Category Archives: Blog Posts

NaNoWriMo 2019

Hey Everyone!

This week is going to be short, sweet, and to the point. I have been very tired with trying to figure out how to get my posts working and coming out a little more steady, but a lot of that will come with a schedule that is more set. Which has finally arrived (I hope).

Anyway, this week we have started NaNoWriMo which is a challenge that many writers do because it is National Writing Month! I would really like to know why writing month has to happen this close to the end of the year, but I think it just helps to challenge people further.

Once a year, thousands of writers come together and write 50,000 words in a month. That equates out to about 1667 words a day. A normal challenge for a writer is 500 words a day. This is hard. But they say if you do 500 words a day for 3 months you will have a novel finished. This is that… only much, much faster.

This is my first time competing, but it is my third time trying to get to the 50,000 words. Let me tell you, many people drop out during the second week because it is difficult to keep the momentum going for the entire month. I will say that I am working on something that I am very excited about and I may even share part of it over the next few weeks. It is a novel idea that I’ve had for a long time. I am often told that murder mystery/crime novels are something that people do when they’re older, but I’m going to try and accomplish it now… while I’m 20… and only have short stories and cross genre work under my belt…. it’ll be fine. Hopefully.

There are two kinds of people who write: planners, and pansters. People who plan things, and people who fly by the seat of their pants and see what they can do. I am a mixture of the two. Even with that, I feel like I was thrown a bit into the writing this month and I am really going to struggle to continue to put out posts, but I will do it!

I am also challenging myself to read a book a week. I am working on finishing up The Raven which is the sequel to The Sentinel and then I have a crime and murder mystery series that I have been dying to get to.

Finally, I will begin putting together my book arts project, meaning that I will have a youtube channel that will have each project’s reveal as well as the steps that it took to get everything done. I am not someone who has ever done video editing before, so it will be interesting. Those video’s should be posted by the beginning of February and I should have my next chapbook coming out in the Winter (so in March or April).

Writing takes a long time, so it is something that is often anticlimactic until it comes out.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post. I truly appreciate it and I promise that things will be picking up soon here. If there is anything that I can do to make things more interesting here or to liven things up, let me know! I am very open to suggestions and would love to hear from you guys.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

Wedding Bells and Missed Deadlines

Hey Everyone!

It’s been a busy few weeks here in Washington and it keeps getting busier. This coming Saturday is my cousins wedding – and it’s at my Aunt and Uncles house. I dont think I’ve mentioned, but I live with them. So I’ve been helping out with making paper flowers and paper butterflies – don’t worry, all of them will show up on my Instagram page as well as my Facebook page. I realize now that I’ve been using my Facebook page wrong, but I will be working on that as well.

Still waiting on a job interview, so I’ve been busying myself with wedding stuff and working on the writing for the first Book Arts video which will be on YouTube by the end of the year. It takes a lot of work to do just the writing, and I’m attempting to get all of it done by the end of October so that I can have a month to work on the video editing. I have never done any large scale video editing, so this will be interesting.

This week since I’ve been working so hard on the first draft of my new book arts project, I thought I would share one of the poems that I wrote for it. This project is focused around letter writing and creating an archive. There’s a lot going on in my head, but I will spend a couple of posts going more in depth to it as I have more drafts done.

The poem I am going to share is in it’s roughest form. I have never liked writing poems much – mainly because I have never liked reading poetry – but I do believe that it has it’s purposes and that it is a good thing to have when working in multi-modal writing. Letters and poems go really well together because their form isn’t that different.

______________________________________________

For You

I loved a messy heart
One where the beat
Didn’t go on for herself
But for the people around her

I loved a damaged heart
Where the soul is beautiful
But the body is a shrine
Damaged and weathered by time
Eroded by contempt and misplaced trust

I love a whole heart
It matched my own
I fell head over heels
In the most corny of ways

For the messy heart
For the damaged heart
For the whole heart
For you

____________________________________________

As I said before, it’s pretty rough, I’m rrying my best and this whole project is getting my head in a twist because it’s all based around love letters and I never have been someone that in touch with their own emotions.

I was supposed to be done with the first draft today…. that isn’t happening. The stress is real.

