Archive for the ‘Writing Tips’ Category

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This is a question that has come up a lot in my writing group and from other people — how do you write when you aren’t feeling well? How do you keep up consistency when you feel like going to bed and not waking up for a week.

I think in this instance, we have to look back to a few things that I’ve highlighted before. I don’t set one daily goal for myself, I have two. I have a minimum goal and a stretch goal. When you’re sick, you really, really don’t have to aim for more than that minimum goal. You set it low on purpose, as something that you know you can accomplish, even if you only have 10-15 minutes a day to get words in. It might suck to write while you’re sick, but it will suck even worse to fall off for a week and have to start all over again building up your writing habit.

So… my advice is to get yourself a cup of hot chocolate, or a sprite, or whatever makes you feel better… cuddle in your covers… and just get to writing. It might be hard, it might suck, but just struggle through to that minimum count. A few tips? Write on your phone — most smartphones have writing programs that you can access now. Another tip? Don’t put it off! I’ve noticed that I feel worse as the day goes on; get it done when you wake up and you have the most energy.

And finally, the most important tip? Don’t be hard on yourself. If you hit that 250 word minimum goal you set (which is the minimum goal I suggest for a lot of people because that’s equivalent to a page <3) just stop if you feel like it. You take care of you ❤

SIDENOTE: If you are EXTREMELY ILL (like, you need to go to the hospital, you can’t lift your arms, what are you even doing reading a blog?) just go to sleep, you ninny. xD

 

Author Amanda McCormick

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*Eyes header* Daily writing… oh, I’m supposed to be doing that, huh? I’ve finally hammered myself out a proper schedule that I want to start with again, and I am determined to keep with it. That is one of the hardest and best things that you can do when you’re really trying to establish a writing habit.

You (and when I say you, I mean me xD And it might work for you, too) need to have some sort of game plan when it comes to your writing if you are trying to take it seriously and make it a job. I’m not saying that you have to have a strict and stringent amount that you always stick to. I’m not saying that the world will implode if something happens and you can’t do it.

But having a plan, mapping it out, figuring out your goals for the day? It helps a lot. It gives you boxes to check when you’re done and a feeling of accomplishment when you’ve done it.

It’s more than that, though. I’ve talked about goals a lot, but they aren’t just to show you the finish line so you have something to work towards. They’re there to show you when it is okay to stop, and when it’s okay to not feel guilty that you’re done. That sounds weird, right? But, as someone who writes for a living… I pretty much feel guilty any time that I’m not writing. I could have done 5,000 words for the day, and if I take time to play a video game for a few hours (Hello, Stardew Valley Beta, you beautiful thing you) I feel guilty. I think to myself, “I should be writing right now. I could get more words.”

You can’t do that to yourself. Yeah, writing can consume your mind. Yeah, you can draw storylines from things as silly as Stardew Valley… but, sometimes, you have to give your brain a rest. Sometimes, you have to know that it’s okay to stop. That’s what goals are good for. If you hit that 1k, 2k, 3k goal — if you hit that 250 word goal — if you hit that 1 page goal…

You did it. Congrats. Yes, you can keep going. Yes, it’s awesome if you do. But you don’t have to. You can rest, and you can rest without feeling guilty.

I don’t know if this is a problem you guys run into a lot, but I know it’s something that I’ve had issues with more than once.

So, that’s my bit of advice for the day ❤ I hope it helps, and I’d love to hear your thoughts! If there’s a subject you want me to touch on for the next blog, leave it in the comments or email me!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Facebook PageNaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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Oh, man. That feels like all I’ve been able to do lately… playing peekaboo from around my child and prodding at my writing. I’m still managing to get things done on my commissions, but it’s set me behind on blogging. I am going to change that though. I want to get back to posting at least 2 times a week ❤ You guys have been amazing!

My husband and I are going to try to buy our first house soon instead of this renting business! It’s just gotten me even more serious than I already was about writing and making money off of it. If you’ve been enjoying my blog or anything of the sort, please check out my Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com link, or my PATREONwhich are both in huge support of my writing, and the content that I can produce with this blog. I’m going to be going double and triple time here in trying to get out blogs/commissions/articles and anything else that I can do to help scrounge and save for a downpayment to a house!

