Amanda Lemming–The Road

Hello everyone!

As promised in my last post, it is now time for our first COW! To start off, and for your enjoyment, here is the symbolic representation of this weekly phenomenon;



Our creative mascot here is excited to present the bloggosphere with the first prompt. Now, feel free to read and practice at your leisure, but remember that the learning process comes from sharing your work! Please share whatever creative genius you come up with, and after a few responses I’ll post my own as well. Let those creative juices flow and let go of any hang ups you have on writing. This prompt is a little silly in honor of the first COW, so don’t take it too seriously. This writing should take anywhere from 10-30 minutes, but don’t limit a great idea. Without further adieu, here we go!

How to create new, innovative fiction;

The most unique, interesting fiction often begins with a “What if” or a premise that is strange (what if you woke up as a six-foot cockroach??) The writer then starts writing, using that premise as if it were true, real, normal. Choose ONE premise from below and begin a story using that premise as truth. See where it takes you, and don’t forget to share!

1) You become physically attached to the person you fall in love with.

2) Every time you laugh you turn into an animal that personifies or reflects upon the person you’re with at that moment.

3) Since you hate your present life, you tie yourself to a tree for several years until you can start a new life.

4) To attract the attention or sympathy of someone, you begin cutting off your own body parts. 



First off, I cannot believe how long it’s been since I last blogged. Wow, that sounds straight from Finding Nemo…Hello, it’s been six months since my last blog…ha. Well anyway, for those who actually read into my previous blogs or found them interesting (and those rare few that participated in both) I really apologize for my lack of…presence. This blog will have little to do with writing techniques, but rather an update in what I’ve been up to. So, here we go…

Since I spoke with you all last, I’ve moved three times, bought a car, got my first real boyfriend and first tattoo, picked up many hours at work, and have successfully navigated through two 15 credit semesters of college. Believe me, that is a LOT to deal with in six months time, but now that most of the craziness has settled like the sand dredged up by a toddler’s first steps in the ocean, I have found the time to get back to what I truly enjoy doing–blogging, writing, and reading. 

While I haven’t had much time to write lately, have no fear. I haven’t been going without practice. Actually, quite the opposite. One of my classes this semester was dedicated to the art of creative writing, and what I learned will carry me miles into the future of my writing career. And for those of you who follow this blog and are interested in the writing process, I will also be posting much of what I’ve learned from that class in order to spread the knowledge around. This brings me to my next point: where this blog will be headed.

Most (okay, okay. ALL) of my previous blogs have related to my personal experience in the writing process.  While it’s great for you all as writers yourselves to gain knowledge and experience from my trial and error, I also feel that I could make this blog much more influential and helpful if I were to make it interactive, in a way. As a way to keep myself more in-tuned with the blogging community and to gain more of a foothold in the bloggosphere, I’ll be writing weekly challenges/prompts/informational posts that hopefully spur some reactions from my followers. While I know how I write, I am much more interested in how YOU all write. Soon I will post the first episode of Amanda’s COW–Creation Of the Week–and we’ll see what kind of response that initiates. Other than that, this update is close to being finished, but as always…

if you have any questions for me/suggestions for future COW’s/ something you’d like to hear from me, or anything in general, I LOVE to hear from you. Even if it’s just a “gr8 blog” or a simple smiley face, I revel in hearing from you guys. Don’t be afraid to interact!

Thanks guys,



All right everyone, I apologize sincerely for being missing in action for two weeks now. With college starting full time, a new job, and trying to keep up with my writing, I’ve barely had time for a full nights sleep, let alone going online. Today though, I want to talk to you about a career long institution of how to invest in your writing. Whether you’ve been writing for two decades or only decided two hours ago,  there’s nothing more important to the stability of your process than taking your writing seriously and truly investing in it.

If you’ve decided you want to be a writer, there are a few things you need to realize before you can fully implement the “author” title both for yourself and for others. If you want someone else to take you and your work seriously, your future readers, perhaps, you need to first give your skills your full support and truly believe in your ability. This means investing everything you have in your writing before expecting anyone else to invest in you. No matter your age, development,  or stage in your career, there is always a new way to further your investment in your writing. I’ll start with the basics.

