Where it begins

Hello all and welcome to Writer’s Block!

My name is Amanda Cook and I am a Seattle based writer who has been writing on and off for the last five years but really made a practice of it about six months ago. I am twenty years old and a recent University of Washington graduate. I have a BA in American and Ethnic Studies and a Minor in Creative Writing. When people ask me to explain my BA, I often will say that it is like history and sociology had a baby. I studied a lot about race, gender, and economic status and how it influenced people’s lives living here in the United States.

Just as a little bit more information about me I am a huge Marvel nerd and have a dream of going to Comicon. I also am a huge fan of Japanese culture and language. I love going to Sakura-con every year and getting to experience something new while also meeting a lot of awesome people. When I’m not working or going to school, I typically spend a lot of time reading comic books and manga, watching anime, or reading. Murder mystery/ dog lover mysteries are some of my favorite books as well as the genre that I am more partial to. I always say that I will try everything, and I love when I find something that I thought I would hate and then it turns into one of my favorite books.

My dog, Ace, is one of the things that my life revolves around. He is a nine-year-old basset-terrier mix and one of the most annoying and amazing dogs you will ever meet. I got him about five years ago when I was battling deep depression and anxiety and he was the one who got me through a lot of it. You guys will probably see quite a few pictures of him on the blog. I have a fairly large family. My parents divorced when I was in high school, both remarried within the last two years and I gained many siblings because of it. I have one biological sister who is twenty-three, soon to be twenty-four and then two stepsisters and four stepbrothers. I went from being the youngest of two to one of the middle children.

So why Writer’s Block?

I came up with the idea of doing Writer’s Block about two months ago. I began taking a poetry class with Chelsea Grimmer who is an activist poet and host of The Poetry Vlog on YouTube. She was a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington at the time and has since graduated. The focus of her class was how to make writing, mainly poetry, multimodal. For those who don’t understand what that is, that would be like taking a poem and writing it out in Tweets or making a poem completely out of Facebook status updates. Podcasts and vlogs are another thing that could be done, but the idea is to make poetry, or writing in general, more accessible to everyone and using the medium that you share it in, to be meaningful as well.

I’m using the term “writer’s block” in a couple of ways. The first is obvious. When a writer gets stuck, we call it a “block”. It is one of the most frustrating things that can happen – and personally, when I hit that block, I often give up on the story that I’m working on because I don’t think that it’s any good. The second way that I want to use that term is in a more literal sense. What blocks you (or others in general) from writing? For the longest time, I was not even going to peruse my passion for writing. I was focused on doing something practical for work because that would probably make sure that I was financially comfortable for the rest of my life. But… That wasn’t working out for me. I was miserable in school and I hated my choice in major, in fact, I still don’t care for it. What saved me was my Creative Writing Minor. It gave me the push and enthusiasm that I needed to finish strong and decide to continue my education past my BA.

Some of my blocks for writing were as follows:

  • Zero confidence
  • “Writer’s don’t make any money”
  • Not practical – not many people succeed (which is completely wrong)
  • Lack of familial support
  • No knowledge of the kind of writing styles that were out there
  • Lack of time to practice writing

The list could go on for a while, but I think you get the picture. People are blocked from writing in so many ways. Whether it’s time, money, resources, family objections – you name it and it’s probably been the reason that someone has stopped writing or not even pursued it. I overcame that because I had to do what makes me happy as a person, not what will satisfy the wants and wills of people who weren’t the ones going through the schooling or lifestyle decisions that I was.

Here in Writer’s Block, I hope to talk about different styles of writing that I have learned, do book reviews, and just talk about the struggles of being a writer and living in a world where it’s not a profession that gets the credit that it should. Along the way I will talk about personal experiences and get you guys as involved as possible. I really want this to be a space where people feel comfortable talking about their writing and moving forward on their journey. I want us to have fun and become comfortable in our writing skins.

This will sound cheesy – but let’s get past the “writer’s block” together.

Starting next week, I hope to have a better schedule planned out for when certain things will be posted. My goal is to have a monthly calendar up that shows when I’ll be posting so that you guys will know what to expect. Here is what I’m thinking though as more of a generic schedule.

  • Monday’s – blog post (Writing techniques, what I’m working on, book reviews etc.)
  • Second & Fourth Friday – Book Club (I will announce these books at the beginning of the month, I will discuss this book with a friend or peer for about 20-30 minutes and then we will leave a discussion board open where you guys can respond, ask questions that we will respond to.)

I am planning to do a couple of months that are focusing on a specific genre of reading and writing, but we’ll see what happens and what you guys are liking.

Thank you, so much for reading and I look forward to getting to know everyone and learning more about writing with you!

Till the next chapter –

            Amanda C.

As was promised, this is the first of many dog photos of Ace. This photo is about a year old, but still one of my favorites. He is very quirky and he loves blankets. Him and I have five full size blankets on the bed – only one of them is mine!

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