Posted in Creative WRiting

Writing Tips Alphabet Series – B is for… Books.

 B is for books.

Maybe this one is a no brainer. And maybe this is something that everyone knows about… but it’s still a tip that I’m going to give, because you’d be shocked at how many people say that they don’t have to read to be able to write well.

I honestly don’t like to give hard, fast rules about how to do anything. Most of the time, I would tell people that they can do whatever they want, however they want, and there are always ways to figure out how to get your writing done… but I’m actually going to stand pretty firm on this one.

One of the best ways, one of the real ways to get better as a writer is to read. A lot. Books are so important — you wouldn’t be a doctor without checking out methods, without taking classes. You wouldn’t try to be an electrician without some kind of apprenticeship. Reading a lot is the way that a writer has an apprenticeship, honestly. 

Read a lot in the genre you want to write. Read out of the genre that you want to read. Read masters and read classics. Just… read. It will expand your understanding of the craft, it will give you ideas and inspiration. Pay attention to how your favorites form sentences and what it is about the paragraphs and storyline and characters that really catch your attention.

Study the things that you read — don’t just look at it as a reader. Pick your favorites and look at them as a writer. I find that doing that is actually a fantastic way to realize what it is about writing that is appealing to you, and therefore learn how to apply that to your own writing. 

There’s a lot of things that we can do to improve ourselves, and there’s a lot of things that we can do to get better. Practice is certainly one of them… but studying is the other. And you could study grammar and sentence structure until you were blue in the face, but unless you really study story, I don’t think that you can improve in the same way that you would if you did.

Like I said, I usually am pretty flexible on what is a hard and fast rule, but this is one that I’m going to stick by. I know that not everyone enjoys reading — but there’s ways around that. Audiobooks, shorter novellas, visual novels, there are so many options so that you’re still consuming storytelling without having to get into something that you would otherwise not enjoy.

So do it ❤ Pick up a book. Pick your favorite. And then study it and apply! You’ve got this! 

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

Writing Tips Alphabet Series – A is for… Accountability.

ac·count·a·bil·i·ty/əˌkoun(t)əˈbilədē/Learn to pronouncenoun

  1. the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.”their lack of accountability has corroded public respect”

I know that I’ve talked about this a few times, but I feel like I have a little more experience in this now that I’ve completed MilWordy. I can tell you that it wasn’t the drive to get to a million words that got me there as much as it was the spreadsheet where I was recording the data.

You see, I shared that spreadsheet with about 20+ other people on my writing server. Every day, we’d be able to check in with one another. A friend and I were basically racing to the million words (we hit it on the same day, ha). I’ve learned that, at least for me, having someone who knows your goals and can encourage you and keep you on them is so helpful for getting writing done.

Now, you don’t have to just be in a Discord group to do that — you could find a local writing group. You could even just tell your friends/significant other/parents/whoever is your source of encouragement.

Before I started on the spreadsheet, I had a friend that really kept me accountable. Basically, having someone message you and say, “How is the writing going”, and they actually know if your progress is progress… it helps.

IF you don’t want to tell anyone about it, don’t want to communicate with people, there are other forms of accountability. You can post your goals to your social media — I think it’s cool to see people give a goal in the morning and then an update before they go to sleep. Even though I’m a stranger to you, you better believe that I’m going to be pushing and cheering for you the entire time, and I will drop some love on both of those posts to let you know that I see your goal and I’m rooting for you to hit it.

If you’re more of a ‘sometimes’ writer, a great way to do accountability is NaNoWriMo and the various versions of camp that have come from it. (For those of you who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month comes around every november, and thousands of people from all around the world come together for a mad dash of writing 50,000 words in one month!). There are forums there, and it’s where I’ve made so many of my amazing friends!

So yes, A is for Accountability! Find someone who can boost you up, who you can hold yourself responsible to, and cling to that if you can!

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

Daily Writing Question

Answering Daily Writing Questions on my Tiktok! CLICK HERE to follow along and maybe join in ❤ I can’t wait to see you guys there! If you do follow, let me know so I can follow you guys back ❤

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

Writing Tips A-Z (Part 2)

Oh hey! It’s going to be a blast from the past! I was looking around my blog and I realized that it would be a lot of fun to revisit some of the writing challenges that I’ve done years ago and see how much I’ve changed and grown since then! So! I’m going to do my Alphabet Writing Series again (clicky click to check out the old one)! I’ll make sure not to repeat the advice that I gave before (unless I have a new take on it) and I’ll probably be cross posting this to my other social media platforms!