No matter your background, the first investment you can make in your writing would be:

  • Get organized. While writers are constantly stereotyped as frazzled, chaotic creatures of the art world, there is no reason to give truth to the statement. Being disorganized as a writer is the first sign that you don’t care enough about your work to make sure it is the best it could possibly be. For some, getting organized could mean finally keeping all your notes in one folder or creating a file folder strictly for all your story-related documents. For others in more dire need of organization, getting a binder, bound notebooks, or any singular location for all your writing adventures is a great place to start.
Once you’ve become organized, a relatively inexpensive and simple feat for taking your writing seriously, further investments may or may not dissuade you from the career after all. The second step to investing in yourself is to realize that like any other job, there are some necessities for advanced writers. These include:
  • Media. As a writer, you’re going to need a way to maintain all your work, files, all the while keeping a balanced life of interacting with the outside audience. To invest in your writing, you need to branch out to other writers and potential audiences. While it might seem like a lot, if you can’t balance Twitter, Facebook, a blog, Google+, and at least 3 email accounts, then you wont be able to handle the chaos that ensues publication and deadlines later in in your career. Investing the time and energy now into what networking can offer is a sure way to validate a stable income later on.
  • Practicality. As a writer, it is your job to, you guessed it, write. If you can’t invest in resources to allow yourself to become a better writer, IE workshops, reading material, seminars, along with the physical tools to make yourself a writer, no agent or publisher is going to take you seriously. As much as you don’t want to hear it, you are NOT the best writer out there. Until you take the chip off your shoulder and humble yourself to learn more about the craft, your work is useless. No one wants to represent a stagnant writer who believes their work is perfect.
  • Professionalism and portability. Lucky you! You call yourself a writer now! You know what that means? It means there will be times where you are only scraping by financially before you strike it big. This means you will be that writer in Starbucks stealing their WiFi to send your drafts and do your research. You need to not only be willing to invest in the quality equipment that will make your career efficient and modern, but also invest the time to be adventuresome and actually experience life. Sometimes, the best thing for your writing is for you to go on that vacation. Your writing will be waiting for you when you get back, but the experiences you lived through will make an amazing impact on the quality of your craft.
  • Efficiency. As I eluded to above, one of the last, and most expensive, investments for you to make as a writer is purchasing the equipment that can handle your workload and that helps you to be as efficient as you can be. Sure, that $800 tablet computer will sting now (the investment just made) but you will soon come to realize that its your job to be as fluent in technology as the next guy, if not more so, and it will only help propel your career into the direction you’d like it to go.
Okay, by now you should probably be able to realize what level of investment you have and are willing to surrender to your career as a writer. I hope you take these tips seriously, and feel free to comment any investments you’ve made into your writing an how its helped further your career. Thank you everyone, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

     Okay everyone, it’s about time I come clean with a little secret. While it’s not technically anything bad, and I’ve also hinted at it in previous posts, I feel like I’ve been….misleading, if that’s the right word for it. 

     Currently, I am not on any agent, publishers, or editors radar. There, I said it. I began this road as the start of my publication journey, so you might be thinking, why have I started when that “journey” technically hasn’t begun? That’s where things get a little sticky. 

     As I’ve said before, one persons road to fame is another person’s one way street off the edge of the social cliff; not one route works for everyone. In addition, there is so, so, SOOO much that has to be done before we, as writers, can even think of “beginning” our publication journey. First there’s drafting, editing, research, finding an agent, editing some more, querying, getting rejected, editing again, then eventually getting published. So that then begs the question, where’s the beginning? That is the question that this entire blog is about. 

     I’ve been writing seriously since 8th grade, but have always found some excuse or reason as to why my writing was never good enough to continue. My longest novel, 138 Microsoft word pages, I felt was not on par with the publishing market and definitely was not ready for any set of eyes besides my own. I wrote it in ninth grade, and finished it the summer before sophomore year. My writing style has changed dramatically since then, so I feel that it would misrepresent me as an author if I looked to publish it as is. This being said, I will move on to my most current work. 