And therein is the writing tip of this blog. I have had so many people ask me how I get my focus, and how I concentrate and get so much writing done. The simple fact is this: there’s no easy trick. There’s no magical tip that will make you bust out words like there’s no tomorrow. It’s all about dedication, it’s about focus, and it’s about being willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to get things done ❤ Get an accountability buddy and get to. If you need one, I’m always happy to help!

Anyway, that’s all for this short blog, but expect a lot more and more frequently! If you want a commission, feel free to contact me at amandaleannemccormick@gmail.com!

How has your writing been going, guys? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! And remember, Camp NaNo is right around the corner!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Facebook PageNaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

 

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I’m not sure that “Writing Tips and Tricks” is exactly the right banner for this piece, but since I wasn’t sure where else to stick it… it’s just gonna have that one and we’re gonna roll with it. Anyway, hey guys! I wanted to touch on something that is an every day thing for any of us who write — whether it is your immediately family of your parents, siblings, or cousins… or whether it’s your husband/wife, or child. Your doggo or kitty, or reptilian friend…

Writing with family can be complicated. It’s not just about the fact that you have to navigate through activities that will eat up your writing time — it’s also about the fact that having a support system on that emotional level can be very important for you. I can’t talk from everyone’s perspective, but I can give a little peeksie into my life, and how I navigate being a wife, a mother and a friend while still getting my writing done! Maybe it will help you out, too!

First and foremost, I have a supportive partner. I’ve dated writers before, and while there was something lovely about that in the fact that we related to one another, I have actually found myself happier with someone who doesn’t write. Writing is my passion, and while Josh and I share quite a few passions in common, being able to have something that is my own is important. It’s part of my identity, and something that I can enjoy on my own. However, Josh is extremely supportive. That’s kinda my tip number one: when you have a partner, it’s so important that they’re supportive of your passion, even if it’s not a passion that they share in common with you.

I’ve been encouraged by him to get my writing done, even when I felt like I couldn’t do it. It’s just… it’s something that you can’t replace, and something that I think is so important for anyone who has a passion that they want to help blossom.

As a secondly important thing, I have this baby here — he takes a lot of my time away from me, and I know that it’s not that easy to function as a new mother and someone who also wants to be productive. I took my time getting back into writing; self care is what this second part is about. Make sure that you find your own flow. Make sure that you find out how much you can do, and how you can do it… but then do it. Don’t let yourself stop just because your life has changed. Don’t give up your passions just because you are a new parent. There’s still time. It’s just about finding the ability to fit them in around your new schedule. I figured out that schedule, and now I have time to write!
Honestly though, everything is about balance. Find a partner that is your balance – find time to write while taking care of your baby. Find time to balance your world ❤ It is what is really important about all of this. I’m going to  be writing a lot more on this subject, I think – I want to do a lot of touching on this and how I still end up doing things in my weekly  updates!
So, until then! Keep reading and writing, y’all!
Author Amanda McCormick

Life and Writing

Hello, everyone! You haven’t heard from me since the end of NaNo (I won with around 112,000 words!), and that’s because I needed a break after all of that writing. Well, that and the fact that my little one has been majorly fussy for the past week. I wanted to go ahead though and let you guys know what the future of this blog was going to be, what with the baby, the new year, and everything else!

No worries! Of course! I’m actually going to try to get back onto a daily posting schedule, while maybe taking the weekends as a “could post, but might just nap” time. I will be featuring weekly “What I’m Reading/Author/Book spotlights” or Book reviews, if I’ve finished the novel. I’ll be doing weekly writing prompts again. I’ll also have up writing tips/writing with kiddos tips, more about books and reading, and my overall thoughts! I’m really excited to dive back into it! I’d also love to hear from you guys!

Have you written a book and you want to be featured on the blog? Just hit me up here, or send me an email – amandaleannemccormick@gmail.com! If you have any blog suggestions or any tips that you’d like for me to discuss, I’d love to hear about it. Part of what I adore so much with this blog is getting to interact with all of you! I can’t wait to dive back in to posting every day!

