Category Archives: Writing 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

Draft No. ______

Hey Everyone,

So there are a lot of things going on around my house and Halloween is just around the corner. I have finally been able to find a job (2 actually) so I’ll finally have some stress relieved in that department. On the flip side, I am falling behind in my posts here as well as in my rough draft which is never a good thing.

This week I have a lot of work related anxiety since I’m starting both new jobs practically tomorrow, but for now I just wanted to talk about something really simple. Drafts.

Everyone has a different way that they go about writing, but no matter who the writer is, nothing comes out perfect the first time. No matter how good you think it is, it’s not the best that it can be. You may need to read through it and make corrections 2-10 times. I put 10 times on there because I have drafted something that many times and it is so tedious, but so necessary.

My current piece that I am working on is actually in it’s third draft phase. I have been expanding, cutting, and mostly clarifying what it is that I’m writing. Having a shitty first draft is better than having a blank page staring back at you.

I also think that people don’t realize how important drafting is. In college I would often write something, read through it once for grammar and flow, and then turn it in without really bothering to rewrite any of the parts that could have given me better clarity. It was something that I didn’t want to take time for.

I had a friend in high school and in my first two years of college who was ashamed of how long it took him to put out a decent version of a short story that he was writing (this was back when I was following a more… self destructive course for schooling rather than doing what I wanted. He mentioned how easily people seemed to be able to write their stories and how he was going to only have one while they had several.

Originally I had blown him off saying that there was no reason that he should feel uncomfortable with how long a draft was taking. He had probably 20 different iterations of his one story and wasn’t happy with any of them. He stopped drafting about a week later and ended up being able to squeak out a couple more short stories to save his grade. I was happy for him. Happy for the fact that he passed the class.

Now, I’m more devastated at the fact that he put out work that he wasn’t proud of. As writers, it’s easy to have this inferiority complex and to feel like we will never be good enough. I feel that that comes from the way that we were taught to write early on in school. Write an entire essay in 90 minutes and use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Writing was about deadlines and having something done in a certain amount of time.

I’m not going to be that writer that says that you have all the time in the world to get your piece right because I live in the real world. Deadlines do exist. I have a deadline of Feb. 1st to have a writing piece done as well as it’s accompanying book arts project. I had originally planned to have 2 pieces, like that done, but there was no way that that was going to happen – Unless I had decided to put out work that I’m not proud of. I’m applying for my Masters! If I can’t put out work in my application that I’m proud of, then I feel like I’m selling myself short.

Word to the wise: play with it until you’re happy with it, have someone else read it, and then play with it some more.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this. I promise that I will be getting my head on track and putting out posts at a more scheduled time on Monday. Book Reviews as always are just kind of happening whenever I get the chance to finish a book, seems like Fridays are my thing right now for that.

Finally I wanted to do a check in. I posted a similar thing in a post about 2 weeks ago I think. It was mainly to see how people were feeling about how the blog is going, if there were things that I needed to change, or if everything was going pretty smoothly. I’m open to any and all suggestions.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

It’s been awhile since I posted a picture, but I have recently been talking with one of the exchange students that I have hosted in the past from Japan. Making me really want to go out and see her. We had a total of 3 students, Miku, Suzune, and Hiromi and also one teacher named Aiya. All of them came out at different times except for Suzune and Hiromi who both came out together.

Quality over Quantity

Hey Everyone!

So this weekend was very busy with the wedding, but it was beautiful and the weather actually held out for us. The morning was wet and drizzly, but the afternoon couldn’t have been more beautiful – a little warmer would have been best though. All in all, my aunt couldn’t have pulled off a more beautiful wedding.

This week I wanted to talk about something that is very important to remember as a writer that often gets bypassed. Quality over quantity.

As a writer in school, professors wanted you to turn out a certain number of poems, short stories, whatever – in a week. They wanted you to write just to get words to paper. In reality, you are lucky to get a poem out in a month. One poem can be written four or five times before you are happy with it and it is considered “done”. I am running into this problem now.

I have mentioned before that I am working on my MFA application and I am working on editing, expanding, and creating a piece of book art for this application. My goal was to complete two pieces. One that was a series of letters, and another that was a cross genre prose piece. Both were going to be completed and have books made, the process documented and thrown into a video which was going to be the videos that I made for YouTube that I talked about last week.

