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
Linktree | Facebook PageNaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group |
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
Linktree | Facebook PageNaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group |
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
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook PageNaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group |
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
Twitter | Facebook PageNaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Posted in Creative WRiting, Writing Question, Writing Tips, Writing Tricks

Writing When Sick

147138902198677

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

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

Posted in Creative WRiting, Writing Challenge

My Writing Challenge

152150592420806445

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

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

 

 

Posted in Creative WRiting

Doing the Minimum

bloghead

Hey everyone! It’s been just a bit, but I had a thought as I was working on 4thewords today — I have a maximum amount of words that I want to get written every day, and I usually end up hitting that max… but… something you might not know about me is that I’m actually pretty bad at social situations. Like, I have a battery, and if I use it all up… well, I have to let it recharge for quite a bit of time.

Yesterday, I was out all day. In the morning, I played Pokemon Go for hours to get a black Charizard (Yeah, I’m one of those nerds xD I don’t care to tell you as much.) After that, I was home for a few hours (getting some work done), and then we went right back out to a BBQ to hang out with some friends that we haven’t seen for a while. We were there for 6 hours.

My battery not only died. I think it exploded. I don’t have a battery… I’m having to reorder one, and it’s taking a month to ship, I swear.

Honestly, though, I’m so peopled out and exhausted today that I just kind of wanna hang out with my baby and play some video games. So… I’m doing the minimum.

4thewords has given me a perfect minimum. 444 words. I have to do that many to get my streak for the day. Sometimes, doing the minimum is the best thing that you can do. Sometimes, you have to take care of yourself and not push it. It’s important to have multi-tier daily goals. The small one that you know you can get, even during a bad day… and then a big one that you strive for.

I have 444, and I have 2k. Today is a 444 kinda day. It’s still so important to have a daily goal and to hit it every day, because that’s how you form the habit of writing… but it’s also important to have in a net of self-care. It’s about finding that balance.

So, find your balance! Set your goals. I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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

Posted in Creative WRiting

bloghead

Deciding a project is always hard to do… and I’m having that issue right now. I’m doing my commissions, and I’m working on getting a very good rhythm going with those. I’m pleased on that front… but I’m still torn about which project I want to select as the novel that I really focus down on and polish until it shines.

And that’s just the thing — sometimes it isn’t always an easy decision. And sometimes you need to get some outside advice. I’m going to finish rewriting one into first person, and I’m going to add the last few chapters onto the other… and then I’m going to give the manuscripts to some very well trusted people to ask them which one they think has the most potential. It’s honestly so important to have people that you can trust, and people who you can go to for an opinion. It’s not me going for a critique, or for editing. It’s not even me going for constructive criticism (which is so important, trust me), it’s me trusting a small group of people who I know can read the book without me having to edit it and tell me, “Hey, this idea is better.”

You need to surround yourself with people who understand your needs, and who understand your desires. Look for a writing group, make some writer friends ❤ You won’t regret it!

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

 

Posted in Creative WRiting, Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Getting Past Guilt

bloghead

*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