Until then!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Monthly Wrap Up

Scratch the month in the photo and bring it up to the word yearly, and you’ll have exactly where I am! I’m going to go ahead and get my Yearly Writing Update, and I apologize for the fact that I haven’t give you monthly updates for the past little bit. Like I said (like I’ve said way too much) I’ve been busy and having things going on a lot… but all of that should be coming to a head soon, and I should be able to go into what’s actually been going on! I’m excited for that.

Anyway, no need to explain those things. Let’s get on with the update!

yearHere it is. It’s just a small chart, and it seems like it doesn’t hold that much… but goodness me, it holds all of my writing for the year. I can’t believe that I got so far. Let’s start first with the goals that I set for myself.

Main Yearly Goal: Write 1000 words every day of the year. I am super proud to say that I accomplished this! There were times when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to, and times when I wanted to cheat and count writing that really shouldn’t count… but I sucked it up and I made it through. I stuck to my personal goals and the parameters I set myself at the beginning of the year… and I made it. I had to fight for it some months, and some months it came completely effortless… but I made it. And more than that, I really learned a few things about myself. Writing every day helps with my stress, and it truly does form a proper habit. On the days that I didn’t get to write my words until close to the end of the day, I felt stressed, I felt unhappy, I felt incomplete. Writing is a part of me, and this year of experience taught me that.

2016 Stretch Goal: Write 1 million words in the year. As you can see, I didn’t accomplish this goal, but I’m not upset about it. I set my stretch goal as something that I will have to perform excellently to achieve, as something that I will have to super push myself to do. It’s something that I can work towards, so that I have the ability to push myself and to better myself. I didn’t make it, but I made it extremely far. If I’d have kept my goal of only 1,00o words a day, I would have had around 400,000 words.

Instead, I have nearly 850,000. I doubled what I wanted to do, I doubled my minimum goal. I damn near got to my 1 million. It gives me hope, and it gives me something to work even harder towards in 2017.

Reflections:

Overall, 2016 was a pretty amazing year for writing. I ended up getting back into fanfiction fairly hardcore throughout the year, and I’ve made some fantastic relationships and expanded my writing ability over it. I’ve started on a second draft for my novel Cerulean Darkness, which is something that I’ve never ventured into before. I’ve also set a pace for myself for my writing this year.

I’m going to do at least 500 words every day in creative writing – original creative writing – throughout 2017. I’ve gotten more comfortable with short stories, with writing prompts, and with blogging. I’ve expanded my readers by so many, and I really have to thank all of you for that. You’ve been amazing, and an inspiration. Getting to talk with all of you and get your input as well as getting to know you has been a real pleasure.

I feel like I’ve grown as a writer in 2016. I feel like I’ve expanded my abilities, and opened so many doors for myself… and I’m so excited to walk through those in 2017 and see where they lead. I’ve set myself some fantastic goals, and I can’t want to start striving for them!


I would love to hear about your year in review. How did you do on your writing goals? How have you grown as a writer? Let me know!

Until next time, you guys! Keep reading and writing, and keep being amazing!
Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Writing Tips and Tricks

Oh, so my tip is going to involve me actually doing what my tip says… that’ll be interesting. Honestly, I thought that this was one of the best ways for me to get back into properly blogging – with a tip, and that tip is something that I’m going to take myself.

When you’ve found yourself falling out of your writing habits, the best thing that you can do is to just Jump Right In. That’s right – feet first. Don’t think about what you need to plan, or what you need to do, or how you need to do it. Just… just do the thing. I’ve been sitting and not working on my blog, and yesterday I should have started posting again… but I was too busy thinking about how it wouldn’t work properly, and an Update Monday after I haven’t been writing wouldn’t flow… this, that, and one excuse after another. The simple fact is, you can’t wait for a perfect moment. You can’t wait for the perfect thing.

You just have to do it.

I was going to wait until I felt a little better, and then I realized that I’m not going to be any more sick sitting here and writing out this blog than I would if I was sitting here and watching youtube videos. It’s just a matter of being determined and realizing that you’re going to have to do what you need to do.

