Archive for May, 2016

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M is for Money, and what a devilish thing that truly is. I can actually come into this subject, having both been there and done that, but not in the capacity that I want to, strive to. So, let me talk to you about money and writing from the perspective of someone who wrote for commission.

Writing commissions is something that a lot of people are interested in. Just making money writing for a living is something that people are interested in. When I was but a young girl (ahem, this was just 5 years ago, so I wasn’t actually that much younger, but still), I decided to try my hand at writing commissions for a specified group of people. At first, it was amazing – I got so many commission requests. They literally flew in, because I was priced lower than the competition, and I was cranking out better quality. The fact is, I can write 10k in one sitting, if I want to. It’s not that difficult for me, though it can be exhausting.

I didn’t take into account the fact of how exhausting it would be. I was making enough money to get the things that I wanted, to do the things that I wanted (I wasn’t making that much, but still)… and for a while, it was wonderful.

For a while, I felt like I was finally getting to do what I wanted to do.

A few years passed, and I started to realize that my dream wasn’t exactly as fantastic as I thought it was. I wrote predominately smut, and I had an enormous fanbase. They wanted to talk to me, to be my friend (and I did make friends with quite a few of them), and they wanted the same type of story.

Over. And over. And over.

Writing is a joy, a pleasure… but there was something so monotonous and unfulfilled about writing the same content, over and over again.

I became so popular, that I didn’t have time to work on my personal writing. What was worse, if I had time, I felt guilty about writing on my own work, instead of the work that I owed. My creativity suffered, my muse suffered… and I suffered because of it.

I wrote commissions for nearly 4 years, and there were parts of it that I loved. I loved getting to do what I was good at, what I enjoyed, what I loved as my job. I loved the freedom of it…

But, I didn’t love the way that it made me feel, and the way that it took away my time to write things that were important to me, that mattered to me.

So, I decided to leave the commission business for the most part. I will still take commissions, and I still love writing stories for other people, but I’ll never let myself get in over my head like that again. I was at a point where I owed over 100k words, and there was no time for me.

You can’t let yourself get so boggled down you forget about your roots, your core, who you are as a writer. Making money is important – I do some commissions now, and I have a Patreon, and I do articles for pay. I still make my money, but I also make sure that I have time for my personal writing.

I would love to someday be an author, professionally. It will still be stressful, still be exhausting… but it will be stress and exhaustion for my own work, and I think that’s important.

This blog is a little ramblely, I realize. M is for Money, and I’m going to tell you this here and now – getting money for your writing isn’t worth compromising your own muse and creativity. It might feel good initially, but you’ll burn yourself out.

I couldn’t write for nearly 6 months after I stopped doing commissions, and it put me into a state of depression and anxiety that I didn’t realize the depths of until I started writing again. ❤ Take care of yourself. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You’re worth more than that!

Until Next time with the letter N!

Author Amanda McCormick

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I actually debated for a bit as to what I wanted L to be for. Love interest, lethargy… but I finally decided on a topic that I think a lot of writers stress over. Length – how long or short should we make our stories, and what really qualifies our pieces of work as a novel. 

There’s a neat little cookie cutter format, if you’re looking at the internet:

Classification Word count

Novel over 40,000 words

Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words

Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words

Short story under 7,500 words

Now, the thing is… I don’t disagree with this little classification chart, I really don’t. But… the internet doesn’t take into account the fact that we write, we edit, we change and add or take away from our story. Other writers will, even editors will… but you can’t write a story and instantly say, “Well, damn, this isn’t a novel!” Because you’re at 30,000 words. Trust me, you could certainly add to it.

I had a short story in High school (It was my portfolio piece, and I was damn determined to get a Distinguished on it (Distinguished is the highest marks you can get on portfolio.) However, the teacher took one look at the… stack of papers… that I gave her and told me that I wasn’t going to be able to use it for a short story.

It was 10,000 words, nearly on the nose.

She said she’d read it, but she was going to have to insist that I cut it down. I told her just to give it a chance, and then tell me if anything could be cut. I handed in 32 pages. I waited.

