Posted in Creative WRiting

Writing Tips Alphabet Series – A is for… Accountability.

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  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

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

Writer’s Block? Yes or No?

Hey! So, for those of you who don’t know, I do a blog challenge over on my Discord Server! I thought that I would get fancy and actually make a picture for it… because why not? if you want to, feel free to follow along! I’m going to start posting links to the people who join, the people who write, and the blogs that they post! If you’re participating over on Instagram instead, I’ll reblog you there!

Anyway, today’s challenge is:

I made a fancy picture, pretty nifty, eh? Not really, I know.

I know, I know. I think I’ve written a blog or two on this before. But thoughts and feelings change through the years, and I like to revisit some topics, especially when I’m doing a blog challenge.

So, my answer on this used to be a hot take… but it seems like authors have so much more of a voice lately, so there are so many different answers. I’m actually excited to see what people think about this one, because I always find the perspective of this question fascinating.

For me, on a personal level, I do not believe in writer’s block. I do not believe that a little muse is on my shoulder, fickle and hateful and willing to abandon me in my time of need. I believe that you can feel inspired to write, certainly, but I don’t think that any kind of block of absence of a muse can stop you from doing it even if you don’t feel like it. To me, writer’s block is just a mental thing that you have to overcome — either you’re going to say to yourself “Look, self, you’re gonna write anyway. It might take an hour instead of ten minutes, but you’re going to get this scene.” Or… you can go and lay on the couch and binge Dexter on Netflix for the tenth time while eating left over Panda.

I mean.

That isn’t a glimpse into my life, really…

The thing is, even though I don’t believe in Writer’s Block, I sometimes let it get me anyway. I know that it isn’t a real thing. I am aware of the fact that all that I have to do is get up, get onto my computer, and get to writing… and you know what?

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I say, “No. I’m blocked. Can’t do it. Not today.” I let myself fall into that trap of writer’s block, even if it’s something that I mentally know doesn’t exist and doesn’t stop me from getting my words in. It’s easier sometimes than facing the fact that I don’t want to write.

And that’s what I’m getting to here. I think as writers, we often times feel like we have to want to write all of the time, no matter what, we are always inspired and the words are always flitting from our fingers like little sparks of joy.

No.

Haha, no. One of the main things that has really helped me to get over the concept of ‘writer’s block’ as a whole is realizing that I’m not always going to feel like writing. There are days when it’s actually a bit of a chore to get up and get to typing… but more often than not, once I actually get over that initial hurdle of my couch calling me to watch Dexter or Lucifer, or house renovation shows… once I get to typing… I realize that it’s not actually that hard. If I have a deadline, if I need to get x amount of words, I can always get up and do it… and in the end, my words when I’m feeling inspired and englightened are just as good as the words that I get when I’m feeling sluggish and need four cups of coffee just to get the motor running.

When we can forgive ourselves for not being constantly inspired, and not constantly wanting to write, I think that it’s a lot easier to get to it even when it doesn’t come easily to you. And more than that… I think it’s easier to give yourself that binge break occasionally when you need a mental break, as long as you have the awareness that it isn’t happening because of some huge, unsurmountable wall that you can’t get over. You can stop, watch TV for a few hours, and then get up and get back to writing the next day. There is no writer’s block — there is writer’s guilt.

Stop being guilty. It’s okay.

Of course, this is just my personal take on this! I’d love to hear what you guys think!

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

Concentration

I am suffering from an inability to concentrate. I’m used to be able to get out and get some energy out, or get out so that I can come back and focus… and here I am, not being able to get out. It’s messing with my concentration (that, and the fact that my children are wilding out because of the stir craze).

So, how do you deal with your concentration being a bit wrecked because you don’t have the ability to follow whatever usual routine you used to have?

Well, first of all, you accept the fact that your routine just isn’t going to be the same for the moment, and there isn’t anything wrong with it. You might be able to get more words, you might be able to get less… but things are going to be a little different… so… you need to establish a new routine. Set yourself up a new schedule, set yourself expectations. You have to change things around so that you’re getting a new habit going — unless your habits haven’t been changed by everything going on… in which case ❤ Awesome and you keep on keeping on!

❤ These are the things that have worked for me, though. I downloaded Microsoft To-Do (across phone and computer), I set new goals for myself, and I try to just get it done as much as I can. And as for concentration (I’ve been writing this blog for the past hour because of the lack of it), just steal away the quiet moments that you can. Set yourself apart at least 15-30 minutes to write if you can manage, and take advantage of it. Do what you can, the best you can. It’s all that you can do right now ❤

I think the most important piece of advice, and the one that I can give a 100% stamp of “this is right” on is this… don’t be hard on yourself right now. Things are weird, things are changing, and you are allowed to be thrown off ❤ Just keep trying.

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 Software Highlight – Microsoft To Do

So, I love to talk about writing programs that help me along the way, because I really love to read about people and their tips and tricks, how they end up helping my favorite writers to get their work done.

I recently got a MacBook, so I was loading it with new programs… and one of the programs that I found was Microsoft ToDo.

It’s a really simple program. It launches when I turn my computer. It’s just a list — a little list that shows me what I need to be doing for the day… and when you do it, it marks off and makes a nice little bing noise.

