I Don’t Understand Lipstick Tubes

Back before COVID-19, I went to a board meeting on a Monday night for a local non-profit.

The people sitting around the table are passing around a tube of lipstick. Full disclosure: I don’t wear lipstick. Ever. The last time I wore lipstick it was for a play. And someone else put it on me.

Anyways, there’s this piece of paper inside where the lipstick would go and it has the nonprofit’s helpline number and info on it.

The point is that a guy wouldn’t see it hidden in the lipstick, wouldn’t think to look for this kind of info in a woman’s lipstick if he were ransacking her things.

He might not be able to even get the lipstick open, they explained.

I’m not sure that’s terribly accurate in these times, but that was the point. The point was that a woman in danger would know what to do with that lipstick tube and a man wouldn’t.

So the faux lipstick gets to me and I can’t get the paper out. I turn it upside down. I stick in my finger and try to pull it out. Nothing works. Then I realize everyone is staring at me.

The woman next to me takes it:
 Here, Carrie let me try.

She then twists the bottom, which is what you are supposed to do with lip stick!!!!!

I make this total OMG face and then cover my eyes.

People laugh.

She gets all apologetic and hands me the lipstick: Here.

Me:

Me (Hiding):

Me:
 Thank you.

People continue to laugh.

Then finally the one man in the room goes: I wouldn’t have known to do that either.

Me: Yes, but I’m a woman.

Sigh.

You can tell I’m more of a lip gloss girl.

But also, the point is that gender roles don’t always apply. And that’s okay. It’s okay if you’re a man who can figure out how to work a lipstick tube and that I’m a woman who can’t.

We make assumptions about people according to our demographics (race, religion, age, gender, sexuality, height, bodies, you name it) all the time.

But those assumptions aren’t always going to be right and they shouldn’t be. Our ability to comply (or not) to assumptions and culturally imposed norms doesn’t make us any more or less of who we are–cool human beings. That’s part of the beauty of difference and diversity and individualism.

I hope you find a lot of beauty today in these horrific times.

I hope you get to be the person you are.


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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click 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 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


Check out our latest episode about writing platforms here.

Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms
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In our random thought of the podcast, which is not transcribed here, Shaun gets a bit mad at political things. If you’re not into that, you might want to skip to the eight-minute mark.

Okay, first things first. What is a writing platform?

An author’s platform is basically just the author’s presence on the web. Your website. Your TikTok, your Facebook, your Twitter, your Instagram, your podcast, your blog.

Unlike Coke or Spanx, your platform isn’t faceless. It’s all about you, the writer. As the foundation of your brand, you have to figure out what it is that you want to do and achieve.

Most writers want to tell stories.

That’s their goal.

So as an author your platform is going to be about how to tell your stories and how you tell your story, especially the story of you, the writer.

I’ve failed at this a lot because I’ve historically not been into talking about writing. I prefer to just write, but that put me in a weird little vacuum, a void.

A lot of writers worrying about their platform get started with a mission statement.


WHAT IS A MISSION STATEMENT.

According to Tim Berry (link on the podcast notes),

“A mission statement is a simple statement that explains your company’s goals. It’s a summary of what your company does for its customers, employees, and owners. It explains how you do what you do. And, it focuses on why your company does what it does. Some of the best mission statements also extend themselves to include fourth and fifth dimensions: what the company does for its community, and for the world.”

And Blake Stockton wrote:

“A mission statement is a short, meaningful sentence (or several sentences) that summarizes the purpose that drives your business. A good mission statement says why you do what you do.” 

It’s kind of a weird existential thing on some level because you’re basically asking WHO AM I and WHY DO I EXIST?

There are also people who absolutely believe that a mission statement should be one short sentence without a lot of fluff.

Here are some examples taken from Blake’s blog, which is linked in the notes:

Once you have a mission statement, you think about how you can push your presence out there and what you actually want to do, Berry’s fourth and fifth steps.

To push your presence out there you need to do the following things:

To do that you need to register a site.

Then you need to build a website.

Then you have to connect whatever social media you’re into. Pick two or three and try to find ones that don’t make you cringe.