The teacher passed our papers out again a time later… and she pulled me aside. I wasn’t sure what to expect… but what I got was her telling me that I didn’t need to change anything about it, and I could put it into the portfolio for my short story as it was. Even though, technically, it was a Novelette, and not a short story.

(I got my Distinguished, and that novelette later turned into a full blown Novel.) The point is, sometimes we have to look past the clear cut lines in what is and is not a story/short story/etc, and be true to ourselves. If you have a 10,000 word story, my little Novelette that could is proof that it can pass as a short story in some circumstances… and it’s also proof that you can take those 10,000 words and turn them into a novel. When all was said and done, Shattered Reality was around 60,000 words, and part of a series. Don’t ever think that you can’t expand your story ❤ You can! Your short story has the potential to be a novel, and if you randomly only hit Novella point in your first draft? That’s fine. Don’t write yourself off as not good enough to be a writer. Expand, explore your world. You can make it a novel, if that’s your goal. I promise you, you can do this.

The thing is, we shouldn’t just get caught up on length. Some of us are so worried about hitting a certain mark that we try to make our chapters fit a certain word count. To me, especially during your first draft… you shouldn’t do that. Just write what you feel, write what comes to mind. Worry about fitting in more words later – that first draft is everything that you have, heart and soul, in one sloppy pile that was born to be edited! Don’t take that away from it. Don’t worry about how long or short it is – that’s what editing is for. Just worry about your idea, your baby, get it out there. Give it life.

With short stories (and this is where I have issues). Sometimes, we figure out that our short stories aren’t… so short. Shattered Reality wasn’t. Most of the things that I write aren’t. I have a hard time writing a short story – the one shot fanfic I did for Fallout turned into a 60,000+ word story. >_> If your muse wants to go wild with a short story, let it do it. Follow what your creativity takes you to, no matter what it is. I think that you’ll appreciate the result if you do.

Now, the only time that we can actually worry about length is during NaNoWriMo. That’s 50,000 words in a month. We have to get those 50,000 words, even if 20,000 of it is the main character blathering about the color of their clothing. xD NaNo is a special circumstance, where we pound out a novel in a month. If it works for you, it works for you. If it doesn’t xD Don’t use NaNo as your normal writing circumstances.

Honestly though, in the end, it all comes down to the fact of knowing yourself, your writing limitations, your writing expectations… and realizing that we can’t always go off of some cookie cutter chart. The world is ever changing, and our writing especially is an evolving, malleable thing. It is what we choose it to be, and there is no right or wrong answer. There’s just what works for you.

Follow your muse. Follow your creativity!

 

We still have M-Z to go through in this alphabet series! Let me know below if you have anything you’d like to see! I’d also love to hear about your writing, story length problems, or short stories that accidentally got out of hand!

Until then!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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So. Wow. Yesterday, I decided to delve into something that I should have been doing for a while. It’s something that I’ve put off, something that I’ve made every excuse in the world not to do.

Yesterday, I decided to delve into revisions of my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel. It’s a fantasy called Cerulean Darkness, and it’s one of my better developed stories/characters/premise/etc. The thing is, I’ve never actually edited anything that I’ve written before. I’ve gone over things for school, but even then… it was mainly for grammar checks.

I don’t even do that anymore.

I don’t let it off by how I act very often, but I’m actually pretty nervous about my writing, anxious, insecure. I think a lot of writers are. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even re-read my fanfics when I post them online. Instead, I simply put them up and hope that my friend who reads most everything that I write fanfic wise caught any grammar errors that I might have made (even though she usually doesn’t catch them until it’s posted up). I don’t edit.

It’s not because I’m lazy, or because I don’t think that I need to. It’s because I literally get so anxious and unhappy that I can hardly stand myself when I read my own writing. I started to re-read my novel two days ago… and I hated it. I hated every sentence, every word. I knew that I was being hard on myself, and that I was honestly being ridiculous. It’s a first draft, so it’s not good… but I know it’s not bad.

