Writing Tip Wednesday: Defying Jerks’ Expectations and Going After Your Dreams

A long time ago there was a woman on one of those singing competition shows and she was not what society would call good looking.

Because of her looks and age, people expected her to suck. This was also because she did some weird thing with her hips before she sang. Prior to her tryout, she said she’d always wanted to be a professional singer, to sing in front of a super big audience. People snickered.

They truly snickered.

I’m sure she could hear them.

But then she sang.

She did not suck.

People cried instead of snickering.

And I totally wanted to be her. I wanted to be the one singing and making people gasp and cry and stand on their knees all because of my voice and my talent. I wanted to be the one who defied their expectations.

Singing like that woman? That’s not a dream I’ll ever get. 

First off, I was never even in show choir. And I have never auditioned for a televised talent competition. I haven’t even done karaoke because I get super social anxiety about those things. Plus, stage fright.  

But I was in this cheesy song and dance company once.

IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING

But let me say: I was paid.

So, I think this counts as being a professional singer, right?  *clears throat* Of course, we played places like Chuck E’ Cheeses or the Masonic temple in Manchester, NH.  

I am happy to say no pizza was thrown on me during the Chuck E’ Cheese performance.

Sarah Silverman was also in the group. So was Bridget Walsh, the third national-touring ANNIE! I was totally out classed. I never had one of those big show-stopping solos. 

I also never got to perform with a dog like Bridget did in ANNIE. ;(

I don’t think I ever will perform with a dog or have a show-stopping solo.

I kind of gave up on that dream.

Other Dreams

When I was little, I dreamt that I’d find Bigfoot. I dreamt that I’d write books, change the world for better, would have art in museums.

One of my teachers told me that I’d never get any dreams because my voice was so hideous that people would never take me seriously.

My own sweet mom told me that people in our family are incapable of making art, let alone museum-worthy art.

Society told me (and keeps telling me) that you can’t make the world better.

So many dreams…

I never gave up on my dream of writing.

I am still working on that one. Someday, I want to write in a way that people sing. I want people to gasp and feel and laugh and be on that journey with me, because of my words. Even though I’ve been a New York Times bestseller, there are moments when I feel like that dream is impossible. I keep plugging along though, trying to ignore that teacher’s voice in my ear, telling me that my very essence, my voice, will make people never pay attention, take me seriously, make them snicker instead of applaud.

A lot of times I work with other writers who are so close to giving up on their dreams even though they are so talented, and have great stories and craft and it makes me so worried and it makes my heart hurt to think of them giving up.

Dreams matter. Hard work matters. Persistence matters. Your story matters.

Do you have dreams? Are you still going for them? Are you feeling unmotivated? If so think about the lady who people snickered at and how her talent made them cry. If so, you can even think about me.

I promise, I’ll be thinking about you.

Writing News

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July 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! 

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


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!

ART

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_0393-2.jpeg

You can buy some of my art. I paint to help inform my stories and some of the prints are available now. There will be more soon. You can check it out here. 

Quick Writing Tip

Advertisements

Choosing Love in Times of Hate

Sometimes we go through our lives, putting memories of who we used to be into boxes. I am no longer a fourth-grader desperately searching for Big Foot, hiding in the closet at night, obsessed with singing and Doctor Who and trees. And those pieces of who we used to be become blurry pictures, filtered-too-much images of what we once loved and once made us breathe.

Moments pass and go, but certain universals? They stay.

One of those universals is love. And I’m constantly reminded by that in times of hate.

Pride in Each other

Carlos Itzab, the principal of the Chen Chow School in Belize is proud of Mayra. 

It isn’t because she smiles a lot or that she’s well behaved, but shy.

It’s because she’s smart, very smart. Carlos opens Mayra’s spelling notebook and proudly displays her writing to the American Rotarians from Bar Harbor/MDI Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Ellsworth,Maine who are assembled around her, putting together her new wheelchair while her classmates watch.

“Her writing is perfect,” he says, standing straighter, smiling.

Shelly Falk, incoming president of the Rotary Club of Corozal agrees. “It is perfect.” 