I’m really excited for this and I can’t wait! I’ll either be starting later tonight or tomorrow!

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

Refilling the Well

I haven’t been writing a ton lately — though, I shouldn’t really say that I haven’t been writing a lot. I’ve done probably close to 70,000 words.

Maybe more.

That’s the actual problem — I spent 6 months recording my writing every day. I recorded where the writing was going, what I was working on… pretty much logging my every move.

And it wasn’t just that. I spent six months writing like it was the last six months I would ever be able to get out words… because I randomly decided that I was going to write one million words in a year.

And then for some reason I decided that I was going to do it in half that time.

I have always been the kind of person who likes to push myself to see how much I can accomplish, how fast I can write. What the quality could be pushed too even though I was pulling 20,000 word days. And honestly, even though I got a little jibberish towards the end, I was pretty pleased with what I turned out.

And it wasn’t that I was burned out from writing — like I said, I’ve still done about 70,000-100,000 words since March. But… I haven’t been recording.

I haven’t been taking it super seriously.

I took a bit of a break, and that was probably good for me. For a while, I didn’t do anything but watch a ton of streamers and writing a ton of fanfics… and now I’ve crossed from that stage to wanting to read a lot.

We refill our creative wells in different manners. Writing a bunch of fanfiction actually makes my brain excited to write novels. And then reading… well… reading really, really gets me in the mood to write. I recently got a fantastic pair of wireless earbuds that is allowing me to listen to audiobooks a ton, which is helping me to get through a lot more books.

I’m pretty happy with the spot that I’m in, creative-wise. I had a few days where I felt like I wasn’t doing anything, where I felt like I was slacking and failing as a writer because I wasn’t cranking out 20,000 words a day.

And then I got over that, because it’s not realistic to keep up with that pace and I realize that.

But… pushing myself in that fashion made me realize what my limits were, what my minimum could be. A while ago, I thought that 1,000 words a day was a good minimum for me.

I’m thinking once I get back into daily writing and recording, I’m going to up it to 2,500 or 3,000. I don’t think that it will be much of an issue once I get back into the swing of things.

And even though I’ve fallen off of it majorly, I want to get back to recording my writing daily. I think maybe if I do end up starting a TikTok, I might even start recording it there verbally so I can have a new level of accountability.

The possibilities are endless. I’m going to kind of just be lazy and read as many books as I can for the rest of this month… and then I think next month I’m going to start really working on writing/recording/noveling again.

I’m excited. And honestly, if anyone here would like, feel free to join in on the ride ❤ Accountability buddies are so important.

In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out what kind of blogs people might like to see! If you have any ideas, let me know! And if you have any good book suggestions, let me know!

I’m excited.

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

Red, White & Royal Blue Review

“First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?”

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I can’t believe that I haven’t written a review on this book before. The thing is, I’ve read it twice. I’m probably going to visit it a third time. This book has quickly turned into one of those comfort novels for me that I come back to time and time again when I’m in the mood for a pick me up. There are only a handful of books that wiggle their way into my heart like that, so I’m glad that I found this one.

Honestly, there are so many things to enjoy about the book. First, such a fantastic addition to the LGBTQ+ community is never unappreciated. And the fact that the storyline is so compelling and their relationship is honestly so sweet as it develops is really a requirement for a 5 star rating for me. I like angst as much as the rest of the world, but you have to level it out with development and comfort on the other side of it, and this book did just that.

It isn’t just the relationship that I enjoyed, though. I really, really like the characters in the story. Not just the two male leads, but all of their friends and surrounding cast. Everyone in this book is honestly charming for different reasons, and it’s a breath of fresh air to me. I frequently find myself loving main characters and feeling like the side characters aren’t given enough depth to really enjoy. But honestly, I would read an entire novel about June, Nora and Pez all on its own. (Hint hint, author. Hint hint.)

I also really enjoy the depth of the storyline itself. It touches on something that I know a lot of people hold close to their hearts — if the election in 2016 had gone differently. I know that I personally would have preferred the reality presented in this book.

Overall, it’s honestly just amazing. There are some really poetic and beautifully written moments as well. The two main characters share emails with one another, and I honestly I could have read a book of just that.

I would also like to note that the Audible version for this book is superb ❤ I’m always really iffy on if I enjoy audible narrations, but this one was 10/10.

