Posted in Creative WRiting

Writing Tips Alphabet Series – B is for… Books.

 B is for books.

Maybe this one is a no brainer. And maybe this is something that everyone knows about… but it’s still a tip that I’m going to give, because you’d be shocked at how many people say that they don’t have to read to be able to write well.

I honestly don’t like to give hard, fast rules about how to do anything. Most of the time, I would tell people that they can do whatever they want, however they want, and there are always ways to figure out how to get your writing done… but I’m actually going to stand pretty firm on this one.

One of the best ways, one of the real ways to get better as a writer is to read. A lot. Books are so important — you wouldn’t be a doctor without checking out methods, without taking classes. You wouldn’t try to be an electrician without some kind of apprenticeship. Reading a lot is the way that a writer has an apprenticeship, honestly. 

Read a lot in the genre you want to write. Read out of the genre that you want to read. Read masters and read classics. Just… read. It will expand your understanding of the craft, it will give you ideas and inspiration. Pay attention to how your favorites form sentences and what it is about the paragraphs and storyline and characters that really catch your attention.

Study the things that you read — don’t just look at it as a reader. Pick your favorites and look at them as a writer. I find that doing that is actually a fantastic way to realize what it is about writing that is appealing to you, and therefore learn how to apply that to your own writing. 

There’s a lot of things that we can do to improve ourselves, and there’s a lot of things that we can do to get better. Practice is certainly one of them… but studying is the other. And you could study grammar and sentence structure until you were blue in the face, but unless you really study story, I don’t think that you can improve in the same way that you would if you did.

Like I said, I usually am pretty flexible on what is a hard and fast rule, but this is one that I’m going to stick by. I know that not everyone enjoys reading — but there’s ways around that. Audiobooks, shorter novellas, visual novels, there are so many options so that you’re still consuming storytelling without having to get into something that you would otherwise not enjoy.

So do it ❤ Pick up a book. Pick your favorite. And then study it and apply! You’ve got this! 

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 Alphabet Series – A is for… Accountability.

ac·count·a·bil·i·ty/əˌkoun(t)əˈbilədē/Learn to pronouncenoun

  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

Is Blogging Dead?

I wonder, sometimes, if blogging is dead. The internet is an ever-changing platform. People are constantly finding new places to communicate. Where blogs were really popular before, people had it condensed into 280 characters for a tweet that was still meant to convey emotions.

From there, I feel like it changed to a picture on Instragram. And from there, it seems like TikTok and 30 seconds for your story is the new thing to do.

But there are still some of us who are trudging along on their blog. Of course, I’m hitting up the other social media platforms (I just got on the linktree kick <— Go ahead and click it to hit up my other social media sites), and I try to be active everywhere that I can… but I’ve seen so many people just completely drop off of blogging.

I don’t know. There’s something about it that’s so wonderful to me. I’m writing down my thoughts, getting to use as many characters, as much time, as many words as I want to convey them. I can share full stories here, I can link to those other places if I do something cute there (let’s be real, I never managed to make a Youtube channel, so me making a TikTok is questionable, but I’m going to attempt it). But… there’s something about a Blog, about getting to write, which is all that I’ve ever wanted to do to begin with…

Well, it feels right to me. I still see active people here, and I still see people reading the things that I put out via my analytics. People are still around, and people still want too write their thoughts out instead of doing it via a small amount of characters, a video, a picture.

Call me greedy, but I want it all. So… is blogging dead? I don’t think so. I think that blogging just reaches out to a different demographic of people, and I’m fine with that.

Circling around on this thought, I’m going to try to post here more. I have a ton of book reviews that I need to get up, and I’m going to start one of my challenges again (maybe an A-Z challenge again, or something equally fun!) So stay tuned for that!

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

MilWordy and Life.

 Gosh, so… where have I been? I was updating you guys on Milwordy. It’s a thing that I started in September and the goal was to write one million words in a year.

Okay, so anyone who follows me knows that I kinda overdo things. That I’ve always kinda over do things, really. Which means that I’ve been… away from writing on my blog because I’ve been…

Focused on writing?

Does that make sense?

I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, I’m pleased to say that I hit the one million markbefore February ended. That means that I wrote one million words in six months.

Yeah, I told you I kind of overdo things.

So my focus has been wildly on that — I haven’t really been thinking of much else. The good news is, I did crank out an entirely new book and some of a few others. And a second draft!

