s true for bravery, too. 

This is my year of leaning in or rather it’s my life of leaning in, of going right at the things that I’m most afraid of. 

I grew up in a house where fear was a normal state of being. My mom was afraid of everything, closed spaces, open spaces, heights, deep water, birds, spiders, dead animals, driving over a bridge, driving into a city, even cats eventually became terrifying to her. Jump scares happened daily and would be caused just by me walking into a room.

My older brother and sister inherited her fears. My sister was afraid of grass when she was little. She got over that, thankfully, but she’s still afraid of a lot. My brother is too. Birds make them nervous, heights, closed in spaces, so many things. 

“You are not like me,” Mom said once when I was in fifth grade after jumping off the roof of our garage. “Or like the rest of us. You’re brave.” 

I thought that maybe fear was a part of our DNA, our family. I thought it might be some kind of inherited disease that I could avoid by being fierce. 

But I had it too. The fear. I just hid it better, fought it. At slumber parties when there would be some creaking radiator that all the fourth-grade girls would be 100 % sure was either a possessed clown doll with an axe or a possessed clown human with a machete and I would grab the closest weapon (usually a flashlight) and yell, “Come on! We have to face our fears!” We’d all grab hands and I’d march them off towards the source of the sound. We’d hold hands for so long. We’d be praying. We’d be shaking. But we always moved forward, holding each other up as we walked towards our terrors. We never met any possessed things. 

“You’re so brave,” my friends would say because I was always the one in front, the one who’d be first to die via possessed clown doll, I guess. “So brave.” 

I’m not. It’s just that we live, if we are to live at all, in a world full of noises, and fears, and possibilities for harm, violence, pain. “I don’t know what this world is coming to,” a man said to me recently in the grocery store parking lot, “but I mourn for us.” 

He reminded me of my dad, plumber’s smile pants, kind smile and eyes full of worry. Cracked skin on his fingers from hard work and cold, dry air.

I live in on a large island in Maine. In the winter, our tourist community loses most of its people and color. Wind sweeps through winter-boarded restaurants. People meet up at the grocery store. People start going to our grocery store every day just to see other people. The world is white and gray and brown. The only color is the sky and an occasional scarf. Even the most of the people dress in navy blue, white, black, and gray.

And this is when I always feel the most scared, the most trapped, when the sun is a distant memory and warmth has been swept away on currents to much warmer places where the lights stream down. Every world event, every life event, every choice feels more dangerous and I feel more vulnerable, less tethered to bravery. 

We all have times in our lives when fear gets the best of us, when we don’t know what’s going on in ourselves or in our world. Our thinking becomes catastrophic and everyone is suddenly an expert in the Book of Revelations and apocalypse horsemen. 

That’s no way to live. Not even in winter in 2020. 

My mother never had the life she wanted, never visited England, never explored the world and became a teacher, never swam with manatees or dolphins, because she was too afraid. When the events of our lives and the world combine to feel catastrophic, we don’t know if there is a design to it or chaos, but we can know what our reaction is to it. We can lean into the fear and hold up signs saying THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING or we can lean the other way, towards courage and possibility. We can hold up signs saying, HOW DO WE MAKE THIS WORLD BETTER? Yes, even if there is only a day or two left of this world, we can still try to make our lives and the lives of others better. 

We can breathe in, take a look, and ask ourselves, “What is happening here?” We can react out of courage, hold each other’s hands and investigate the noises. 

Looking into the darkness and illuminating it,  looking into the light where the ugly truths are illuminated? Both can be terrifying. But to move forward, to evolve as people, or society or as a species, that’s exactly what we have to do. We have to face the truths illuminated, the darkness of our fears. We have to hold hands and face our fears, lean into them, and see not just what they are, but what they reflect about us. Call attention to what we fear, what we see, what we do, because that is the only true way to fight the things that have to be fought. 

Lean in.

Face your fears. 

All day, every day. 

Bravery like seeing – truly seeing the world –  has to be practiced. You stagger a bit in the beginning, but then your own bravery can shock you, becoming a total surprise. And instead of seeking to have it, you’ve just become it. Brave. 

Doggy Thought For Monday

Why hello.
Look at you, getting out of bed and into the world, looking so shiny.
I’m proud of you. Let’s go face our fears, be vulnerable and strong, breathe in all the moments.
You’ve got this Monday & this week.
Let’s do it. Let’s adventure!

Gabby the Dog


I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? 

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

I have a new book coming out!

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


This week’s writing podcast.


The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.


The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”


My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!


It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods



Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

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