“She is very good. Her grammar is so good,” Carlos’ voice becomes a whisper, “so much better than the others.”

Helping Each other

The other students in Mayra’s standard one (equivalent to U.S. grade three) don’t mind that Mayra is so smart. They seem proud of her too. Because she has issues with both her arms and legs, they volunteer to sharpen her pencils for her, to help her in a multitude of ways, every single day.

She helps them too. She helps them write better.

“The children take care of each other,” Carlos says. “It warms your heart, you know?” 

The local club in Belize has also helped the school with its feeding program and other things such as providing picnic tables. But today, it is all about Mayra who is getting her new wheelchair. It is about Mayra who is too shy to look up much of the time until after I show her the picture I took of her with my camera. Then she is all smiles. 

Sometimes when you are very smart, it’s hard to smile. Sometimes when you are very young, it’s hard to trust. And sometimes the best smiles are the ones that aren’t easy, but the ones that are earned. 

Mayra’s smiles are like that. 

Smiles are only moments, aren’t they? But they are moments of connection where friendships and understanding are made. Sometimes those connections fade like all memories and moments. But sometimes they last and when they do?

That’s what makes you choose love in a time of hate.

That’s what makes you believe in magic and goodness again. Even when the memory of who you once were fades like Bigfoot hunts and tree obsessions. It is a memory that stays inside of you, that longing for connection and good.

Choose good.

Details

The Rotary Club of Corozal was in charge of the distribution of wheelchairs in its area. The distribution throughout Belize was heavily helped by the Rotary Club of Belize. Members of the Bar Harbor/MDI Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Ellsworth, Maine raised money to fund the wheelchairs through the Canadian Wheelchair Association and traveled to Belize to help fit, size, and distribute the chairs.

Writing News

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July 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! 

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. Image

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


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!

ART

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_0393-2-963x1024.jpeg

You can buy some of my art. I paint to help inform my stories and some of the prints are available now. There will be more soon. You can check it out here. 

Lambs Growing On Trees, Man. Write Your Truths Because Other Truths Change

Science isn’t always right.

I know! Shocker.

Once, some scientists had this theory about the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. They truly believed that the lamb grew on a tree.

To be fair, it was the Middle Ages in Europe and things were kind of like America right now. People had no clue about stuff, but they pretended to.

Anyway, according to Ripley’s Believe it Or Not,

There were believed to be two distinct varieties of Vegetable Lamb: a bizarre plant that produced tiny lambs inside pods, and an equally-bizarre hybrid creature that consisted of a whole, full-sized lamb, which lived suspended from the ground by a small stem! 

Chris Littlechild, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not

People believed this for centuries, right? Centuries.

What does this have to do with writing? When we write, we bring our pasts, our systems of belief and it ends up on our pages. Our work reflects our society and it reflects our own morality and beliefs. To be a good writer, we have to know what our truths are but also be willing to be challenged about them.

Writing is a communication, a social contract between the writer and the reader. We’re asking our readers to share our story, but also more subconsciously, to hear about our world views and thoughts. We’re inviting them in.

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s good for us to look at our own beliefs and morality occasionally. What do we believe in? Why do we think that’s right or true? How is that showing up in our stories?

Dog Tip For Life

Dogs truths are simple. Love is good. Food is good. Sleep is good. Squirrels are evil. Don’t be afraid to gel your beliefs down into simplicity.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July 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! 

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

Lambs Growing On Trees, Man. Write Your Truths Because Other Truths Change

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:04
 
1X
 

My YA Fantasy – THE LAST GODS

I’m Carrie Jones, quirky Maine Author, and I want to bring more of my stories out into the world. Most of you who read my blog know that.

That’s what I want. That’s who I am. Making stories and the art to go with them is my favorite thing ever. Even though I’ve been a New York Times-bestselling and internationally bestselling author, the publishing world is slow. The self-publishing world is scary and what I crave is to get to work with my friends and readers in a more constant, interactive way. 

Creating stories and reading them via podcasts and sharing them, my writing wisdom, and my art is a dream. I love doing it. With your help, I can bring stories into the world more often AND pay my health insurance, which is a big deal to me because I have epilepsy. 