I am very excited to announce that the first book review will go live this Friday. I have been so busy lately that when I have time that I actually don’t want to spend it reading. I have been watching a lot of anime, Fraizer, and animated movies (a lot of Shrek in particular) – but I am on track to finish Dark Visions by L.J. Smith by Thursday.

I know that there is a lot of stigma around reading YA novels and series as an adult, but I think that there is a lot to get out of a lot of authors, no matter what kind of audience they are aiming for. Case in point: I do plan to read and do reviews on the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. There are like 25+ books and I am a sucker for them even though they are meant for elementary school kids (and they’re still coming out). So when I get to those books, know that there will be a lot of reviews coming out fast since I can read about one a day. But this discussion is for another blog post.

It has been about 3 months since I started the blog, and I would love a little bit of feedback from you guys. What do you find interesting? What do you find is lacking? What would make this writing blog more interesting? Do I need to put more of my own work out? What would make this most beneficial?

Thank you so much guys and remember that my first Chap book Laments is still available. And my next one is getting pushed out until sometime next winter. I am focusing on these book art projects since they are my graduate school application pieces. But I do still have 40 copies of Laments available. Just go to the tab for chapbooks on my webpage and it will help you from there. they are $12 a piece and I’m getting good feedback on them.

Okay guys! I’ll be talking to you again on Friday with the Dark Visions review.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

My first photography project. Bound by Knowledge. It was a lot. This project is something that I think I’ve posted a picture of before, but I owe these guys since they did some weird stuff for me.

Birthday Crashes

Hey Everyone,

The last two weeks has been a bit of a ride. My last day at my job was the 13th – and I had to work 9 days in a row before leaving, and then my sister had her 24th birthday yesterday. So my time has been pretty thin lately and I’m looking forward to working on some writing this week while working on more job apps.

It is already September – which is crazy! And there is a lot that is coming up for me personally as well as for the writing communities.

In November we have camp NaNoWriMo which is something that I talked about before in July. I have every intention of participating this November and have already started working on my outlines and setting up my game plan for what I need to get done. 50,000 words in a month is a lot and requires a solid game plan to get things down on paper.

Another thing that is coming towards the end of the year are Book Art Videos. One of the things that I am working on for my MFA application are book art pieces. I have two pieces that I am working on and I am going to be designing and creating books for these two pieces. I’m still working out the details of how I want to make the videos, if I want to do a series for each book that shows the steps to each one or if I want to do just one longer video….. I’m still working on that.

I’m really looking forward to the book art pieces, but it does cause a lot of anxiety because it means that the writing for the first needs to be done by the end of the month, the book made in October, the second writing done by the end of November, and then the book made by the end of December. January is all about video editing for the final book because Feb. 1st is the deadline for Fall 2020 applicants. It’s not stressful at all.

Finally, one of the things that I am going to be working on this week is a review of the novel planner that I bought as well as a typewriter that I just bought that should be coming later today. I’m very excited to get the chance to use the typewriter that I have bought cause I think that it will help a lot with the making of my books as well as give me something to else to write on. Sometimes if handwriting is working, typing something can be helpful and vice versa. Adding a typewriter to the mix is going to be a lot of fun.

If you haven’t already, please, please, please follow me on Instagram at writers.block.blog and also like my page on Facebook @TheWritersBlockBlogger or you can just search my name, Amanda Cook and it should take you to the page. Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to get notified when new posts become available.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

Happy Birthday to my big sister, Morgan! She turned 24 yesterday and is still one of the kindest people that I know. Life wouldn’t be the same without you.

Making Time To _________

Hey Everyone!

Been a very hectic week and I have gotten nothing done. It’s very hard to feel like a writer when you don’t have time to practice – and it’s something that makes blogging a lot harder too. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels here a bit because I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to show different styles of writing or even talk about a lot of the things that I wanted to.

Remember that book that I was going to review for you guys that I posted on Instagram about – yeah, I’ve read about 50 pages of it… that was three weeks ago.

People always say that if something is important then you will make time for it. Is that really true though? Can you always make time for something that you want to do?

This is a small list of the things that keep me from making time to write:

  • WORK
  • Sleep (or the want to sleep)
  • WORK
  • Family
  • WORK
  • Friends
  • WORK
  • Being tired
  • WORK
  • Not having Ace anymore
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • WORK WORK WORK

These are in no specific order, but there is an underlying cause to why I am not the best person at sticking to my guns about trying to write 500 words a day.

