Posted in Creative WRiting

Blog Challenge: My Writing Space and Desires

So… I put the question to my writing group, what does your writing space look like right now. What do you want it to look like in the future. To answer this, I’m going to give a little scroll through my phone gallery to see if I have photos, or if I’m going to have to get up (clean the gummy wrappers that my kids keep needing me to open off of the surface) and take a photo.

Or three.

Yeah, three.

Look, I got lazy and decided not to start with my office first. I have an office, okay? It’s cool, it’s where my books live so my kids won’t eat them… and I never get to write in there, currently. You can’t watch a one and a three year old with the door closed.

So, we’re going to go to my gaming desk instead. Is that a sexy folding table you spy? Why yes, yes it is. Is that a rocker glider for a baby as a gaming chair… why yes, yes, it is. Is everything rainbows?

Of course it is, why in the devil would I pick anything else?

Honestly, I adore my gaming setup. You can’t see it, but right beside me I have an enormous shelf full of pop figures, fallout merch, coffee, and other nerdy things. I’d take a picture, but I’d have to clean it off and I don’t want to >_>

I sit at my desk more often than I do anywhere else; it’s behind a little gate, so the kids can’t immediately come up and smack my keyboard (My one year old’s favorite thing now is typing), but I can very, very easily keep an eye and ear out for them. As long as I am working on something that I have in Microsoft Word, a blog, or something that I have in google docs, I can sit here.

“But Amanda, we’ve seen you post pictures in Scrivener from your gaming desktop before, are you making excuses?”

No, random questioner who I just made up! I am not. The problem with Scrivener is my second writing set up, which has forever spoiled Scrivener 1 for me.

My second writing space is my Macbook Air and my lapdesk. This particular space is pretty great, because I can take it with me. It’s portable, it’s light as [insert awful chuckle here] air [keep inserting awful chuckle, because I’m punny, damn it] and it’s honestly a fantastic machine to write on.

It has Scrivener 3.

Scrivener 3. My best friend.

My bane.

You see, everything else that I own is a windows machine, and Scrivener 3 is not on Windows. My documents do not transfer. I can’t work seamlessly on them from machine to machine anymore like I used to.

Are you seeing the problem I’m having here?

Honestly though, it’s kind of all right? I don’t mind to swap to my laptop when I need to for writing novels — it gives me a different, fun headspace. I can, of course, do everything that I can do on my desktop ON my laptop. There are days where it’s just me, my lap desk, my macbook and a can of monster against the world (world being two evil children xD) and I’m fine with that, too. I really love that damn computer ❤

So… yeah. I kind of divvy my time evenly between those to machines, and that’s honestly all find and dandy.

But let me tell you about where I wish I could write.

Imagine thing — a nice, big room with a fireplace (probably a fake one, because real ones are bad for your lungs) crackling in the corner. There are bookshelves on all of the walls, stuffed mostly with books, though some have some fun nerdy things (see: Fallout and Borderlands) and one holds a really gorgeous antique typewriter… and a big stuffy comfy chair in one corner with a lamp beside it, just inviting you to read.

In the other corner is a really old wooden desk, and then a longer wooden desk beside it, making the perfect L-curve. There is not one, not two, but three monitors — the largest one is for writing, the second are for references and music control.

Oh, and the music is on surround sound, because this is my dream and I want to be fancy, damn it.

Mechanical keyboard. Totally rainbowed out. Super comfortable chair.

*gestures* Welcome to my perfect writing space. I have… the rainbows and that initial wooden desk. Yeah — that desk is important. Once upon a time, when I was a wee baby Amanda, I got my Dad’s desk. It’s a solid built thing, because people used to solidly build shit back in the day… I scribbled the word Gollum on it, once upon a time, because htat’s where my little Gollum figure sat. It’s got drawers and cubbies and it’s just a really sentimental part of me.

When I moved from Kentucky to California for ten years, I didn’t think I’d ever get to see it again.

When I moved back from California to Kentucky (See: Price differences between living in those two states with chidlren), I got my desk back.

Leave me alone, I know it’s a cluttered mess.

Fight me. I know it’s messy right now. That’s why I have a long second table build to look close to the same to make it an L-Shaped desk for all of my cluttery notebook needs.

This is my dream anyway, so.

Yeah, I got my desk back. This was the desk where I typed up my first book. This was the desk where I used to sneak at night when I was supposed to sleep to write on a clunky box of a computer that had windows xp on it. This was the desk, and it’s always going to be a part of my dream, because I love it that much. It’s got all of the Amanda novel writing inspiration seeped into the wood of it, and that makes it awesome.