But, that nervousness, anxiousness, and down-trodden-on-myself attitude that I have about my writing actually forced my hand into something that I should have been doing all along. I’m editing it – I’m actually doing more than a simple edit. I’m re-writing it completely – I’ll be deciding if I want to completely change the perspective after I finish the rewrites of the first chapter. But I’m really getting into it and restructuring it. I’m fixing all of those little issues that I hate. I’m writing a second draft.

I have never written a second draft. Not in school, when my main goal was to get a Distinguished on my portfolio (and I did). Not when I entered contests for writing that I really wanted to win (and I did). Not when I was in college, and I wanted to 100% my creative writing classes (and I did). I’ve never written a second draft. I’ve never revised. I’ve always skated by.

I can’t do that with my novel. I can’t, and I won’t. If I want to really try this writing thing, if I want to grow, I have to take that next step. I have to set my babies adrift in the sea of Draft… and deal with the fact that I will be tearing them apart and putting them back together again as something new.

Something better.

That’s what I want, and what I strive for as a writer… to make something better than the last time I wrote. I’m okay with this – it’s scary, and it’s hard, and it’s stressful… but after one day and 3,000/100,000 words rewritten… I’m actually okay with it. I’m more than okay with it, I’m proud of myself. My second draft may end up not being that much better than the first… but it is going to be a little better. And a little is more than it was, just sitting on my shelf, untouched after NaNo.

A little is better than nothing, and a little is a step towards sending it out to beta readers and doing something with it.

I’ll probably post my progress on this every so many days, just to keep myself accountable. I’ll be learning as I go, and I would love to share the experience with you. Also, any tips, tricks, or drafting stories that you guys have? I’d love to hear them! Write a blog and tag me so I can repost, or tell me your story in the comments. More than anything, encourage yourself, guys! If you have a draft that you’ve been wanting to edit for a while… pick it up! We’ll take the journey together!

Until then, I can’t wait! (My next Alphabet Writing Tip blog should be out tomorrow or Sunday!)

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

 

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K is for Kindness, and I think that it’s one of the more important aspects of writing. I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to have writing buddies, and this letter kind of corresponds to that, as well as so many other elements of writing. K is for Kindness, because you’re not going to get anywhere without it – or, if you do, then you did it without any of that warmth and love that I feel makes projects rewarding. Kindness comes in many forms, and when it comes to writing… I’ll touch on just a few.

Be kind to your writing buddies – you’re all writing together. Don’t tell them that their works sucks (even if it needs a lot of improvement.) My number one rule for critique is a compliment sandwich. Read up on it, learn it, love it, use it. It’s what you’d want, honestly – because constant, harsh criticism is a terrible thing to face. Instead, tell your writing buddies something good about their story, and then give them a critique… and then tell them something else that you enjoyed. They will get the critique, and hopefully they will listen… but they’ll also have a boost of confidence in their writing that will help them to keep going.

Kindness also comes in book reviews, and how you give them to other writers. If you’re reading a self-pub, an indie book, make sure to give a review for the writer? (I say this even for famous authors, because I think reviews are beautiful things to give). They need the encouragement, the reviews, the ratings. You’re really helping them out in that sense, and it’s something that you’d want in return, isn’t it?

Kindness comes in how we handle our day to day schedule. Sometimes, writing isn’t easy – sometimes, in fact, it turns us into crabby monsters. Don’t let that bleed into your personal life. Don’t ruin relationships or friendships because your characters made you cranky… because, in the end, that’s just going to make you not want to write even more. Kindness in your life is just as important as Kindness in your writing.

Kindness comes in to how we approach other writers. This is one of the most important things that I’m touching on today, at least in my opinion. It’s really, really easy for writers to be a bit uppity, a bit high and mighty. It’s easy to be kind of pretentious, if you think that you’re very good at what you do; especially if the people that you’re talking to aren’t writers, or are new writers, etc. I give tips and tricks, but I never assume that my methods will be a blanket statement for everyone. I have an extremely high writing speed, but when I sprint in my writing room, I encourage everyone, and always tell them that any amount of words is impressive. No matter how confident you are in your skills as a writer, no matter how much you want to brag and feel fantastic, just make sure that it comes off as sharing and not… rubbing it in a person’s face. Likewise, however, you need to show kindness to the people who are doing better than you are. If a person writes more words a day than you, don’t be jealous – just strive to amp up your words. If a person posts a story that gets more views/comments/etc than yours… congratulate them. They are your friend, and you should be happy ❤ Strive to increase your views, strive to better yourself. A little healthy competition is a good thing – jealousy is the antithesis to kindness, and we don’t need to have space in our hearts for it when it comes to our writing and our friends.