The Last Gods is only available on Patreon

The Last Gods

Ericha’s spent her entire high school career taking care of her sick mom, their horses, and making sure that she’s interesting and perfect enough to get out of their small Maine town and into Harvard. 

She risks it all to save an injured deer outside her high school – a major break in the school’s rules – and starts a chain of events that puts her and her friends on the radar of some old gods, ready to battle last time and make the world their own, for good.

Read it only on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/carriejones 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HEREthat explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

What I’ll Use the Money For

Hosting for the podcast and the website. I need a decent hosting plan to support the podcast and blog so it doesn’t crash when it gets busy. This is horrifying when it happens.
MailChimp. The service I use to email posts out to the subscription list. This fee grows as the email list grows. 

Adobe suite.This costs a ridiculous amount of money every year, but it has great tools for creators and so… I pay for it.

Supplies. Art costs money. WHY? It is one of the great wrongs of the universe that a tube of oil paint costs so darn much. Weird fact about me (One of many): I’m a writer who needs to paint in order to write. 

Me. I really need health insurance. I am living in a terrified state that I’ll have a seizure someday and bash something or break something, plus I need to continue to eat food, I guess, and feed the dogs and the cat and the gecko. 

Better Podcast Equipment. We need one of those windscreens for the microphone and a pop filter because our b’s and p’s are popping. Also, we’d like to expand into video and for that we need a drone.

The Levels Available – SO MANY CHOICES!

HEAR MY BOOK BABY

$1 or more per month 

What is this magical tier? For it, you’ll hear me reading the podcast of my unpublished books, one chapter a week as well as patron-only posts. 

Yes, you have to listen to my goofy voice reading the book, but you get to be a part of it. You’ll get some downloads of adorable dogs being motivational and be a part of the community. And it’s a community where your voice is just as important as someone who donates more than $1 a month. 

So, we’ll send you a link and if you want to you can be part of the ‘inner confidant’ email list of awesome people who I email when I need help or suggestions. Or you can just let us know when I’m  being too naughty or talking about dogs too much.  

And you’ll get a special, magical, ad-free podcast every month where I talk about writing things and life things and be a dork. 

So, for $1 you get to support a NYT-bestselling dork and hear a cool story that the rest of the world doesn’t get to hear. JOIN $1 TIER

READ MY BOOK BABY

$3 or more per month 

Every month, I’ll email you a pdf of all the chapters that I’ve read on the podcast so far.  Yep, words written down into story chapters. How cool is that? 

Honestly, you are an angel and this might make me get all verklempt and cry. But here, you get to be a part of the patron-only feed. We hang there. 

(Plus all previous rewards)JOIN $3 TIER

HOLD ON! SO MANY BOOK BABIES

$5 or more per month 

RANDOM SURPRISE IN SNAILMAIL, 

EARLY PODCASTS, and an AWESOME BOOK RAFFLE 

What the what? 

We’re talking serious money here and you are basically sacrificing a cup of monthly store-bought coffee and that’s a big deal to me. Thank you so much. 

This means you’ll get a random surprise (probably art) in the regular mail (if you’re cool with giving me your mailing address) and be entered into the monthly FREE ALREADY PUBLISHED BOOK RAFFLE where you get a signed book. 

So, here you’ll also get every episode of the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE (my other podcast)  podcast a day early and with no poopy ads. 

Plus all previous rewards, obviously. 🙂 JOIN $5 TIER

REAL BOOK IN THE MAIL, BABY

$10 or more per month 

THANK YOU’S EVERWHERE AND RANDOM MAILED SUPRISES AND A BOOK (In real-printed form)

Wait. This is a really big deal. This makes a huge difference to me and my life and I want to tell you how big a deal it is. 

It is a big (insert strong adjective of your choice) deal. 

So, you obviously get all previous rewards, plus, you’re named in the back of my next traditionally-published bookafter IN THE WOODS (as a thank you for helping me survive); your name in the thank you section of all podcasts after you start supporting, random occasional surprises in the mail. 