I’d recommend this book to anyone (I actually recommend it to everyone!) It’s a fantastic plotline, a great romance, and overall just a hit for me.

Posted in Creative WRiting

Is Blogging Dead?

I wonder, sometimes, if blogging is dead. The internet is an ever-changing platform. People are constantly finding new places to communicate. Where blogs were really popular before, people had it condensed into 280 characters for a tweet that was still meant to convey emotions.

From there, I feel like it changed to a picture on Instragram. And from there, it seems like TikTok and 30 seconds for your story is the new thing to do.

But there are still some of us who are trudging along on their blog. Of course, I’m hitting up the other social media platforms (I just got on the linktree kick <— Go ahead and click it to hit up my other social media sites), and I try to be active everywhere that I can… but I’ve seen so many people just completely drop off of blogging.

I don’t know. There’s something about it that’s so wonderful to me. I’m writing down my thoughts, getting to use as many characters, as much time, as many words as I want to convey them. I can share full stories here, I can link to those other places if I do something cute there (let’s be real, I never managed to make a Youtube channel, so me making a TikTok is questionable, but I’m going to attempt it). But… there’s something about a Blog, about getting to write, which is all that I’ve ever wanted to do to begin with…

Well, it feels right to me. I still see active people here, and I still see people reading the things that I put out via my analytics. People are still around, and people still want too write their thoughts out instead of doing it via a small amount of characters, a video, a picture.

Call me greedy, but I want it all. So… is blogging dead? I don’t think so. I think that blogging just reaches out to a different demographic of people, and I’m fine with that.

Circling around on this thought, I’m going to try to post here more. I have a ton of book reviews that I need to get up, and I’m going to start one of my challenges again (maybe an A-Z challenge again, or something equally fun!) So stay tuned for that!

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

MilWordy and Life.

 Gosh, so… where have I been? I was updating you guys on Milwordy. It’s a thing that I started in September and the goal was to write one million words in a year.

Okay, so anyone who follows me knows that I kinda overdo things. That I’ve always kinda over do things, really. Which means that I’ve been… away from writing on my blog because I’ve been…

Focused on writing?

Does that make sense?

I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, I’m pleased to say that I hit the one million markbefore February ended. That means that I wrote one million words in six months.

Yeah, I told you I kind of overdo things.

So my focus has been wildly on that — I haven’t really been thinking of much else. The good news is, I did crank out an entirely new book and some of a few others. And a second draft!

The bad news is… I let my blog slip. I really hate doing that, and I would like to be updating this sucker at least once a week if I can (more, if I could ever establish proper habits). So, I’m back at it again now that my MilWordy goals have been met.

And where am I going with it after now, since I have six months left?

I set a goal for two-million words in one year. I really don’t expect to hit that. Like, that’s lofty goals and I don’t know that I wanna push myself through pure insanity again. It was a lot, and I’m really proud of the fact that I got as far as I got… and I’m really enjoying the break that I’ve been taking for the past little bit.

I’m probably going to ease back into writing. I’m kind of reading through an entire manga (because I want to ruin my life with Attack on Titan), but after I’m done with that, I’m planning on setting my goal toward 1,000 a day. And then moving that up to 2,000 a day. And then getting that back up to 5,000 a day. If there’s anything that MilWordy taught me, it was the fact that if I’m really working at it, I can write 10,000 words easily by noon.

So cutting it down to 5,000 for the entire day shouldn’t really be pushing myself. During that time, I had 30,000 word days. They were stressful and exhausting and rewarding… and I don’t want to ever feel like I need to have days that large again.

But at the same time, I want to be able to if I randomly needed or wanted to.

I don’t know. MilWordy was really a good practice for me to see where my limits were, where I could push myself past. One of these days when I have the day completely to myself, I’m going to see how much I can really write within a 24 hour period. We do 24 hour write-a-thons on my writing server every month. I wanna really get to it.

So… yeah.

I guess that’s an update on me? I’ve been writing a lot, and now I”m going to turn back to putting that writing into my blog and other places! I can’t wait to get back to being here on the regular!

If there’s anything y’all want me to write about or anything you want to see, let me know! 

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

Mid-NaNo Check-in!

 Hey everyone! We are mid way through NaNoWriMo, and it has been a crazy month so far. I’m working on two projects, so I’m basically doing a double NaNo, so it’s been extremely hectic on my end. It’s a good kind of hectic though? I’m really enjoying what I’m getting out as far as words go. Of course, I’m going to have to do the traditional Post-NaNo edits… but I’m starting to actually get a method down for how I do that, too… so I’m really excited for everything.