The last bout of Kindness that I’m going to talk about is, perhaps, the most important leg of it that I can touch on. Be kind to yourself. It’s extremely easy for us to get upset with ourselves, be hard on ourselves. If you can’t get past being unkind to yourself, you’re always going to hold yourself back – don’t sit and talk about how terrible your work is. You are your own worst critique, always and forever. Don’t allow your mind to tell you that you can’t, because you can. You are a writer, you can write, and you can do this. If you have a few bad days, that’s fine. It doesn’t make you any less of a writer. If your story doesn’t win a contest, that’s okay, because you’re still a writer. If you miss a week of writing? Guess what, you’re still a writer. We all have bad days – Hell, bad weeks. If you don’t like your story? That’s fine. I bet someone else will. Don’t forever close yourself up because you can’t be Kind to yourself, and therefore never let anyone see all of those beautiful words that you’re putting to paper. You are amazing, I promise. I’ve never read it, but you are – you are, because you’re a writer, and you have worlds living inside of you. You create them, you let them out, and you should never be ashamed of yourself or think you aren’t good enough.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself.

I can’t say it enough. Be kind, my fellow writers. In all aspects of your life. It will reflect to your heart, your soul, and your writing ❤ Your entire being will thank you for it.

As always, if you want to see anything specific for the letters L-Z, just let me know. If you want to see me writing about anything at all, I always take suggestions!!! Likewise, if you have any blog/writing/art/music/etc that you think would be inspiring to others, link me to it! I’d love to do some reblogs!

Until the letter L!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

One of the most impressive things about this year is that I’m sticking to my guns. My new years resolution, one of them at least, was to write a thousand words every day for a year. So far, I haven’t failed this. I’ve skated the line pretty close, but I’ve always climbed over it. Some […]

via About Me: Writing — Strips of Honey’d Leather

 

Check out this blog. (Small break in my Alphabet Series to reblog someone else’s writing.) I’ve been saying these things a lot, but she puts it so eloquently. Having friends, having people who can help you stay on track with your writing? It’s so important ❤

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As in jotting things down. I think that it’s one of the most important things we can do as writers… and also, one of those things that we always lie to ourselves about. You can’t tell me that you haven’t had a fantastic idea in the middle of the night… right after you’ve gone to bed… and put away all of your writing materials…

And you told yourself that there was no way that you could forget it – that you’d write it down in the morning. Come morning time, I know that I always find myself saying: Damn, what was that fantastic idea?

Ergo today’s tip – jotting. Always have the capability and the mind to jot down your ideas. I’ve taken to having notebooks in so many places – tucked into the side of my bed, my phone holds notes, I have papers just tucked away, sticky notes, etc… and I do all of this so that I can make sure my ideas are properly recorded whenever I have them.

If I had a camera right now that I could take a bunch of pictures with (someday, I’ll get one of those so I can do writing vlogs ;-;) I would. I have notebooks stuck everywhere. It’s so important – and I think it’s always important to have an application on your smartphone (if you have one), so that you can also take notes there if you need to. I, personally, use Google Docs and One Note. One Note has been a real lifesaver. I also use One Drive, because I have… a desktop, a laptop, and a smaller laptop xD So I want to have access to all of my documents no matter where I go.

The point is, though… never feel like anything is too unimportant to jot down. If someone says a phrase that I like in real life, I’ll pull out a notebook and write it down. If the way that someone’s hair blows in the wind strikes me as inspirational, I’ll write about it in one of my jotting areas. I will find a way to record anything that inspires me – even when I’m in bed in the middle of the night… because, I guarantee that I won’t remember it in the morning.

❤ Make sure that you have multiple places to jot things down, guys! And I’ll see you for K!