Post on your blog or social media an appropriate amount of times so that you have actual content there.

Each time you post a blog or an update, think:

How is this connected to my mission?

Will anyone actually see this?

Does anyone actually want to read this?

And there you go, a tiny MBA class in twenty minutes.

RESOURCES:

https://fitsmallbusiness.com/mission-statement-examples/

https://articles.bplans.com/writing-a-mission-statement/

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.

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 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

Picking the Writer Wedgie and Transitions

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Picking the Writer Wedgie and Transitions
/

In life and in story, you have these things called transitions. Places were things change.

You go from one place to another, one scene to another, one chapter to another, one husband to another, one president to another.

A really good transition is really just a bridge that helps the reader go logically from one section, scene, chapter to another without it being awkward like a bad date or making their brain hitch where they say things like “We were just in space and now we’re at Wal-Mart? What the heck?”

Some people are amazing at transitions.

Some people have awkward transitions.

Some refuse to acknowledge there even is a transition.

But in the writing world, you want them to be smooth and there are a bunch of transitional phrases and words that authors fall back on to help them do that like:

  • A week later (or whenever)
  • At the same time
  • Afterwards
  • For two weeks/days/minutes
  • Meanwhile
  • At night
  • The next day
  • The next night
  • For a month, I cried into the phone
  • In the morning
  • When the sun rose
  • When the sun set
  • The following Monday/night/morning
  • Months passed
  • Weeks passed
  • When we got back to the office
  • When they got back home
  • As the neared the date site

Then there are the phrases that show us a change in location:

  • They boarded the train
  • Down the street
  • Up on the third floor of the office
  • Over by the water cooler
  • Back in my living room
  • The motorcycle was situated
  • She ran fast through the dark alley
  • In the hall of the hospital
  • Outside on my front lawn

And so on. There are a lot more examples of both of these, but we just wanted to give you a quick look at them.

Sometimes though, us writers tell our readers TOO much and it ends up sounding like script or stage directions. Those are things that slow the narrative down and just read a bit awkward or stilted.

It would be a sentence like:

When I arrived at the elevator to go up to the office on the fourth floor, I pushed the button to close the door and rode it to the floor.

Or

            They drove to the restaurant and waited in line for their table and she hummed a little bit.

Instead you just want the transition to get us there into the juicy part of the scene:

Twenty minutes later, they were sitting at their table, playing footsie under the fancy white linen tablecloth when the giant hedgehog with a man bun stormed through the wooden doors.

Places like the bad examples are not really needed because:

  1. It doesn’t really add to the story.
  2. It doesn’t really add to the character.
  3. It’s unnecessary information.

You really only want things in your story that:

  1. Show your character’s inner state/characterization/choices
  2. Move the plot forward.
  3. Set the reader in the moment.

Story is all about characters making choices, being proactive and moving things forward and showing us who they are by those choices and their dialogue. So, you want to focus on getting the reader to those scenes where people interact and the character has to make a choice that either goes towards or against their main wants. Effective transitions help get us there but also ground the reader in the moment and time of the story in a logical, cool way.


DOG TIP FOR LIFE

If you never, get off the couch, you never have a chance for treats from the pantry. If you snap every single time someone strartles you awake, you get less love. Embrace the transitions. They are opportunities for growth, to evolve, to learn new stuff, and potentially get some veggie bacon.


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.


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 254,000 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.

Writing Notebooks and When Daddy Died

Of all the tools I have as a writer, one of the most important is my notebook. And a pen, of course. I try not to write in blood. It’s messy and the police tend to look down on it. Handcuffs chafe. Even the bling kind.

But, honestly, all good writing is messy and bloody. That’s because good writing gets at essential truths. To get at those truths you have to dig. You have to work on your craft, and then do it some more.

When we talk about craft, we often talk about how to show and not tell, how to be sparing with the adverbs, how not to write “he felt,” “she saw,” and so on, and how to have gorgeous details and a plot with forward motion.

That’s all important.