This brings up another question – is something like writing worth tearing down part of your life? What about family? What if you aren’t becoming the person you always wanted to be? What if you aren’t even someone that you like right now? Is that worth a gamble? Is that worth starting over?

Is it worth it if you aren’t happy?

I came to the startling realization this week that I have been really unhappy for a fairly long time. My job was only part of it. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of and allowed myself to be manipulated into doing things for others. This week it became painfully evident how little I meant to one of the managers that I work with. I cleaned up a mess with a customer that never should have been a problem to begin with, but this manager sat in lobby and didn’t help for a second while I got screamed at for thirty minutes for something that was his fault. I protected my crew and my customers at the expense of being torn apart from my intelligence to my physical appearance.

So what was stopping me from seeing what was happening? I believe it was because I thought that I was helping a store that needed my help. I bend over backwards for the people I work with only to have it thrown back in my face because they aren’t pleased with how I handle something.

What did this leave me with? A tired disposition all the time, no energy to give to the items or people that need it, and a broken look at the people who I dedicated four years to.

Was destroying part of my life completely worth gaining back happiness? Absolutely.

My job had been my life – and it wasn’t even the thing that I wanted to do. It was just a filler until I got the job I go to school for. Meaning the real thing that had been tearing me down and holding me back, was me.

I allowed myself to not have the energy to write by working more than neccisary

I opened myself up to being unhappy by giving everything to a job where I wouldn’t receive the same. I often gave more energy than our GM.

Sometimes there are things that you have to change in order to get what you want out of life. I wasn’t and am not getting that out of my job that I hold now. I don’t have another job lined up after the 13th as of yet, but I am looking.

Tear apart other sections of your life if it means that you can rebuild them to look and act the way that you want them to be and become the kind of writer, sister, brother – whatever you want – that you need to be.

I really hope that there is never a need to quit your job in order to make time to do things, but for me it was a necessity. I haven’t worked on grad school stuff in 3 weeks because of not having any energy. That’s messing with my future. Don’t let anyone take a hold of your future. If it’s in writing, then grab it. If it’s school, don’t let yourself become trapped in what you’re doing because it’s more convenient for them.

You all probably think that I’m a people pleaser, but I’m not. I just hate to disappoint people. It gives me severe anxiety. Especially when I’m working with family.

Making time for anything sucks. Sometimes it’s even harder for writing since it takes so long and rarely makes the impact that you want it to. So what? Do you quit? Do you become a full time writer? What do you do? I have no idea. I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ll probably never get it right, but at least I’m finally doing something to take charge of my future.

If you haven’t already, please, please, please follow me on Instagram at writers.block.blog and also like my page on Facebook @TheWritersBlockBlogger or you can just search my name, Amanda Cook and it should take you to the page. Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to get notified when new posts become available.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

People push you forward by being available to help with projects that require some of their time – sometimes quite a bit of time. The only person really holding you back is yourself…… right?

Not Feeling It

Hey everyone!

So, this has been a very long and hard week for me – over 50 hours put in at one job and the other one I cut back on because I wanted a bit of a break. That didn’t go as planned.

I have been debating what I want to talk about this week since not much has been happening this week other than a lot of working. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to write up a post this week because of the amount of work that I put into this and how few people actually read/keep up with it.

Not gonna lie – the fact that I have only sold 1 copy of Laments is like a huge bummer for me. But it hasn’t been that long since I started. This is…. Week four I think. I know it takes time to build a presence, but sometimes I can’t help but hit my head against the wall because it feels like nobody is reading my work. That’s what being a writer is though, right? Writing words on a page that somebody might never read? And I know that I am being overly sensitive to the fact that I don’t have a lot of followers yet, but this is me taking a chance and trying something new. I’m getting over it – I have to or this won’t be fun anymore and that makes me depressed – so moving on!

I have been really bad about writing in general this month. I haven’t been keeping up with NaNoWriMo’s July camp and my whole writing habit is thrown off. I have barely written a word towards any creative project in a while – but that’s going to change… hopefully.

One of the things that has been a problem for me is inspiration. I often find it hard to dedicate time to work on a project that doesn’t interest me for more than a few weeks. I don’t feel like writing. That kills my habits and that kills my ambitions – not a good thing!