 

As always, if you have a suggestion for K-Z, just let me know! I’d love to touch on topics that you guys want to hear about!

Until then!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

 

 

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(Warning: Author is sick. She may be more inclined to ramble than usual xD)

Instinct – it’s something that we all kind of mention, but we don’t really wonder about what we’re supposed to be doing with it. In fact, half of the time we shirk it, because it’s not the popular opinion, it didn’t sound right, it didn’t seem like it was going to sell… or another handful of reasons. But honestly, one of the best things that I can tell you to do with your writing is to follow your instinct.

Honestly, think about it this way – if you’re free writing, and your mind tells you to go one way, you’re forever left wondering what that path might have led you on if you tell yourself, “No, I shouldn’t. It’s not what’s popular for writing today.” We tend to get so caught up on what we think will sell, that we sometimes allow it to compromise our stories. Or worse, we’re worried about what people might think, if they might like it, etc. While I think that you should certainly keep multiple things in mind while writing… first and foremost, I think that you should write for you, and let everything else fall into place.

Now, back to Instinct. You can call it that – other people might call it their Muse. It’s that little voice in your head that tells you where to take your writing, what you want to do with your story. It’s that little voice that also tells you that your plot is off – that thing that you so carefully laid out for hours upon end… and sometimes, we love to ignore it, because we don’t want all of that plot work to have been in vain.

Of course, when we do that, I know a lot of times we come back to our story after we’ve written ourselves into a corner… and realize that we probably should have listened to that Instinct to begin with. Or worse, we come back to it after we’ve finished the story completely and realize that there were so many things that we could have done better – we might fix it, or we might just let the story stay how it is… subpar to what could have been put out, if we’d have followed our instincts.

You can’t be afraid to sometimes veer of course if that’s what your Instinct, your Muse is telling you to do. If you need to, take a step back and plot it out properly – make sure that you can connect your story back together… but I do implore you to always take the time to follow those little pings in your mind, because your story will thank you for it.

Of course, instinct doesn’t just have to do with our muse in our story. Take for instance, the fact that I’m sick today – I’m sick enough that I didn’t go out like I usually do. I’m huddled up at home and kind of curled up in a chair. My Instinct told me that if I didn’t get to my writing, and get to it now, this could be the first day in the year that I miss my 1,000 word mark. So, even though I wanted to wallow and stay in my chair without doing anything for a little while longer… I forced myself to get up, and to get onto the computer and start writing. Instinct can apply to so many things that have to do with your writing – if your mind it telling you that you need to get to a notebook, to paper, to something, and get a scene down… do it. It’s fresh in your mind then, and your brain is telling you that it needs to happen. I’d certainly listen, were I you.

You can also apply instinct to listening to your body when you’re writing. Sometimes, when the words aren’t coming… you really need to sit back and think for a minute as to why that isn’t happening. I often say that you can’t just make excuses of, “Well, I can’t write today.” if you’re trying to follow and form a habit… but, you can listen to your body when it tells you, “I can’t write today until you put some food in me.” Or, “I can’t write today until you let me get some sleep, or give me some coffee.” Often, some of the worst problems that we have with writing is the fact that we aren’t listening to our bodies, ourselves… whether it’s over nutrition, an idea, a need to change the plot, or anything else… if you will endeavor to listen to your Instincts, I’m quite certain that they will steer you in the correct direction for what you need to write.

 

Also! As a slight question, before I close out! I have ideas for the rest of the Alphabet, but if there’s anything that you all want to see – we still have J through Z, so please, throw me some words out there! I’d love to cover a tip on something that you guys want to hear, and I really love interacting with all of you! Thank you for the support, the comments, the likes, the shares, the reblogs! You make it a lot of fun to work on this blog and keep it up and going!

 

Until J!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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Sometimes, you have to hurry with your writing. I talked about Goals in my last blog, and how we should all set them and strive to keep them. Sometimes, we make excuses, and sometimes we try to give reasons about why we can’t write. I completely support a lot of those reasons – I’m in a rush, I’m not in a good mood, it’s nearly my bedtime… and I literally had 10 minutes to write just now (Yes, welcome to Amanda’s excuses that nearly talked me out of writing today). I would never compromise any of my stories, so I banged out 1,000 words on something completely new.