But what is it that a writer can do to make her/his work really sing? What is it that makes her/his book different from all the other books about forbidden vampire love or struggling with an overbearing evil nemesis who is the head cheerleader?

It’s about the willingness to get messy.

It’s about finding the tools that allow you to delve into the messy area where you allow yourself to wonder: What is it to be human? What is it to have a story? What is it to be alive?

Those essential questions are the ones that make a really good story resonate. in your heart or mind.

They are the questions that bore into the work of Rita Williams-Garcia or a Sharon Darrow. They are the questions that make a writer a truth teller.

 And how do you get to those questions?

 One way is to have a notebook.

In her essay “On Keeping a Notebook”  (from The Writer’s Presence), Joan Didion writes about her own notebook writing, 

“It is a good idea, then to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you.”

Didion

In my Judy Blume Diary, my first real notebook, there was an entry page at the end of each month. It listed things.

Favorite Book:

Best Thing that Happened:

Worst Thing that Happened:

At the end of June, I wrote under Worst Thing that Happened: 

Daddy died.

 
Those two words bring me back to trying to revive my stepdad who was collapsed on the white carpet of my Aunt Shirley’s Massachusetts living room. Those two words make my own chest tighten. Sirens get closer. People yell, “Carrie, back off. Get away.”

My mother screams and screams and runs to the other room, a panicked bird who has slammed into a glass picture window and she can’t understand why or what it is that is hurting her.

Daddy died

But those two words don’t bring those images to you. My notebook is not your notebook. Your notebook is not mine, but our notebooks are places where we as writers, as crafters of stories, can go back and remember. We can use these tools over and over again to recreate truth in form of story.

It’s a powerful tool… messy, yeah… but powerful. Kind of like life, right?

Elizabeth Berg wrote

When you are first starting to write, you don’t need to buy a whole lot of things. What you need most is a fierce desire to put things down on paper; and you need a certain sensibility, a way of seeing and feeling. These things cost nothing, and like many things that are free, are worth a lot – worth everything, in fact.”

Berg

Even if you haven’t just started to write, the desire, the sensibility, the notebook needs to be there. You have to be willing to turn the page, write down the words, delve deep, and get messy. Know your emotions. Know your characters’ emotions and put them on the page.

The notebook is a perfect tool for that. It might be a Judy Blume Diary, a spiral pad, a yellow binder, or post-it notes. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s yours. It’s your place keeper so that you can remember the things that you can use later, messy or not.

Resources

The Writer’s Presence: A Pool of Readings. Ed. McQueade Donald and Atwan, Robert. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
Escaping Into the Open: the Art of Writing True.
Berg, Elizabeth. New York: Perennial, 1999.


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.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

My Patreon site I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD.

I also share some writing tips that are also going to be on Teachable as the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME and send people art.

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.

Having a Manly Christmas, Martial Law and Characterization

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Having a Manly Christmas, Martial Law and Characterization
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CHARACTER VS CHARACTERIZATION

Robert McPhee has a bit in his book, STORY, where he talks about character and characterization and one of my favorite aspects of that discussion is just this simple quote, which will hopefully be of some use to you:

TRUE CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under the pressure—the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.

We show who our character is by putting her/him/them under that pressure. Are they brave or wimpy? Empathetic or narcissistic? Cruel or kind?

We see them through their choices. And we see who they are the most when the risk is large.

Inserting choices into the emotional arc and plot really pushes it to another level and that’s something that you can really do with stories. You can show someone’s character—who they really are.

Characterization is just a bunch of traits all tied together. It’s like a demographic. You know I’m a white woman with a MFA in Maine who writes. But my psychographic is a bit different, right? I’m someone who gives money to certain causes, who stops when I see an accident, who cries every time she sees a dog video but chooses to watch it rather than look away. That’s my character.

Our written characters are like that, too. Put them under pressure, give them choices, let us see who they are from that very first chapter so that we can see them change.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Show who your characters are by their choices and actions.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t trust words. Trust smells and movements. Also, trust the person who gives you bacon.

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.


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 254,000 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.