And if you support me at this level for 12 months, I’ll send you a free, signed book (of mine) in the mail. JOIN $10 TIER

MONTHLY HANG-OUT, BABY and ORIGINAL ART

$25 or more per month

Are you an investment banker? Heiress? Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Here, you’re invited to a monthly ZOOM hangout where you get to hang out with me (or us) and we’ll chat about whatever you all want and maybe give you a random tour about some aspect of our life. You know you want to see the basement where I make art. The lawn where the dogs poop? 

And you after two months, you can also opt-in to receive a piece of art (the physical kind) that I’ll mail to you.  Plus, all the previous rewards, obviously. JOIN $25 TIER

Virtual Coaching

$100 or more per month 

Cough. This is serious money here. Every episode you get a shout-out and written credit at my website. You have saved my family. We will drink apple cider in your honor! Okay, Shaun will drink Bud Lite. 

You get a half hour of monthly feedback on a private video chat every month (or written feedback if you are shy) if you send me 20 pages of your writing. I’m actually a kick-butt writing mentor. Who knew? You can check out the testimonials on my website. Plus, all the other rewards, obviously. 

And finally, at the end of every podcast, we’ll read your personal sponsorship or dedication message. 

Plus all the previous benefits! JOIN $100 TIER


Dealing With Failures, Quick Tips, Part Three

About 10 days ago, I posted on Facebook (Yes. I am still on Facebook. Don’t judge) about feeling like a failure.

It wasn’t a big depression or anything clinical, although a lot of people thought it was. It was more like a transitory moment caused by a career thing.

I actually bounce back pretty quickly from this stuff (the tiny glitches in life), but I know that everyone doesn’t and when I feel badly – Whew. I do feeling badly really well.

IMG_4811

Sparty Dog is my objective correlative here. 

One of the ways I deal with my own suckitude and my own sadness is that I try to figure out how to use my experience to help other people. I think my theory is, “If you are going to feel bad, do it for the better good.”

So, I posted about it. And I asked for tips about how people deal with those moments in their own lives, when they feel like they suck, like they are on the wrong path, when they are down.

So many people helped. So many people were beautifully willing to offer advice, and moments of their own lives.

It was awe inspiring honestly because they were just doing that because they wanted to help.

That’s a big deal.

They wanted to help.

They took the time to think and type and respond.

We are constantly barraged by bad news, by evil deeds, by acts that lack humanity and civility, and knowing about these things, these flaws in our society is important. But it’s also important to remember that so many people commit acts of kindness every day.

Always,  I’ve posted some of their advice here and here.

I’ve also posted it on our podcast and here.

But here are some more tidbits and advice and tips on how to feel better when you are having some down moments.

Just put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on. Help somebody else to.get out of your own smog. Pray. Ask for help and accept it gratefully. Reciprocate when you can. Don’t but telemarketed travel packages. (Trust me on this one.) Jeanne Bracken

My company uses the terms “fail forward” that I really enjoy. It’s essentially saying it’s okay to fail. We all do it. But you should try to fail forward and learn from your mistakes. Move past it by addressing it, resolving it and growing as an individual. – Michelle Ivall

And Matt Baya shared this fantastic infographic that he found on line.

35050982_10156569606754874_9162867252008058880_n

Failing is hard. We try to remember that it’s about the journey, about the joy of doing and existing and not about outside metrics of what it is to have ‘success,’ but sometimes even the most balanced of us falter. That’s okay. You’re okay.

 

Writing News

I’m super excited about the upcoming TIME STOPPERS book coming out this August.

This middle grade fantasy series happens in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine and it’s all about friendship and magic and kids saving their magical town.

Timestoppers3_005

CARRIE’S BOOKS

For a complete round-up of my 16-or-so books, check out her website.

And if you just want to support a writer, please buy one of those books, or leave a review on a site like Amazon. Those reviews help. It’s all some weird marketing algorhthym from hell, basically.

Moe Berg The Spy Who Played Baseball
Moe Berg

OUR PODCAST DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness 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 will be a new episode tomorrow! Yay!

Writing Coach

Carrie offers solo writing coach services, but she’s also teaching a Write! Submit! Support! six-month class online via the Writing Barn in Austin. For details about that class, check out this link. For more about Carrie’s individual coaching, click here.