And you know what, I’m happy with it! H is for hurry, because sometimes, we just need to write without thinking. Sometimes, we just need to do whatever needs to be done to keep with those goals, with our desired word amount.

And sometimes, if you hurry, something pretty fantastic can come out of it. It’s just a silly little short thing – it’s got spelling and grammar errors, but I think I can do something with it.

H is for Hurry, and since I’m in a hurry to finish this blog, I’m going to end it out with my hurried writing ❤

— Djinn —

Her eyes were open, but she could have sworn that she was still asleep – after all, the fact that was looking down at her had only been a visitor in her nightmares, when the lights were out and the curtains were drawn. He looked at her now with a lewd expression, his handsome face twisted into a charming grin.

She pulled the covers closer, up to her chin; there was a part of her tempted to pull them over her face, as though she were a child. As though pulling them up could make him disappear along with her vision of him.

But she couldn’t, because she couldn’t break eye contact with him – his reddish hues were too engrossing, too hypnotic. Though she tried desperately, she couldn’t look away.

And neither could she scream out like she wanted to – her body trembled with the desire to do so, her heart thudding so hard in her chest that she was sure it would spill from her mouth and echo in the room if she could only part her lips.

But with his gaze heavy on her, she could do nothing of the sort. She could only lay silently in the bed and wonder how he was here, and what he wanted.

She could only lay there and wonder if, sometime between putting on her night shirt and pulling the covers up, she’d misplaced her sanity.

If she had, she desperately wanted to find it, because he took a step closer and she could feel the chill radiating off of him like some dark cloud and permeating her body.

“I’ve been waiting for this day, Lyssandra.” His voice was rich tones that sounded like string music and hellfire, and when he spoke, she could see that his teeth all came to a sharper point than they should have. Everything about him screamed other, but she still couldn’t find her voice to speak, find the strength to run away. She could only lay trembling and helpless in the sheets as he stepped closer, until his tall, sinewy frame leaned over her.

“You’ve been just out of my grasp for so long, though I can tell that you recognize me.” His hand came down, elongated digits chilled as they brushed against her cheek. She tried to jerk away, but instead she trembled.

“You’ve been sworn to me your entire life, child, and I’ve watched you grow into the beautiful young woman that you are… my own little Persephone, as it is. Tell me, do you like to pick flowers?”

Still, she couldn’t speak. She could only let out a small sound that was a catch between a scream and a whimper in her throat, and it only seemed to incite him more, because he leaned and took a seat on the bed beside her.

“Please…” And finally, she spoke. It was barely audible, but he seemed to catch the sound and drink it down. He leaned closer, and his breath smelled like sweets and liquor; all things tempting. She nearly leaned into it, but her shivering body wouldn’t let her.

“Please what, little dove? You can’t tell me that you weren’t expecting this.” But she wasn’t – she’d dreamed about him every night, his soft voice compelling her to step forward into a lake of fog and flame. His chilled digits always took her own, and he pulled her into a dark portal that led to… somewhere. His voice was smooth then, just as it was now, and he he whispered promises of a dark eternity, if only she followed him willingly.

She was willing then, but she wasn’t no.

“Please, no.” And it came out as another meep, but he didn’t seem angry by her denial. If anything, it made him chuckle more.

“Dove, you have no choice. You’re the white lamb, led to slaughter, the sacrifice – the price for the life that your mother leads… the price for your little brother’s life.” He leaned in closer still, and his crimson gaze flickered a swirl of prismatic color, the dark tresses of his hair falling into his handsome features. Impossibly handsome – no man was that handsome. “Do you want me to take that all away, hm?”

Lyssandra pulled up short, another Please No caught in her throat. Take that all away – her little brother, who had been pronounced dead in the womb… her little brother who had to be carried to term anyway.

Her little brother, who was a miracle, because he came out weak but screaming, and otherwise healthy.