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

The Last Twenty Years and Goals

Okay. It’s not officially the end of the decade, but 2020 is such a cool number to get rid of right now, So, I thought about what I was like back in 2000 and I realized that I was:

1. Much cuter.
2. 20 years younger.
3. Had more brain cells.

But that doesn’t matter because in the last 20 years (or 21) – I don’t know it’s math and confusing – I’ve:

1. Gone from being a freelance reporter to a newspaper editor to a book author who gets royalty checks with actual money in them to being a NYT and internationally bestselling author to independently publishing too and also being a writing coach and editor and teacher. Whew.
2. Gone from having a toddler to having a teenager to having someone in graduate school at Dartmouth.
3. Gotten a super cool dog and cat and lost them and now have five furry babies living in this house with me that aren’t humans.

How about you? Has your life changed since 2000? Have you achieved any of your goals? Do you have goals for the next 10 years? The next twenty? I do. 

Here they are:

1. Hike the AT – this can be done in parts, I’m not fussy any more. (Same as ten years ago. Ugh.)
2. Go somewhere warm that is not in this country and not bring my computer. (I’ve done this. It just seems like it will never happen again.)
3. Make the world a tiny bit better somehow in some way and write more books and do more podcasts and get okay at marketing somehow.
4. Do the MDI Marathon somehow, even if I have to walk it.
5. Not be super poor and live in a condemned shack hoarding cats and newspapers and scrunchies.

No, there aren’t like big spiritual/personal life/family goals there because well – I am too shy to post those. 

The most important goal, however?

FINDING GROVER!!!!

Yes, Grover is missing again. I think he may have run away. I haven’t been paying much attention to him. And he has been drinking a lot of schnapps lately and I fear he may have wandered outside into the snow. Or maybe Gabby the Dog took him on a little adventure because she’s super into him.

*sobs*

My life is so empty without him.

SPECIAL PLEA TO GROVER: Please come back, baby. I won’t make you wear the cape anymore. I will try not to be neurotic. Please, baby…please… Don’t make me write a country song 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.


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 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

My Patreon site I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD.

I also share some writing tips that are also going to be on Teachable as the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME and send people art.

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

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.

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?

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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 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

It Doesn’t Matter If The Rock Retweets You

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
It Doesn’t Matter If The Rock Retweets You
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Okay, you all. We know this is harsh, but it’s truth time.  Life isn’t about random interactions. Success isn’t about it either.

When Carrie became Andrew Yang’s Twitter friend, it made her super happy, but it didn’t actually do anything for her. When the Rock retweeted her tweet about disabilities…

Full disclosure: Carrie has no depth perception and also has epilepsy.

…but when that happened? It was cool because it was the Rock, but it didn’t make her suddenly more successful or cooler.

The Rock would never remember that retweet. Andrew Yang isn’t going to remember being Carrie’s Twitter friend.

It was a nice moment, but Carrie doesn’t really need that moment to make her feel cooler or more validated as a human being. That’s because though she presents as really insecure, she’s actually pretty cool with herself. And other people’s perceptions – even when they are the Rock or Andrew Yang? They don’t matter.

There’s a guy in our town who is a bit off and he thinks we are basically Satan incarnate. Does Shaun care? Not one for one freaking second. Why? Because he knows who the hell he is. He’s cool with himself. For the same reason when there are rumors about him or Carrie or even his bffs, does he care? Nope. That’s because he knows he’s the sh*t. He knows who he is.

It’s confidence, but it’s also about knowing that you can’t control what other people think about you all the time.

But there’s another side to this, too.

You want to connect with your people, your readers, your audience, your friends, by being you, your authentic self, and you can’t do that if you’re busy worrying about what everyone else is thinking about you.

When you’re all ME ME ME all the time because you need to be an influencer or sell your book or whatever, you lose who you are and any connections you get? They aren’t even about you. They are about the false perception of you.

But it’s more than that, too.

When all you care about is people’s perceptions of you, you stop caring about people.

And then, you’re basically an egotistical sh*t. Is that who you want to become? No. So, focus on the work. Focus on making connections where you care about the other person. Having the Rock retweet you doesn’t mean you’re going to be a movie star or an international bestseller.