I thought it would be possibly to get all this stuff done before February 1st. That is complete and total crap. I realized that today as I was reading through my work. There is so much that goes into making any book and any time less than what you need isn’t going to turn out work that you are proud of.

I always thought that I would rather die and put out work that I wasn’t proud of. I was quickly proven wrong when there was a time line that was placed on creating a full length chapbook with at least 7,000 words. Three weeks. That was all I got. The stories weren’t what I wanted and honestly needed a lot of work. But I did what I could given the time that I had.

I came to the conclusion today that if I’m going to put out work for my MFA, I wouldn’t feel good about it unless I was able to put in the work that would be needed for it. At this point, I plan to work on and finish one project in all of it’s completion to turn in to the program. I am alright turning in the writing only for the second project. I’m itching to start something new as well

This is all very personal, but some writers are able to turn out a lot of high quality books very quickly:

  • Sherilyn Kenyon
  • James Patterson
  • Erin Hunter
  • Diana Steele

And that’s just a few of them. In the end you have to decide what it is that is most important at the time. Quality or Quantity.

I think that there is some importance about just getting pen to paper and get words to the paper. Once the words are out, then you have something to work with. When first starting out, that can actually be helpful.

When it comes down to it though, taking the time to make work that you are proud of is always what’s important. Take the time that you need to create the work that you need. There are always people who are going to want to push you to get it done sooner – and those who have aggressive managers will have that – but there’s no need to make more than needed. Sometimes the bare minimum is the best.

So I hope that this isn’t too off kilter from how I normally talk. I have been battling a migraine for the last few days and I’m not completely sure that this makes sense. I can revisit this later again if needed.

Till the next chapter,

Amanda

Throw back to my first fully completed book. Laments is still one of my favorite things that I have done to dote and I take a lot of pride in it. I still have a lot of them available, so if your interested in it, just let me know.

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?

Book Arts

Hey Everyone!

So, sorry about last week. I just needed a small break from everything to get my head back on straight and take care of a couple of things that I needed to.

But this week I wanted to focus on something that I have always had a lot of fun doing and a lot of fun planning. Book arts is any kind of book that was made for a purpose of showcasing a set of works or a single one.

My chapbook, Laments, is considered a form of book art because I designed it from beginning to end.

Book arts can be very complicated and also very simple. Behind the Veil – which you can see all the pictures of on the website – is perhaps one of the most time consuming and complex books that I have made to date. It took approximately 150 hours to put together and countless others writing and revising.

Simple books like Laments and The Bonds That Bind Us have more thought into the layout and cover than they do to embellishments. What will make them easiest to read while still allowing for people to get the meaning behind it. Sometimes that requires a juxtaposition, like using bright colors and beautiful patterns on the cover of a book about loss, or more of a personal one like a train that a grandparent made as the cover to a book about the things nearest and dearest to our hearts. There are no rules about what you can and can’t do because it all has to do with what you want it to mean.

I became obsessed about this process when I was in my first year of undergrad and a teacher wanted us to make something that was meaningful, but could also be creative in a class about human rights. My peers helped with the concept, but I was allowed to make the piece one hundred percent fiction and the way that I wanted to. Everything about it was meant to be meaningful to the story and to the way that people read the pamphlet. That’s what book art is – at least to me.

This year has been a big year for me. I graduated, have been looking for a new job, and most importantly, I’ve been working on my application to grad school. I am looking to stay local, but my program requires a lot of prep work as most programs do.

Book arts has been heavy on my mind lately because it is something that I have decided to showcase in my admissions application. So, basically right now I am working on two creative pieces and also two separate books to showcase their meaning and to capture how I make them. Sometimes the way that they are made are just as important to the way that they are presented.

I’m most certain that I will be doing another post on book arts, but for now, I think this will have to do. I am still in the early planning stages and revising of these pieces. Probably the hardest part about this is trying to edit and expand these pieces that I had set aside for awhile without feeling like I’ve ruined them.

If anyone is interested in updates, just let me know and I can try and give them as I have anything to report. I have been procrastinating hardcore this week so I barely have anything done.

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

This is the first look at the cover image on The Bonds That Bind Us. The release date on this might be later than anticipated, but it will still be an interesting piece. More to come on this in the coming months.