I’m a sucker for a pleasing noise xD

Anyway, I sometimes think that it is the simple programs that can really help us the most. In my case, this goes onto my phone as well — I have constant reminders of what I need to do, when I need to do it, and what I have done. No matter how you do it, I think that setting goals and then keeping track of your tasks is one of the more important things that you can do, if you’re trying to keep a schedule. You’re holding yourself accountable, and if you share it with a friend, they are, too!

Do you have a list? Do you bujo, maybe? Let me know how you keep track of your tasks!

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

Not Enough?

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So, yeah… as the title might imply, what do you do when it isn’t enough? And by this, at least in my situation, I mean… when what you’re writing, or how you’re doing it… just isn’t enough for you anymore. I still make my money by doing commissions, and I adore that. But there’s a part of me that really just isn’t completely satisfied with it anymore.

I love writing for other people — I love how much they enjoy their stories once I’ve finished them. I adore hearing how I’ve brought to life an idea that they thought would be forever stuck in their head… but…

I want to be putting my own stories out there. I want to have my original writing seen, more than just through fanfics. SO… what do you do when it isn’t enough?

Easy, you look for what is and you go for it. It’s gonna be hard, but I’m going to do my darn hardest to have two books to decide between for querying by the end of the year (I said that before in my goals). I’m also going to get some stuff put out there via amazon or smashwords. I can’t just sit around and not anymore — I have to try. Maybe it will work? Maybe it won’t.

But at least I’ll be going for it, as opposed to just sitting in a safe zone.

So… today my thoughts and writing advice are this: push yourself. If you’re feeling stagnant, like it isn’t enough… go for it. Yeah, you might fail. But… do you know what would be worse than failing?

Never trying at all.

So, I’m going to challenge you. Write a blog — state what your goals are, where you want to go, where you want to be as a writer. Link back to me.

Let’s do this together!

Until then, you guys! Keep reading, and keep writing!

Author Amanda McCormick

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Posted in Creative WRiting

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*Stares at the title of the photo she picked out* Daily Writing Blog. Yes, I’m going to try to get back to that. Things have been kind of beyond crazy on my end. I made a cross country move, didn’t have a house to move into (yay for sisters who love you <3), found a house to move into… had the roof in that house caved-in in the living room… (yay for sisters who still love you, lol), waited for the roof to get fixed… found out the carpet was trashed… >_> (Yay for my sister. Lol.)… but finally, finally we got everything sorted and settled!

Now we’re just working on still getting everything in the house totally homey. We recently finished getting my kids room baby proofed, so the only room left is…

MY OFFICE. That’s right, guys. I have a writing room, an office, a place for me to get all of my writing things done. >_> I just need bookshelves! (If you would like to randomly donate a bookshelf, check RIGHT HERE xD) I’m honestly really excited about it, because I’ve never had a space that was specifically and solely for writing before. I’ve always had to work at a desk in a room with other people, in my room in a corner somewhere… never in a place where I could go in, shut the door… and that be my world.

Having that area is going to make me really buckle down for this. I have a goal to have my rewrite of Cerulean Darkness finished by the end of the year, as well as Limbo; I want the two books to choose between for publishing. I’m also going to start publishing short stories, and I intend to have one of those up by the end of the year as well.

Basically, once I get that office done, I’m going to really give it my all. And ❤ I hope you guys are happy and willing to see me around a lot more, because I plan on getting back to blogging full force.

 

Until then, you guys! Keep reading, and keep writing!

Author Amanda McCormick

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Posted in Creative WRiting, Writing Question, Writing Tips, Writing Tricks

Writing When Sick

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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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Posted in Creative WRiting, Writing Challenge

My Writing Challenge

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Hey everyone! I decided to do a little challenge for my Discord Server, and it’s going to be posted here so you can all participate as well (though, feel free to clicky click here and join the server if you’d like). Anyway, I’ve talked to the members there quite a few times, and we frequently discuss the fact that having a social media presence is important if you plan on publishing. Whether it’s traditionally, in which case showing an agent that you already have a built-in audience is beneficial, or self-publishing… which, of course, having a built-in audience speaks for itself! Social media is important.

So, I decided that I would help the members of my group (and any of you who want to participate) by giving blog topics/prompts/etc to write on! So many people have trouble keeping up with a regular blog, so… I thought I’d make it a little easier by giving prompts and challenges for people to complete in order to help them jump-start their very own blog!

I’ll be pulling from multiple places: My mind, first of all. That means the occasional Currently, WIP, what are you reading, etc, blog!

https://www.creative-writing-now.com/short-story-ideas.html <– I’m also going to grab at least one of these every few days. I love writing prompts, and I think it’s a great way to showcase your talent.

https://randomwordgenerator.com/phrase.php <— I am also going to pull from here for more randomized prompts!

Hopefully, all of this will help anyone who is having trouble coming up with thoughts and topics to get a blog going. The most important thing is repetition, consistency, and building a habit! I’ll keep this running for as long as people keep asking me to! Until then (I should be starting this in June, so go ahead and drop a comment, Discord Messsage me, or email me if you want me to involve you as well!)

Author Amanda McCormick

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