So, what’s your writing space currently? What do you want it to look like? I love to see a little peek into writer’s lives! Let me know if you do this challenge!

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 2019! Tips and Thoughts!

It’s that time again, guys. That time when a million voices come together screaming in excitement, and then panic… and then exhaustion as we race towards the finish line of 50,000 words written in 30 days.

It sounds insane, I know. I feel insane every year that I say I’m going to do it… but here I am, doing it anyway. And, as usual, I can’t do it like a normal person. I have two projects that I am working on personally, and one project that I’m going to be working on with a friend. In the spirit of actual NaNo, I will not feel like a winner unless I get 50,000 words onto one of those projects by itself. My main project is going to be a lot of fun. I made a cover, if you wanna take a peeksie.

Which is one of my first tips to you guys! You want to make sure that, if you can, you make yourself a cover. I know it’s silly, but it oddly does help. It’s something about seeing an image to your idea ❤ I suggest using Canva, if you wanna slap something together yourself!

It’s not just about a cover though… you really need to get excited about your project. I find that one of the easiest ways to do that is to find someone to be excited with you. Whether it’s a friend, or a local writing group, or getting onto the NaNo forums, you need people to talk to. The first and only time that I lost NaNo was in 2011, when I had NO ONE doing it with me. I probably wrote the 50k, but I was so not into the whole NaNo idea that I just… trickled off of the site.

The next year, I made a Skype group and had a group of random friends to join it… and from there, it’s grown into a fantastic Discord Server. If you want to join CLICK HERE CLICK HERE CLICK HERE and come hang out. The thing is, having people who are just as excited as you, and people who are going through this crazy journey with you really does help a lot. On the server, we run sprints, prompts, crawls, and we’re basically an all year writing server to provide encouragement and so you can snag you up some accountability buddies.

Having an accountability buddy is essential. I let my whole server know what is up and my progress, but I have a close friend who I like to be really accountable to. I’ve lost my buddy before, and it makes writing a lot less fun. If you have someone you trust, love, care about? Snag ’em up. They don’t have to be a writer, but it helps, because you’re getting to provide accountability services for them as well.

I’ll be posting more tips and thoughts over the next few days, as well as writing updates as NaNo goes on! If there’s anything you’d like to see, any subject you’d like for me to touch on, just let me know! Until then!

Keep writing and writing, and keep being awesome!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Facebook PageNaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group

Posted in A Night of Writing Dangerously, day one, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Writing Advice, Writing Tips

NaNoWriMo 2014 – Day One

Day One. It Begins.

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So, my word count at the end of day one is 10,055. I am extremely happy with myself, because I got to exactly where I wanted to get to. I sat a goal of getting to 10k today, so that I would be caught up to Day Six in the NaNo world. I realize from participating in National Novel Writing Month last year that getting as far ahead as possible in week one is probably the most important thing that you can do. That way, when you’re going through the perilous struggle of the dreaded Week Two, you are ahead. The worst thing that you can do is to get behind in your Word Count… it gives you a really hopeless feeling, and makes you want to crawl into a corner and hide. Honestly though, there’s no reason to be discouraged! You can pull yourself out of any hole… hell, I’m proof. I literally wrote about 16,000 words today, between this, work and blog posts! You can, too!!!

So, I decided to get ahead. I got ahead. I feel accomplished… and I celebrate with many Redbulls and Kitkats xD

Honestly though, Day One of NaNo is one of the most exciting. You’re getting your start, you’re carving your path! You’re making your way!

(This post will be shorter. My wrists… they sob.)

For me, I’m in the beginning of chapter two, and I’m ready to really get into the meat of my novel for day two. I’m going to try to pace myself for this next week, and just get daily word count (1667) to 3000 words per day. I think I can do it. I know I can do it!

Winners shirt, here I come!

Tomorrow, I’ll talk more about my Novel plot, and my setup in my Scrienver document!

Until then, keep reading and writing!

Author Amanda McCormick

Posted in Uncategorized

Writing is Hard

I was talking to my friend earlier about writing, and how it’s something that seems to be a lot harder than people give those of us who are actually and actively trying to make it as a career give us credit for.

cartoon-writerI’ve probably written a blog about this before. I’ll probably write a blog about this again. You can’t be a writer and seriously want to make a career out of it if you don’t do two very vital things: Continue reading “Writing is Hard”

Posted in Uncategorized

I Crave the Story

It’s a need that burns bright through me – I’ll watch countless movies and see two lips press to one another. On that rare occasion, a film or television show will get that spark, that essence of emotion that I desire… but even then, I want to press pause and crawl into the minds of the people on the screen. It’s not enough to simply watch – I want to know what they are feeling, what they taste, what they think. I want the story behind the emotion, the thoughts behind the passion.