My Current WC is: 62,003 words! A ton of that has gone into my co-written projects that I’m doing with this wonderfully amazing individual, and then the at least 20,000 of it is on my second novel out of a trilogy. I’m trying to just actually finish the trilogy without breaking to do books in between, because I have another unfinished trilogy that went to the wayside because of that. 

And I really like this story, so I don’t want to let it slip away from me just because I got distracted with another project. I really do suffer from a major case of ‘shiny new idea’ syndrome, and I’m trying to kind of drift away from that as much as I can. It’s not conducive to editing, to finishing anything… to… well… anything that could be remotely considered productive, when you think about it.

And since I want to actually be productive, I’m trying to focus down. I think that NaNoWriMo was a wonderful time to do that. I’ll just have to carry it through and do another NaNo in January or something so I can make sure to finish the series out. I already did a small round of edits on the first novel, too. 

I’d love to hear how all of you all make sure that you work through your novels when it’s more than a stand alone. Do you try to work on them all back to back? Do you give them a breather and do something else in between? 

What are your methods? What works best for you? If you have experience in this, write a blog and share with the class! Other than that, I’d also love to get a NaNo check in from everyone who is participating in that, and a MilWordy check in for everyone who is participating in that!

I basically want to be inspired by the amount of words that everyone is getting! Please, let me know! 

Until then, I’m going to try to get back to consistent blogging soon. I usually get more throughout the month here, but I’ve been so focused (and distracted) with the things going on in my life that I’ve been having to put all of my writing focus onto the books. I would like to say that I’m ashamed of myself, but it’s getting me words and making me feel very productive.

But I’ll try to be back around more consistently! And if you want to catch me in the in between, check out my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandaleannemccormick/ I’d love to follow for follow so we can fill up our feeds with inspiration!

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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Posted in Creative WRiting

NaNoWriMo Kick Off! <3

"NaNoWriMo 2020 Writer" - Facebook Banner - Design by Tyrell Waiters
I love the banner this year.

 Hey there everyone! How are we doing today? I didn’t do my normal NaNoWriMo kick off day post yesterday because it was a little hectic. I do want to say that I did my normal FirstDay10k! I actually ended up getting 15,000! So I was pretty pleased with my progress. Honestly though, I just love NaNoWriMo. There’s something so fantastic about a huge group of people coming together with the goal of getting words.

Things are a little different for me this year, since I’ve been participating in MilWordy. I’ve been getting such huge numbers for the past 2 months that I’m going to be pushing myself a little harder than I usually would. I’m trying to finish 2 drafts for NaNo. I really think that I’m going to be able to do it, because I did take the time to do some proper prep before the month started on both of them. I have my general plot and my proper beats down, and I think that I’m going to be able to get through them.

And honestly, low-key, there’s a part of me that wants to finish three drafts for the month, but we’re not going to get that crazy quite yet in committing to that. In a perfect world, I will finish the trilogy that I’m working on and the book that I’m writing with my friend. But in a realistic world, I’d love to finish the second book in the trilogy and the book with my friend.

We’ll see how things go.

Anyway, this is my normal check in for the month. I’m going to be trying to post NaNoWriMo updates, tips, tricks, the works as often as I can. I notice that in October I tend to fall off of posting anything that isn’t spoopy writing prompts, and this year I was making them all from scratch on Canva so it was even more of me just posting those. But now that October is over with, I’m back.

And I’m here to give you your first tip!

Find a group to write with! 

Join my Discord Server if you’d like ❤ We have contests, accountability, we’re going to be doing a giveaway for the people who win NaNo, and we’re generally just a really fun group to be around. 

Or, if you would prefer something more intimate, find some groups on facebook, or get a group together on the NaNo website. It’s just really important that you find yourself some accountability buddies for NaNo, since I think that one of the most important and really essential parts to the whole thing is finding your people. 

I know that’s a tip that I give all of the time, but it’s honestly one that I can’t say enough. I really don’t think that my writing progress would be where it is if I hadn’t had my Discord group around for as long as I have in tandem with my husband who really cheers me on every chance that he gets. I’ve met some of the most important people in my life through that group, and I know that I wouldn’t be half as happy or half as productive without them.

So… find your tribe. Come join mine if you want to ❤ Just find your people and stick with them! 

Until next time, y'all!
Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
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