So, yes, this is my tip for you. File away those excuses for another day – if you let yourself drop off of your writing habits, don’t beat yourself up over it. I still managed to get my 1k a day, thankfully, but I haven’t been blogging or writing very creatively lately. Just jumping back into blogging every day seemed so daunting… but you can’t let that fear stop you from doing the things that you want to do. You can’t let yourself get overwhelmed… and you can’t make excuses. If you’re tired, you still have 10 minutes to write… if you’re cold, warm your fingers up and write for 10 minutes. If you haven’t properly written a blog in a month and you’re afraid that you’re going to do a bad job (Yes, self, I’m talking to you) then just do it anyway.

You won’t regret it. It may not be the best thing that you’ve ever cranked out, if you’re just getting back into the habit of it… but it’s going to be a beginning. It’s going to be a start, and the sooner you shift yourself back into your proper habits, the sooner it’s going to be coming smoothly to you again. Think of it that way.

Until next time guys!!! Keep reading and writing, and keep being absolutely awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

My Discord Group (click to join) is starting to rev up for NaNoWriMo! If you want some help with plotting and a group to stay steady with after, feel free to click and join!

 

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I’ve touched on this particular subject before, but I wanted to have a blog specific to it, so that you could find it easily in my directory. I’ve recently had the subject brought up again… and it’s something that I think a lot of writers worry about.

Originality. 

I swear, if I could somehow make that a four letter word, I would. As writers, we are always worried about being original, about our ideas being out done, out played, out written, over saturating the market to the point of being completely redundant to write.

Someone’s already done this idea. Maybe I just shouldn’t.

Oh, I hate hearing that. Even though I have the thought myself sometimes, I hate hearing it.

I’m going to give you a solid piece of advice, and it’s something that I need to follow just as much as everyone else.

Yes, someone has already done it.

No, someone has not already done it in the way that you can.

There’s nothing wrong with doing an idea that’s already been done, because I can promise you that most things have already been written about. In a platform that has existed for as long as people had the capability to tell stories, I can promise you that every story has been told. The difference is, every story hasn’t been told in the way that you can tell it.

The fact is, there are formulas for every type of story telling. Example:

Fantasy Plot – there are dragons, someone in distress, a quest, and epic magic/and or battles.

Romance Plot – Person A meets person B. They don’t love each other at first, but they fall in love over ____ event.

Horror – The blonde always dies first. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself with that one.)

But, you see… those things are only formulas… they’re bare bones guidelines, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to make your story generic, just like everything else. In fact, they’ve existed for so long for a reason. 

People like to read stories that follow those formulas.

Yes, we want something different to happen within the parameters of those formulas… and that’s where you come in. You are bringing something unique, that only you have. You’re bringing something that no one else has ever brought to the table before – and that’s your uniqueness and creativity. No one has been inside of your mind (unless you have something you need to tell me about o-o), and no one can make the characters or bring the experiences and emotion that you can bring.

Therein lies the core of this topic – your story will be unique, because you’re the only you who could ever write it.

So, if you’re worried about someone else having your idea? Yeah, they probably have… but that’s not what matters. What matters is the uniqueness that you can bring to the table – what matters is the fact that you’re telling a tale as old as time, and we all want to hear it, because you’re telling it in a new way that only you can bring to the world.

Don’t be afraid – don’t let your fears stop you from writing something that could be amazing. Don’t let your doubts hold you down. You take your idea, and you run with it, my dear writer, because I for one believe in you and everything that you’re capable of doing.

I want to see your story.

Until next time, you guys! Keep reading and writing, and keep being amazing!
Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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Hey all! Look, I made a new image while I tried to figure out what to blog about today… and it was actually making that image that brought me to a realization of what I wanted to write about.

Sometimes, we just need to distract ourselves for a few minutes. I came to my desktop with the full intentions of immediately pumping out a blog. Instead, I took the time to check my Discord Chat (Click the link if you’d like to join!), I made myself an iced coffee… I chatted with some friends on skype… and then I decided that I wanted to make a new blog header, specifically for tips and tricks.