I crave the story.

Even reading a novel, I feel the same. I see things from the perspective of one person, and I wonder so deeply, “What is the other thinking?” I am granted satisfaction, at least, of knowing what one party in a novel thinks. Sometimes authors even grant us the privilege of seeing a scene from the mind of both characters. That is probably the only moment when I get intense fulfillment of a scene. I crave, so very much, the story; the thoughts, the emotions… I want those. I want that spark that happens when people kiss, when they see one another for the first time, when they brush hands, brush with death. I want those emotions – I want to lock them up in my mind and keep them forever.

I think it’s a huge reason that I write. I can’t always attain the story that I want; books don’t always give it to me, shows so often tease at it, movies brush over it. But when I write? When I write, that story is mine, it’s coming from my fingers, from my thoughts, I can close my eyes and let myself think, feel, touch, taste… imagine it all as my characters are seeing it. It’s the story that I crave, and in the moments when I am writing, it’s mine.

Just a little stint here, one of the thousands of reasons that I write. Late night musings 🙂 Question? Do you, as a writer, have that same, intense need?

 

Until next time, keep reading and writing!

Author Amanda McCormick

Posted in Uncategorized

30 Day Writing Challenge, Day 2. Write a Fanfiction! (TAKE TWO!)

So, day two of the Thirty Day Writing Challenge.

I have to say I’m having fun with this, and I’m trying to use it as a venue to make sure I write at least once a day. I hope you guys will enjoy as I keep working on it! So… for day, two!!!

Day 2: Write a fanfiction

So… take two on this. I actually found the story still opened in a tab on my computer – where I’d opened the blog post to make sure that it was okay. So… yay! See, previous post still stands. Things always find a way to work themselves out!

(Fourth Fanfiction that I finally chose to write)

WARNING! SPOILERS FOR THE FORBIDDEN GAME BY L.J. SMITH BELOW! DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!

They say to be unmade is the most painful thing that one can experience… honestly though, it wasn’t all that bad. There was pain – I’m not trying to tell you that there wasn’t. However, there was a peaceful feeling that poured through me, a thought that perhaps… just perhaps, the pain that I had felt during my existence was over. There was, also, the fact that Jenny… my sweet Jenny… was looking at me with eyes full of regret for my death, was promising to dream me into a world full of light.

It was a funny thought for a Shadowman.

Of course, soon all thoughts slipped away, and for a while I imagined that I was nothing, a nothingness, a shadow that floated through the endless reaches of space and time without a true purpose. Perhaps I was even in that land of light that Jenny spoke of. I couldn’t tell you.

What I can tell you is that it isn’t dying that is agonizing. It isn’t being unmade. No, the true pain is elicited when you are brought back into this world. It was as though I could feel each letter of my name being carved back onto the staff.

J

Thoughts and memories flooded back to me – Jenny’s green eyes, the way that she stared at me so defiant, so demanding, so passionate… so sorrowful of my death. Pain rocked through my body, as though every nerve ending that I no longer possessed was on fire.

U

My body was pooling around me like a candle melting in reverse. Bone covered with muscle, with tendon, with blood, with flesh.

L

My entire frame began to rock and shake as that blood began to pulse through my veins again. Though I’d heard our kind often described as beings without hearts… I could feel my heart struggling to beat once more… one sick, wet thud… and then another, another, another.

I

With each pulse of blood pushing through my body, that pain circulated more and more – I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t open my mouth to scream. It took everything that I had to inhale a deep, sharp breath of air. I wondered then, was I in Hell? Did my good deed at the end of my life do nothing to make up for all of my transgressions prior? I would have deserved it. I knew I would have deserved it… and yet I couldn’t make myself believe it. No… hadn’t Jenny promised me light?

A

Light… a world with no shadows. There was light spilling through my closed lids now. I finally managed to open my mouth, letting out a ragged gasp of painful agony – the blood pulsed quicker through my veins, the pain fading away as I realized… what I was feeling was my body knitting back together, my very form existing once more. What I was feeling was new lungs pulling in oxygen that burned, a heart that hadn’t beat in such a long time struggling to remember how to do its job. I was feeling the reality of… existence. And I was remembering, suddenly, how harsh that reality was. I could feel my hair now, tickling soft against my closed lids.

N

Those lids opened, and eyes as blue as the deepest of glaciers flashed in the darkness, dilated pupils going to pinpricks as light flooded my senses. I could see myself, for just a moment, in my minds eyes… hair as white as fresh fallen snow sticking to my sweating forehead… a lean, muscular frame curled nude against the floor. Dark brows knit together in confusion, full mouth twisted as the last of the pain faded away.