The bad news is… I let my blog slip. I really hate doing that, and I would like to be updating this sucker at least once a week if I can (more, if I could ever establish proper habits). So, I’m back at it again now that my MilWordy goals have been met.

And where am I going with it after now, since I have six months left?

I set a goal for two-million words in one year. I really don’t expect to hit that. Like, that’s lofty goals and I don’t know that I wanna push myself through pure insanity again. It was a lot, and I’m really proud of the fact that I got as far as I got… and I’m really enjoying the break that I’ve been taking for the past little bit.

I’m probably going to ease back into writing. I’m kind of reading through an entire manga (because I want to ruin my life with Attack on Titan), but after I’m done with that, I’m planning on setting my goal toward 1,000 a day. And then moving that up to 2,000 a day. And then getting that back up to 5,000 a day. If there’s anything that MilWordy taught me, it was the fact that if I’m really working at it, I can write 10,000 words easily by noon.

So cutting it down to 5,000 for the entire day shouldn’t really be pushing myself. During that time, I had 30,000 word days. They were stressful and exhausting and rewarding… and I don’t want to ever feel like I need to have days that large again.

But at the same time, I want to be able to if I randomly needed or wanted to.

I don’t know. MilWordy was really a good practice for me to see where my limits were, where I could push myself past. One of these days when I have the day completely to myself, I’m going to see how much I can really write within a 24 hour period. We do 24 hour write-a-thons on my writing server every month. I wanna really get to it.

So… yeah.

I guess that’s an update on me? I’ve been writing a lot, and now I”m going to turn back to putting that writing into my blog and other places! I can’t wait to get back to being here on the regular!

If there’s anything y’all want me to write about or anything you want to see, let me know! 

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 Check-In (9/14-9/20)

Hey there, everyone! Wow, time sure is flying by, isn’t it? I’ve honestly really appreciated having something like MilWordy to focus on, because it’s allowing me to make sure that the pretty crappy things that are happening all around the world aren’t knocking me into complete depression. I can take a few minutes and get some words out (and then go back to the crappy things, ha…) No, seirously though. Writing, and having focus on my writing, is really theraputic for me.

One of the best things, I think, that’s come from MilWordy for me is the fact that I am officially and actually keeping a journal. It’s not something that I used to do… or something that I was ever able to concentrate on enough to do. Around like… day five or so, I realized that journaling would be a good way to get words in the morning, before my brain had really kicked on… and it would be a great way for me to get a kickstart to my day, basically.

I didn’t realize when I did it that it was going to be such a good thing for me, or that it was going to allow me to really get out and vent some emotions that I didn’t even know I was keeping bottled up.

So… there’s a MilWordy thought for you. Journaling… it’s awesome. 

Anyway, onward and upward with the update, right? My current word count is sitting around 140,000 (141,332 to be precise), and I’m really pleased with my progress so far! My percentages are rounding out fairly well — 25% of my overall total is on original fiction that could be published (yes, 22% is fanfiction. Fight me.) I have a lot of the projects going as well (Short stories, roleplay, my journaling, etc)… but I want to make sure that at least 25% of what I write is novel. I actually am going to try to raise that number up to a good 40% before this is all over and done with. I think if I could come out of the other end of MilWordy with 5 good drafts of novels to work with…

Well, that would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it? 

Anyway, my total wordcount for the week is going to end up landing somewhere between 50,000 and 55,000 words. I’ve just started for the day, so I have no idea how much I’m going to get. I’ve tried to set myself a minimum of at least 5,000 words, though I know that there will be days when I just hit the actual goal minimum. (Right now, my ‘needed daily to win average’ is 2,482). 

In other exciting news, I managed to carry my 10k wordcount days for 10 days in a row! It was a streak that I wanted to see if I could manage, and I did! It was actually hard the next day to shift my mind to writing less, but I knew that I needed to chill out, if only to reset my ‘you need this many words or you fail’ goal in my head.

That goal is at 5,000. I think that’s a bit more fair, yeah?

I realize that this blog is kind of all over the place — my two kiddos have been extremely crazy the past few days, so I’m seriously lacking in the sleep department. Honestly, though, that kind of makes me proud. 

I’m sleep deprived, but I’m still going.

❤ 

As a side note! 

Please enjoy this small PSA for my writing server if you’d like to join up and track your MilWordy with us! 

Hey! We are a server called That Writing Place! We run sprints, crawls, crits, prompt nights, and we have monthly or bi-monthly contests that include fun prizes! We also have accountability rooms so that you can make sure you have a buddy helping you to keep on top of your words! We have an entire section for NaNoWriMo and Milwordy!