My friends and family know that I am addicted to Pinterest. I spend a lot of time on there looking up writing quotes, prompts, things for anime and marvel – I look at a little of everything. I have a writing prompt section though that has over 400 pins. I love prompts. I think that they are a great way to try something new as well as spark new ideas. When I don’t feel like writing, I often spend a lot of time working on prompt ideas.

Some people don’t like prompts because they feel like they are spoon feeding the main plot points of a story. I use prompts as a place to start generating ideas and then see where it leads me.

I don’t have any suggestions about writing when you are not feeling like it. The only thing I might say is try and do it anyway. You might be surprised and write a whole bunch – that’s awesome to think! As for me, I started writing this not really feeling like writing… and I still don’t feel like it.

Unlike other people who would try and sound all philosophical right now about writing and how it’s a process that needs constant attention even when you don’t want to and blah blah blah, I don’t have the energy for it. Who wants that? I do think that writing requires practice, but I also feel that just like with anything else, you need a break. So, take a break every once in a while.

Not sure if this made a ton of sense since my brain isn’t working all that well after my 10 hour shift, but I appreciate the read anyway.

Till the next Chapter,

Amanda

A photography project from my undergraduates program. The influence was a project known as SMASH. I smashed a box and used dog toys to make it look as pretty as possible… not sure if I succeeded or not – but it is pretty cute. 🙂

Firework Stands and Other Extreme Sports

If any of you follow my Instagram, you will have probably seen what I was up to last week. My church, Lost and Found Community Church (LAF), was hosting three firework stands in Snohomish and Lake Stevens Washington. I should also mention that our church only has about thirteen members – yes, we are that small.

I should also mention that our church of just thirteen people has a more members going into the mission field then any other church in our district. Almost every member goes on each trip and I’ve personally been on two trips: Africa (2017) and Ukraine (2013).

All of this leads to a point I promise. LAF uses this stand as the only fundraiser for our mission’s fund. None of our members pay out of pocket to go on the trips because everything (for all our members and then some) is covered. That is what we strive as a church to do.

The final point of this is that We have two missions’ trips coming up! Argentina is November of 2019 and Jerusalem is August 2020 and I am going on both! Traveling is something that I have always wanted to do, and I want to visit as many countries as possible. Missions is also something that I have fallen in love with. Kind of like how people get addicted to tattoos (which I have done), I got addicted to missions’ trips.

Any who, after a very long work week and then volunteering at the stands I can safely say that I am completely exhausted – but also excited! I start my second job this week working as a bookkeeper. I have never done any work outside of my 3 ½ year stay with McDonalds, so I’m ready to move into something a little more predictable as well as something that would give me more energy to put into my writing.

The next five months are going to be filled with long work weeks, but I am happy to have the excuse to read a book every two weeks as well as sit down and write – which everyone knows is the hardest part. Having an idea is easy – having the time and energy to actually put pen to paper… not so much.  

Last week was a hard and unproductive reading and writing week. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t finished the book that we are supposed to talk about starting Friday and I have fallen behind in my Camp NaNoWriMo goal. But never fear! I will figure out a way to get all caught up and we will have a lively discussion about Where the Crawdads Sing over the next few weeks.

Sorry that this week is a little short and simple. The fireworks stand killed my brain a bit and I have been scrambling to figure out what I wanted to talk about this week. All in all, I think that it’s important for you guys to know who I am and what I am all about. I like being transparent, I think that it helps to make me seem more realistic and it also shows how hard it can be getting started with writing. I am honestly overwhelmed with all the things that I’m told to do, but slowly but surely, I’m getting there.

Finally, next week I have already decided that to go along with the launch of my first chapbook, Laments, that I will talk about what internal monologues are from a more technical definition, what it means to me, and then some of the resources that I found helpful in trying to understand them. Internal monologues are difficult to explain and even harder to do, but I will try and give some examples and such next week when we meet again.

If you haven’t already, please, please, please follow me on Instagram at writers.block.blog and also like my page on Facebook @TheWritersBlockBlogger or you can just search my name, Amanda Cook and it should take you to the page. Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe to get notified when new posts become available.

Till the next chapter-

Amanda

How my writing partner typically looks while I try and get stuff done. He isn’t as helpful as he likes to think!

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!