And then, once I was done, I actually felt like writing. Sometimes, we can’t immediately jump into our projects, as much as we want to. Sometimes, we can’t even do warm up exercises to get ourselves ready to write.

Sometimes, we just have to fool around, knowing that we are going to write, and wait for our brain to catch up to that little fact. I know I sometimes leave my muse upstairs in my bed, and it has to finally kick off the covers and follow me to the computer before I’m ready to get started for the day.

Now, I’m not saying that you should spend all day procrastinating by any means. If you have a set time of when you can write (like, if you only have 30 minutes to an hour allotted for writing time) you should certainly hop to it. But if you spend 5 of those minutes messing around and allowing yourself to mentally work up to the task that you’re about to take on, that’s okay.

If you’re like me, and you have plenty of time… taking 20 minutes to properly acclimate yourself to the task at hand isn’t a bad thing at all. Sometimes, what we need is a chance to prepare, and to charge up… before we charge into a writing battle. The entire time that I was looking at the things I listed above, I was contemplating what I wanted to write about. I narrowed it down from working on a story to doing a blog. From there, I narrowed it down from Flash Fiction to doing something about tips… but I wasn’t sure what. I took the time that I spent messing around to figure myself out, and once I did, I could set to task.

So, don’t feel guilty if it takes you a little bit sometimes before you start writing – it’s not a matter of immediately starting. It’s a matter of starting, and getting those words down. It’s a matter of letting the world that is hiding inside of your mind leak out to the page through your fingertips. You’ve got this. You are an extremely creative being… and sometimes, we extremely creative beings need to tool around on twitter and tumblr for 20 minutes before we start creation.

And there is nothing wrong with that!

So, until next time, you guys! Keep reading and writing, and keep being amazing!
Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

affirmations

So, it’s been just a bit since I’ve done one of these, since I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo in the form of July Camp for the past little bit. I thought that it was high time that I did one… especially since I’ve been letting myself get a little down over the fact that my wrist hurting is making me want to write less. So, today’s affirmation is really about that! Creativity Affirmation #14:

Writing less does not make me less of a writer.

Oh, I really like the sound of that one. Just because the amount of words that you put out is less than you’re used to (in my case, I’m just scratching my 1,000 word minimum some days), it doesn’t mean that you’re any less of a writer. Sometimes, life happens. Sometimes, pain happens. Sometimes, things happen that makes it so that you aren’t capable of sitting and writing for an interrupted amount of time that would allow you to exceed your writing goals. In my case, I can write for small bursts of time before my wrist starts hurting – that, paired with the fact that I’m trying to rest it as much as I can (while still writing, because I’d go crazy otherwise) means that I’m not having 4-5 thousand word days very often. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of hair of a 10k day in longer than I’d like to admit.

I’m just kind of floating by, and doing as much as I can stand without hurting myself. And that is okay. That does not make me any less of a writer.

If you’re busy – if you have a job, a busy life, a family, whatever, and you can’t write a mass amount of words… guess what? It doesn’t make you any less of a writer. If you get busy and you can’t write so much for a few days? It doesn’t make you any less of a writer. It makes you human, and that’s something that we all (at least most of us, I hope) are. You’re still an amazing writer – you’re still an amazing person. You’re just a person that life is happening to, and that’s okay, too.

I’ve noticed, at least with myself… I tend to compare each day to the best day that I’ve had. It’s easy to look at myself and go “But I wrote (insert amount) of words that one day, so why did I only write 1001 today?” We can’t do that, because life, and how we write is as fluctuating and changing as the wind; we have ups and downs, good days and bad… and it’s that which gives us variety and makes us have the life experiences that allows us to be inventive and creative writers. After all, our up days are wonderful… but if we could always spend all of the hours of the day writing, we’d never have the life experiences to fill the pages with.

Be content with your writing, and be content in knowing that you don’t always have to reach your best, you just have to try your best. Honestly, I think that the latter is the best option.

Until next time, guys. Keep reading and writing, and keep being awesome!

Author Amanda McCormick

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