We also have fun side rooms like for gaming, book clubs, and fandoms!

We have a fanfiction section as well, and would love to see anyone who wants to grow, hang out, and generally enjoy other writers join up!

https://discord.gg/ZrXYYuE <— Join here!

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

Doing Your Best, Be Your Best

I’m not sure what this post is about, except to kind of address the atmosphere that is going on right now. I have friends who are too stressed to write, friends who are too afraid to find their creativity… and then friends who are completely oblivious to what is occurring and just keep on keeping on like nothing is happening.

I’m not saying that any of these methods are correct or incorrect. I do think that this is not the time for us to duck our heads creatively and go into hiding. If anything, I want to spend this time making sure that I produce things that make people happy, that I can get my writing out there so that I can help to distract the people who are worried and stressed, who aren’t sure what they’re going to do with everything that is currently going on.

So, I’m going to do my best. I’m going to do what I can do from home, and I’m gonna be working on getting my stories out there that I know people enjoy. I’m going to try to post on here more, and to generally be as active as I can be, so that I can contribute my drop to the well, so to speak. I just want to be able to give people a moment of peace, a moment of happiness, a moment to forget how crazy things are going right now while they escape into the worlds that I write and create.

Long-winded way to say that I’ll be posting a lot more fanfics, and a lot more writing prompt responses and whatnot, but… yeah. xD That’s what I’m saying.

And I’m encouraging you all to do the same thing. Do what you can to help, even if it’s just a random act of kindness for a stranger while you’re at the store. Do what you can, because even if it is just a drop… eventually, enough drops will fill up that well that I was talking about, and everyone will have something to drink.

Do your best. ❤ Be your best. Especially in times of stress. 

Keep reading, keep writing, and keep on keeping on!

Author Amanda McCormick

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

My New Year

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Holy guac, guys! Did you think I was gone forever? Holidays and family and end of the year shenanigans have pretty much caught my attention for a bit, but I’m going to get back to regular posting now. Thanks for sticking with me during my small break, and I’m really excited to get back into blogging on the regular.

I don’t really have any new years resolutions, or anything like that. The only real resolution that I’ve ever made is to write 1000 words a day for an entire year, and I hit that goal. I am not going to be anywhere near silly enough to try that again this year, with the fact that I’m going to be having a baby >_> That’s setting myself up for at least one day of failure when I’m popping the kiddo out xD However, I do like to set myself a few goals and aspirations for what I want to get accomplished. It’s not a resolution… it’s more a “Planning in advance” so I can have an idea of what I’m aiming for.

Firstly, I plan on trying to self pub some stories this year. It’s scary, and I’ve always tried to talk myself out of it… but now, I really want to go for it. I think that it would be a good thing, and… the worst that can happen is that I wouldn’t make money off of it? Since I like to write short stories anyway… I’m not really losing out on anything. And who knows, I might win something pretty fantastic.

As my second little goal, which ties in with the first, I’m going to try to be writing at least one short story a month. I think that just getting into the practice of that will be pretty good for me, if only to keep my creativity cranking. I so often get caught up in commissions that I completely forget to take time to write for myself. I don’t want to do that anymore. I really want to make sure that I always flex my creativity muscles in venues that I really enjoy and want to pursue.

I wish I could say that I was going to start and keep a bullet journal for the year ;-; but I know that I never keep up with those. I wish that I could… I don’t know what it is about me and a physical journal, but I seem completely and utterly incapable of keeping up with one. It’s crazy.

My third… goal? I guess it’s a goal. My hubs and I and our little family are planning on a cross country move sometime around July. It’s going to be crazy, hectic, and so worth it. I’m not sure exactly what the goal is here though… prep, mentally get myself ready… make sure that I don’t go crazy in the process xD

So yeah, that’s a little update on me. What about you guys? What are your goals for the year? I’d love to hear about them, if you’d like to share. Make a blog about it — put those goals on blast in public. I find that one of the best ways to keep up with doing something that you said you’re going to do is simply by letting people know that you’re going to do it. Accountability is… well, it’s really key, for me at least, in making sure that I keep up with everything that I want to do. If I know that people KNOW what I’m planning, I feel a pressure not to let them down or make myself a liar, and that pressure ends up spurring me on when I thought that I would otherwise not be able to do it.

You should try it. It could be good for ya!

Until next time, keep reading and keep writing, guys!

Author Amanda McCormick