“Exactly, Lyssandra. Tell me, should I reverse the promise that your mother made?” His voice changed suddenly, the tone of her mother, “Anything, I’ll promise you anything if you’ll just give me my baby back.”

Anything – and was that price to be her? Lyssandra stared in wide eyed horror. Her mother was famous now, an actress who had no time for the child that she’d apparently bargained a soul that didn’t belong to her for – famous and happy… but her little brother was an innocent soul, incapable of understanding the consequences of Caitlen’s actions.

“I didn’t–”

“But she did, I’m no devil – I can take souls that don’t belong to the wisher.” He grinned, leaning in closer, and his eyes flickered again. “I am Djinn, and I hold no moral obligation to the side of right or wrong. I simply hold obligation to the wisher, in exchange for a prize. And you,” He leaned in closer still, until Lyssandra’s senses were flooded with the sweet scent of his breath, and for a moment, all doubt that she felt was washed away. A fly drawn to honey, a moth to a flame…

A mouse caught in the eyes of a snake.

“You are that prize, and I’ve come to collect – your brother is 18. It’s time to give the devil his due.” And strong arms wrapped around her – darkness engulfed her, and Lyssandra knew nothing more than his harsh embrace and the sound of his rich, rolling laughter as he took her to another realm.

 

So, yes. That’s my hurried 1k a day. Make sure to give yourself at least 10 minutes a day to write, if that’s what you’re trying to do! 10 minutes a day, and whatever you can manage in that time still makes you feel pretty damn awesome. I know I’m okay with what I wrote above!

Until next time, guys! With the letter I!

 

Author Amanda McCormick

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Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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So, I’ve realized that a lot of this is concentrated versions of little bits of advice that I’ve sprinkled through my blogs. I’m probably going to make one master post of this all when I’m done with the series, so that people can find it and look through everything easily – I certainly want people to understand that I’m giving this advice and encouragement as just that… I know that everyone can succeed, if they put their mind to it, and if they figure out how to properly motivate themselves.

That’s what today’s blog is about. G is for Goals, and I think that everyone should have some.

When I was writing aimlessly, with no actual goal or intention in mind… there were days when I would write a ton. They were great days – fantastic days. They made me feel great. And then, there were the times when I wouldn’t write anything… for days. Maybe even weeks. And I honestly found myself more depressed/irritable/less fulfilled when I went on a big writing hiatus like that. I am literally one of those people who have to write frequently in order to function in a way that keeps me happy and positive. Writing is my stress relief, it’s one of my drugs of choice (the other being video games), and it helps me to feel like I can do things, and like I can function when the world gets crummy. I realized that, multiple times, but I was never sure as to what to do about it until recently.

I was on… tumblr? Or youtube. I’m not sure – but I saw someone posting about having a calendar with little stars on it, to tell you how much you wrote, which goals you accomplished, etc. I’d already come into December of 2015 deciding that I wanted to start the new year with a goal of writing 1,000 words every day. By making a calendar and holding myself accountable of my goals, I was completely capable of matching them, surpassing them, and feeling fantastic about myself at the end of the day. Step one of finding a way to meet your goals quite often comes from finding a way to keep yourself accountable, and to be able to see when you have and haven’t done them. For me, it’s brightly colored stars that help along the way – for you, it might be stars. It might be candy. It might be a bullet journal, or simply writing it down on a calendar. Whatever it is, make sure to do it.

Now, the other thing that I’ve learned about goals is that you have to make sure that they’re realistic. If I decided – my goal for every day is to write 15,000 words, because I’ve done that in a day before… that’s ridiculous. Yes, I can do it. Does it mean that I want to? Every single day?

Absolutely not.

A lot of people say that you should challenge yourself, and I absolutely applaud that. But I don’t think that you should push yourself so that your writing goal for the day is so hard to do that you’d rather avoid it than to get it done, or avoid it rather than to feel the guilt of trying to do it and failing. This is why I kind of have my goals set up in multiple ways.

