Posts Tagged ‘writing habits’

Life and Writing

As you can all see, I’m not really back on my blogging schedule just yet. However, I am super happy to say that at 1 day shy of the 17 week mark of my pregnancy, my morning (see: all day, all the time, no matter what) sickness has finally dissipated. This blog is just going to be a lot of me musing, thinking, and a general update on me. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I will be able to get back to my blog schedule after this, though I might just do some random blogs until Monday, and then start fresh (I always work better when I do it that way.)

Anyway, onward to the random thoughts.

First of all, I came into this year knowing that I might have a few days where I wouldn’t be able to write. My expectations for myself were still extremely high… but they were high with a little bit of a learning curve for everything I knew was going on with me. I’m sure that a lot of ladies who are pregnant, especially for the first time, are having to figure out everything. For me… figuring everything out came with a one week break from writing. It was the weirdest thing I’ve done in over a year, because I’ve written every day, consistently, for over a year… but this past week has been crazy. My husband has been extremely sick, and I’ve been fighting off the last of my morning sickness. What I haven’t kicked is the exhaustion that comes along with being pregnant. I’ve gone from insomnia to sleeping for 12+ hours a day. It’s so strange. However, it’s seeming to level out… but my body was demanding that I get that rest.

So, I did something that I wasn’t expecting to do… and I listened to my body.

I have to say it was the smartest thing that I could do. I took a week off, and I’m coming back into writing completely refreshed and rejuvenated. I’m going to recommend doing this to everyone – not just to pregnant women, but anyone who is going through something extremely stressful, or who is very sick, etc. Lower your word count – take some days off if you have to… but listen to your body. I know I’m a huge advocate for writing every day, and I still believe that you should.

But every now and then, you have to take a breath. So pick your days wisely, give yourself a time limit, and just know that when you come back, you need to come back strong.

Moving onward, I really… really… really am seeing a direct correlation between the amount of caffeine that I consume and how much I want to write. I miss my giant cups of coffee – they were my writing fuel. I know that a lot of it is probably a habit that I established. I’d wake up – get a big cup of coffee, drink it and write in the morning… and now I can’t do that. It’s spoiled my habit.

I need to make a new habit. It’s the second thing that I’m really discovering in all of this. We can train ourselves to think that certain signals mean that we can or cannot write. You can’t become so dependent on those signals that you can’t write when you don’t have them. I have to learn to write without my big cup of coffee, as much as it pains me. If you can’t have your certain playlist, your certain writing area, your certain writing beverage or snack… you still need to be able to write. We can fight through it together, guys. I believe in us.

Lastly, I’m going to hit on the current… environment of the world, without really getting into my own political opinion. I know that things are hard for a lot of us – unsure, frightening, scary… and I’m just going to leave you all with a bit of advice (I might write an entire post about my thoughts on all of this later, but not now.) But that advice is this: We need our writers now, more than ever. We need our thinkers, we need our people who will give an opinion. We need the people who can offer stories for people to escape into. We need our creative minds now more than ever before. So please, keep on writing ❤ You’re amazing.

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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Monthly Wrap Up

Hey guys! I’m sorry that September was such a slow month for the blog – it was sadly a bit of a slow month for writing as well, but I’m hoping to really make up for it this month! Anyway, let’s dive right into the writing wrap up, shall we?

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As you can see, even my calendar ended up falling off a bit for this month. I wasn’t giving myself stars – I was just writing down the amount of words that I did on different projects, and putting a star by the days where I got to my next 10k. I’m going to be much more organized with my calendar this month, because I actually really enjoy the stars. They make me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and they kind of have weight to them in the fact that I can look back and see how many stars I earned over the month.

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As you can see, I ended the month with 60,435 words. I’m not completely happy with that because it’s one of my lower months. I also wanted to get to 700,000 total for the year, and I’m about 9,000 words short off of that. I’m just going to have to try to make October really count. I know for a fact that November will be a productive month, because of NaNo and whatnot… so I’m excited to see how everything ends up panning out! Honestly, even with my lower than usual word count and activity, I’m still really pleased that I was able to prod out as many words that I did. It’s just proof that my desire to get myself into the habit of writing has worked.

I had plenty of days where I only got a little over 1000 words, but I always got those 1000. By getting myself into the habit of doing those words every day, I’ve really enabled and encouraged myself to always get some writing done. It’s a wonderful feeling, even when I’m not meeting my stretch goal, to know that I went another month with writing every single day.

Especially with NaNoWriMo coming up, I’m super encouraging you all to start trying to write every day – get into the habit of it now. Whether you’re doing some writing prompts  (conveniently placed daily prompts for October can be found here) or just a daily blog in order to get yourself pumped… I’d love to see your progress and hear about it. Let me know how your September went for writing, and tell me what your plans are to prep for NaNo, if you’re participating!

I’d love to hear about it all, and I’d certainly love to see how you all did!

Sidenote: 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!