      Perfect, my current WIP, is a Young Adult dystopian tale of friendship, betrayal, treason and deception. It currently stands at 53 pages and 27,000 words, though I haven’t even reached the midway point in my outline. Never before have I come across an idea so powerful, a plot so gripping, and had characters as desperate as Thea and Rex are to share their story. For days I couldn’t sleep just thinking about how the story would play out, and once I got to 15 pages in one day, I knew there was no other choice than to pursue publication. This, my readers, was my beginning. 

     Perfect and its characters became so uniquely their own that not even my sketched outline could stand in the way of the story that they wanted to tell. The story flows like a river from my finger tips, no matter the course of action, to the point where I know that this is the story I was meant to tell, the story that validated me as the author I always thought I was. I explain more about this in this guest post I did on Short Story Guy. When you realize that you’re no longer in charge of the world you created, but rather you’re the secretary to record what that world chooses to do, you start to evaluate the importance of what being a writer truly is and how sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the story is completely out of your hands. 

     I thank you all for believing in the start of my publication journey, even if I’m only in the research and “idea development” phase of the process. 

     If anyone has any interest in reading an excerpt of the story I’m so engrossed in or would like to know more about my writing, genre, plot overview, please feel free to contact me via a comment or on my “Contact Me” page here

Hello everyone. Today I have thankfully gotten a great guest-poster for you all that shares some insight into the realm of publishing and what the future could mean for us writers. Feel free to comment to ask Jose any questions you have. Without further adieu, Jose Cervantes!


Thank you Amanda for this opportunity to write a guest-post on your blog.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Amanda for starting her blog on July 16, 2013. It’s clear she’s in love with reading, writing, and storytelling. As a reader of her blog, I am sure you will receive a good dosage of thoughts and commentary on the aspiring life of a writer; from the creation of her works to the marketing and publishing.

Recently, Amanda shared her thoughts on writer’s block through a guest post on my website, Short Story Guy. She discussed her work-in-progress novel Perfect, and a technique she used to help her writing (and characters) move forward.
After reading her thoughts on writing, and story/character development, I am convinced that she will continue to work hard on that avenue. And her personal blog posts only reinforce that—the brainstorming pages of how she plans her writing is proof. So while she’s working hard in that department, she asked if I could come over and share my thoughts on the publication and marketing world.

How Portability Has Redefined Publishing and Marketing

When people look back at the last 20 years, the internet’s going to be the big umbrella word that everyone credits for the new industries that were developed at the beginning of the 21st century.
But what’s special about the internet? The internet exists when two computers can communicate, and over time, as the computers diminished in size, the internet expanded its reach into our lives.

The catalyst to everything—including modern publishing and communications—was portability. That’s right, your smart phone and tablet.
Facebook and Twitter took off when people had the ability to not only text people they knew, but to interact with the world through their fingertips, on the go.
The expansion of social media gave birth to the world-wide phenomena of sharing that we now live in. Social media has triggered people to share 1) their lives and knowledge and 2) the stories and knowledge of others.
If you pair this with the accessibility most of us enjoy to online publishing, it means that everyday billions of people are looking to create content (their own stories) and to share the works of others.
Whether it is audio, video, or verbal, the essence of sharing is the same—we are collectively adding to an enormous pile of stories that are finding ways to be heard, watched or read.
And by the time I finish writing this post, and definitely by the time it gets to Amanda and to you guys, the publication world will already have changed, as it is a daily race.
So we live in a time where anyone can begin to publish works to large quantities of people who can access your content anywhere they go.