I picked a number that I was comfortable with – that I knew for a fact I could write every single day, even if I only had a free 20 minutes to spare. We all have 20 minutes somewhere, whether it’s while we’re eating, while we’re on the bus, while we’re waiting at the bus stop, etc. We all have it. Take what you can get done in a short amount of time, and make that your goal. If you know for a fact that you can write 250 words in 20 minutes… that’s you. That’s a page a day, and that’s damn respectable. Don’t make your minimum goal something that you will fail at – because succeeding feels so much better.

I do, however, have two sets of goals. I have a minimum of 1,000 words a day – this is what I have to get done. And then, I have a stretch goal of 3,000 words a day. This is what I would like to get done. I don’t always meet or surpass that stretch goal; when I do, it feels amazing. If I don’t? That’s okay. I got my 1k.

So, what I’m saying is, set yourself a goal that you know you can attain, and have a secondary goal of what you want to attain. You aren’t copping out, you aren’t being lazy. You’re making sure that you don’t set yourself up to be disappointed. Raise that secondary goal as often as you feel like you can. If you find yourself constantly and easily meeting that secondary goal, raise the first one up by a bit – challenge yourself, but do it within reason!

I think the last thing that I want to touch on here is that goals are important for building self confidence and habit. I’ve written at least 1,000 words a day every single day since the start of 2016. It was harder to do at first, but now that I’m 5 months in, its like breathing. It’s perfect, and it makes me feel really good about myself to know that I can achieve what I put my mind to. Repetition is key – you form a habit after doing it for a few weeks. Once you’re in the habit of writing – whether it’s every day, a certain amount a week/per month, etc, it will come easier to you! Goals are important for both writing and your every day life, so strive towards setting and keeping them!

Set goals, achieve those goals. Surpass those goals. Get into the habit of it! Your writing will thank you!

Until next time, with the letter H!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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I know that we all think about it. We wrote it when we were young, at least a lot of us did. And some of us, quite a few of us, end up coming back to it later on. (Some of us never left it). The point is, I think that Fanfiction can quite often be the building blocks for our writing when we’re young. We learn how to hone our skills, because we’re working within a world that is already created. We learned that we are capable of writing, and more than that… quite often, we end up getting good reviews and feedback that boost our confidence as a writer.

  Let me tell you the story of a young Author Amanda McCormick… one day, she discovered a magical place called fanfiction.net. She’d already decided that she wanted to be a writer before she’d discovered this place… and finding it only gave her another outlet to kind of experiment and play around. Now, I’m not saying that my fanfics were good – a lot of them were terrible… but I also have some that I’m extremely proud of. I submitted one to a fanfiction contest on Twilight Tales (an L.J. Smith website) and won overall best… and that really boosted my confidence, and really made me feel like I could do something with my writing, that I could be something, that I could go somewhere.

  The point is… fanfiction can really boost how you feel. It can boost your skills. I am still honing my writing skills, and I’m doing it on Fanfiction.

  When Fallout 4 came out, I found a gorgeous, beautiful, amazing storyline held within the story… but I felt like it wasn’t explored enough – I felt like it hadn’t been touched to the depths that it could be… and so… I sat down at my computer and I debated. I didn’t want to write fanfics – I’d strayed away from that and started focusing on original writing.

  But the need to write this story was too strong. The need to complete it, in my mind, was too much…

  So I decided to write a one shot.

  And that one shot turned into a nearly 70,000 word story that has over 10,000 views and is still going strong.

It’s not just that fanfiction that is happening – I’m writing so many stories… and a lot of them have original characters (Quinn and Jack) who are going to be in novels later on – I know for a fact that they’re going to have their own stories, their own books. I’ve developed so much backstory for them, and they’re so original and unique to me… and I’m so happy about it. Every time I write about them, it hypes me more. And every time I write about anything, it gives me the opportunity to expand my writing skills.

  So, never let yourself think that fanfiction is something that you shouldn’t write. Never let anyone make you feel like you’re wasting your time. You aren’t. Every word written helps you improve, and you’re supplying stories for people to enjoy! I personally think that fanfiction writers are amazing people ❤ So, keep on writing that fanfiction – keep on keeping on, because the world wants your stories!

(My Fanfiction can be found HERE! I’d love to see yours as well!)

 

Until next time, with the letter G!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com