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

 

 

Tag Thursday

So, last week we did reading habits. I thought that it would be fun to do some writing habits for this weeks tag! This way, we can get to know one another on a writing level a little better. I looked around and found a few tags for this (mostly done through youtube), but I didn’t find anything that hit all of the points that I wanted. So… I decided to just go ahead and make up my own. I’m sure that I’ve borrowed some from all of those tags, but they’re honestly just pretty general writing questions. So, let’s begin!

Writer Habits

-Writing Habit Tag 

Where do you like to write:

Oh, I have actually answered this before in a blog, but my actual preferences waver, depending on what the situation is like at the time. Ideally, I would have my desktop set up in my bedroom or office, so that I could always write on it in peace. But, that’s never going to happen. So I am a hybrid – when I can (and when I can concentrate), I like to write on my desktop. When I can’t concentrate, I retreat to some form of a laptop.

What program do you like to write with:

So, I actually have multiple things that I use now. Primarily, when I am writing a novel I always use Scrivener. I couldn’t recommend a better program for that. When I’m not doing novel work, or I’m doing something that I want easy access to, I use GoogleDocs. I never really use Microsoft Word anymore, though that used to be my main writing program.

  What is your current writing project:

I posed this question like I don’t have more than one. So, currently, I am working on four projects. When Flowers Fall is a novel that delves into the supernatural/faerie world, and will have epic fight scenes and war. My Untitled Serial Killer novel is going to be from the perspective of a serial killer… and that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with that. Second Realm actually spurred from a Writing Prompt Response, and it’s just happening. My main thing that I’m working on is Cerulean Darkness, which is an epic fantasy novel that I finished for NaNoWriMo 3 years ago, and I’m finally doing edits and rewrites. (We will ignore the fact that i have about 15 other WIPs.)

   Have you ever finished a novel? If so, when and what was it about?

I have finished 10 novels in my lifetime, and they range from fantasy, to horror, to supernatural/paranormal romance. The novel that I finished most recently is set in a post-apocalyptic world, and it has mermaids. Yeah. xD

What was the last project you completed:

Hmmm… I guess the last project that I technically finished would be Danse With Me – a really long fanfiction that I didn’t mean to even start… but somehow a one shot grew into 70,000 words, and I realized exactly how much I loved Fallout 4.

   Do you snack when you write:

I do. I have candy, or an energy drink, or some chips, or anything that I can get my hands on. However, when I get really intent on what I’m writing, I forget everything around me. But, the good thing is, the snacks are there for when I come back down to Earth. I think my favorite thing is to just have a bag of candy in my desk drawer that I can delve into when I feel like I did a particularly good paragraph.

When is your favorite time to write:

Mmmm, this is tricky. My favorite time to write is when it’s quiet. So, when people are at work, or deep into the night. I do love writing at night, because the whole world is quiet, and it’s just me and my words, and the world that I’m trying to create. There’s something almost magical about it. However, I also really enjoy lazily writing in the morning when I first get up, while sipping a cup of coffee to bring my muse to life. I guess… my favorite time to write is whenever I have the opportunity to – but I vote for late at night, because it’s my favorite out of everything.

What music do you listen to when you write:

Oh, so, this has evolved greatly over the years. The first novel that I wrote was in two composition notebooks, and written at school… so I didn’t write that to any music. But, after that (when I started writing on a computer), I listened to a ton of Ozzy Osbourne while I was writing. I evolved slowly from CD’s to making playlists on youtube… and recently, I have discovered the beauty of Spotify. Now, I just make writing lists that are appropriate to what I’m writing – in example, for Cerulean Darkness (the fantasy novel), I have a lot of instrumental, and then some various love songs/epic songs. My musical tastes are so eclectic that I will listen to anything that pertains to the novel, no matter what musical genre is is, as long as it inspires me.

In a side note: Ozzy is still on every playlist I have.

How long have you been writing, and what inspired you – basically, why do you keep this habit of writing up:

I don’t know what first inspired me. I wrote a story for my teacher in school (I was 10 or 11? – hint, I am 26 now. You do the math), and everyone told me how lovely it was, how colorful the words were… I was very young, and I looked at the story and thought, “But this is an essay. Imagine if I could do it with a book!” I’ve always loved to read, so I was always telling stories to myself. I just decided that it was time to put pen to paper and try my hand at the whole practice of it. I’ve honestly never looked back – I’ve gone through a million things of “What I wanna be when I grow up”, and I’ve have different jobs, and different schooling… but the thing that I want to be, and the thing that I am is a writer. It’s what makes me happy, what makes me passionate.

What inspires me now is the thought of my book being on a shelf, my book being something that a kid like who I was then picks up… and gets lost in. When you’re reading a good book, you forget everything that’s hurting you, that’s troubling you… and you’re in that world. I want to create a world that people can get lost in – I want to help people and inspire them in the way that I know I am best at… with my writing.

Who will you tag?

I am tagging everyone who comes to my blog, everyone who is a writer! Do the tag and link back to me! I would love to see what your writing habits are!

That’s all for this edition of Tag Thursday! If you have any suggestions for what next Thursday’s tag should be, if you have one you’ve written, if you have one that you want to write and see me do, just let me know in a comment or link!

Until then, 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

Base Graphic

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