What makes you succeed is the work you do, the care you give, the problems you help other people with.

Carrie is a successful novelist. Her books have won awards, been NYT and international bestsellers, but that’s because she took the time to learn to write and to understand people. She now uses those skills to help other people write their own books.

And those people? The ones she coaches and teaches and gets to know so well as they make their stories? Those are the people that matter to Carrie, that make her a success. Not the Rock. No offense to the Rock! 

Pretending to be someone else, being preoccupied with others’ perceptions of you? It destroys you. Don’t be destroyed. Celebrate who you are and who other people are too.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t pretend to be another writer or adopt their style. Be you. Write what you want to write.

Dog Tip For Life

Be the dog you’re meant to be. Have your values align with your actions. And bark a lot about it if that’s your thing.

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.


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 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

FREE BOOK? YES! I AM SERIOUS.

Click here to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and get a free pdf of my book!

How To Invest In The Most Important Thing In Your Writing Career

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How To Invest In The Most Important Thing In Your Writing Career
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Here’s the spoiler:

The Most Important Thing You Have In Your Writing Career Is You

We know! We know! You were probably hoping for a cool app, or the perfect book about plot beats, but nope. It’s you.

You can’t write if you don’t exist. You write best when you’re doing pretty fine.

So here are the ways to actually invest in yourself.

Stay healthy for your brain

It’s pretty hard to write when you feel like crap because when your brain is all broken. As Harvard Healthbeat says, “First it is important to remember that you need a healthy body to have a healthy brain.”

How do you do that? According to Harvard:

Step 1: Eat a plant-based diet

Step 2: Exercise regularly

Step 3: Get enough sleep

Step 4: Manage your stress

Step 5: Nurture social contacts

Step 6: Continue to challenge your brain

Stay happy or at least okay. Relationships matter.

Your relationships with other people are really important. They help you evolve. There’s a thing called the dependency paradox.

As Kyle Benson writes,

“Our partners powerfully affect our ability to thrive in life. They influence how we feel about ourselves, what we believe we are capable of, and they ultimately impact our attempts to achieve our dreams.

“Even Mr. Self-Actualization (Abraham Maslow) himself argued that without bonds of love and affection with others, we cannot go on to achieve our full potential as human beings.

“Once we choose a partner, there is no question about whether dependency exists or not. It always does. 

“Countless studies show that once we become intimately attached to another human being, the two of us form one physiological being.

“Our partner regulates our blood pressure, our heart rate, our breathing, and the level of hormones in our blood. The emphasis of independence in adult relationships does not hold water from a biological perspective.”

Kyle Benson

There’s a link to Kyle’s post in our notes and it’s just so good, but the part that really rings true for writers and other creatives is this:

“When a partner is supportive, we are more willing to explore and our self-esteem and confidence gets a boost, which allows us to go after our deepest desires. This not only improves the quality of our lives, but it also deepens and enhances our satisfaction within the relationship and our physical health.

“But as many of us know, sometimes our exploration leads to failure, rejection, and painful experiences. When these bad events happen, our biological programming creates anxiety that leads us to seek proximity (physically and/or psychologically) with the person we love.

“If they are supportive during this stage, our stress will go down and we cope with our problems faster, which ultimately leads us to overcome the problem and continue to go after our deepest desires.”

Kyle Benson again

So find those supportive partners and get rid of the rest!

Get some skills!

Carrie resisted the urge to put a z on the end of the word skills in our podcast notes, but here’s the thing: The more you learn, the less you settle. The more you learn, the more capable you become.

Learning and skills come from classes, from reading, and from experience. Mix it up. Learn in different ways.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

There you go. You write best when your brain works, when you’re happy, when you have skills and are learning about how to make the best stories possible. So invest in yourself, people. Take care of your health, your relationships and learn.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

You can go through your life just barking at thing, but you want to expand your brain and your repertoire and really immerse yourself in what makes you and your body happy.

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.


FREE BOOK? YES! I AM SERIOUS.

Click here to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and get a free pdf of my book!


Resources


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