Julian… I was reborn. I was Julian once more. And beside me laid the Runestave. Where the jagged gash of my name had once been, the runes were carved smooth and perfect. More shocking, however… was the fact that my elders, each and every one of them, had their names carved out violently.

I was the only one left…

I sat up, my body quivering, muscles unused to any kind of movement. My eyes swept the darkness of the room slowly. I didn’t know where I was… and more important, I had no idea how I had come to be here, or who had brought me back from that floating nothingness… who had killed my elders and literally saved me from a fate that had been carved in stone.

Who had brought me back to life?

There we go! Random musings from The Forbidden Game, by L.J. Smith.

I could not, for the life of me, figure out what to write a fanfiction about. I think it’s because I’m a fan of so many different things now that I was like… oh, this! No! This! NO THIS THIS THIS! My brain was at war… so I defaulted to the thing that I love, something that I obsessed over when I was younger… and something that I want to reread now! So, enjoy!

Until next time, keep reading and writing!

Author Amanda McCormick

Posted in Uncategorized

NaNoWriYe

So! Apparently I’m signing up for something called NaNoWriYe. It’s not as intensive as NaNoWriMo, and it certainly won’t be the time sucker that NaNo was. It just seems to be a proboards forum where you can sign up for an amount of words that you plan to write this year… and receive support from the insane people who plan on joining in. Writer tip 201: Having a support system is an amazing thing. While we writers are often times very solitary creatures when we work, guarding our free time like a mama bear guards her cubs, I also find that I really like the support that online friends can give. They don’t make actual noise, you can minimize them when needed… but they are always there to offer you a helpful word or a cheer when you need it.

I honestly can’t argue with that!

So, I have signed up for NaNoWriYe 2014, with a goal of 500k words for the year. Honestly, that sounds like it’s not very much to me. I plan on trying to get at least 2k a day done, plus extra… but we’ll see how it goes. I’m sure I can always change my goal count if I surpass. I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again this year, of course… there are so many exciting prospects for 2014 when it comes to writing, including me finally buckling down and getting something ready to be sent in to publishers. I’m excited!

On a completely side note, I am getting an amazing 3DS game (Theatrhythm) and a really nice HD webcam. I’m thinking that I’m going to try to venture into the realm of vlogging (I will always post links to them here), just to see if that’s a good way to reach out to people as well. Honestly, I’m a little nervous about it, because I’m actually a socially awkward person… but it sounds like it could be something fun.

I’m always willing to try.

2014 is about pushing my limits above and beyond, and seeing how much I can really do! I hope you set the same goals for yourself!

Until next time!

-Amanda McCormick

Posted in Uncategorized

Writing Tip – A Proper Place To Work

So, one of my very first bits of advice, which I didn’t follow myself for a long, long while… you need a proper space to work. You don’t have to have an office, you don’t have to have a room for just work… but you need a place that is your work station.

I wasn’t thinking about this for a long time – I was doing my work on the couch, in the bed… wherever I was at the time. This actually had a really negative influence on my work. The thing about our brains would be the simple fact that they associate a location with what you DO in that location. I’m on the couch: Oh, I could turn on the TV while I work. I’m in my bed: Oh, a nap sounds fantastic.

What I needed all along was something like this!

I’m at my desk: Oh, let’s make coffee and get to work.

 

I also find that it’s important to personalize your work space. Mine is new, so I’m still working on it… but I have my little rabbit who captains my coffee cannon, my post it ninja, my makeshift calendar, a painting… just a few things to make me feel like this is MY area.

 

 

Honestly, the difference is amazing. You won’t realize it until you have your space, but your ability to concentrate, to associate this space as YOUR writing space, the space that you go to think? I promise, it’ll make all the difference in the worl

Cheers guys, and until next time!

-Amanda McCormick, your friendly aspiring author and freelance writer!

Posted in Uncategorized

A Writer’s Life

(Doing a copy/paste for my blogs from blogger!) 

 

As a freelance author who also enjoys writing novels in her free time, I’ve been asked quite a few times as to how I manage to do freelance work. Honestly, it’s not easy, it’s not steady… writing is a whirlwind of people wanting and loving your work and then dry spells that would make even a nun faint. However, through this blog, I am hoping to give writing advice, to post some of my own stuff… and to just generally give insight to the life of a writer.

So, you can look forward to tips and tricsk for Freelance Commissioning, Writing Tips, some of my own personal feelings/struggles/thoughts as a writer, and excerpts from my work! I am hoping that this blog will be able to reach out to people, to get both the information and my name out there! Rule number one to writing: If people don’t know your name, you need to try harder!

 

-Amanda McCormick