Stories are Everything
Whether they are a person or an organization, more than ever people are finding ways to tell their story.
And today, storytelling is at the center of every industry. Why? This is because, as diverse as companies may be, every industry has the common need to advertise and market their product. And the way that marketing is happening is through stories.
But you already knew that. Pay attention the next time you watch TV. The commercial’s goal is to tell a story that is interesting enough as to make you feel something that somehow relates to that product. Some just simply entertain you, while others try to provoke other feelings.
When you walk into the mall and into stores, do you think it is just happen-chance? The photographed models are telling a story of how that brand’s clothes fits. The mannequins are relating a scene. The wall displays are striving to subliminally interest you in their arrangement, colors and feel.
Companies have always used whatever technology is available to tell their stories, beginning with the ability to print, then record, and watch. The difference today is that they have begun to also integrate their story into the inevitability of the internet, which is a catch-all. And on the internet, who knows? Your story may go viral.

What This Means for You
There is a lot of competition. Individuals are competing against other individuals, and against much more resourced organizations and companies who are also competing against themselves.
As you know, companies and organizations have gone to social media to expand their brand–even governments. And there’s no way of stopping all of this storytelling.
For the foreseeable future, publishing and marketing will be the ability you have to get your story to the consumer’s hands and mind, and then maybe you can get to their wallet.
The best thing you can do right now is to sharpen the skills you have, or want, to create that which will help you either tell your story or the story of others. By doing this, you will equip yourself with a skill that everyone is seeking. And however you want to create your story or contribute to one (design, illustrate, shoot, write), get to it now.
Which is why I congratulated Amanda for starting her blog. She knows she loves reading and writing, which are essentially two communicative devices, and therefore actively took it upon herself to do more of what she already loves, online.
Once you’ve got a platform for your story, I think the execution of the rest of your journey is where you can outshine the competition.
For now, don’t worry about how competitive the internet is. Be a part of the publishing revolution and know that even with the astronomical number of humans involved in the same process, you are still a select few. And at the very least, you’ll write regularly.
So get online and create stories and find the right mediums to spread them (podcasts, e-books, visuals, video, whatever).

Mix It Up

The very next thing any individual or organization needs to do is build relationships. And this is the irony: while you may think I’m talking about online relationships (which are helpful), my tip is to create an online platform but be sure to make it unique through offline interaction.
Why is this? Because in our modern times, we are forgetting what it means to communicate with people off-line. Newer generations seem to be more adept at typing with their thumbs than 10 fingers; so while everyone’s trying to make a splash online, you will solidify your publishing career through some work you do off-line.
This includes writing and producing content, receiving training, and relationship building with contacts that will help you in return. At least that is a big theory of mine. So as you create followers online through your platform, find a way to also interact with them offline.
This is because the online world is continually filled with distractions, and people are quickly desensitized to the stories they find online—they don’t even have the time for them all. They will remember you if they hear about you offline, and then keep up with you more online.
So get online and produce. Continually learn your own habits—what makes you pay attention to something or someone? What gadgets are you going for? And learn to tell your story through those mediums, all while keeping a healthy balance with your presence offline. Because people will look to be more engulfed in your stories (which is what technology will accomplish), and when they meet you offline, they’ll listen more.


Jose Cervantes

Jose has an interest in storytelling (journalism, fiction, nonfiction) and content creation, which has led him to gain experience in digital communications (writing, editing, web publishing, and online media). Previously, he worked in education for 10 years at the high school and university level. He is currently an editor and contributor to Short Story Guy, an online current event and modern-day fiction and nonfiction publication. He hosts the Short Story Guy Podcast and manages the site’s social media accounts.

He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Literature and Film. Jose lives in Los Angeles, CA.

For guest-post inquiries, email him at contact[at]shortstoryguy[dot]com

You can also get in further contact with Jose via;

His website, Short Story Guy or

His Profile


For me, there’s never been a good enough excuse to get out of writing…well, that was until these little ones were born. What kind of things distract you, and how do you overcome the distractions to get back to writing? No matter how hard I try, I can’t write knowing these little ones are nearby.


After a 6 hour writing session; One chapter, 5,000 words, all while monitoring Google+, Figment, Facebook, Twitter, Candy Cush, WordPress, and listening to music. Gotta love distractions! Comment your distractions or how you need your surrounding for a writing session.


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