Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category


I should be NaNo-ing the night away.  I haven’t worked on my NaNoWriMo novel since Saturday, so I’m increasingly getting behind on my word count.  I sat down at my desk at 8:30 pm to work on it tonight.  However, I have yet to write a single word to add to my current 4,000-word story…and it is after 1 am!

I know, where did the time go?  No, I didn’t fall asleep at my desk.  No, I didn’t get swept into the Facebook blackhole again.  No, I didn’t get distracted by games or anything considered a frivolous pastime.  Rather, I spent the last few hours consumed with other writing matters.

1.)  I searched for and added some new music for my writing playlist.  I meant to do it before NaNo started, but I never did finish my pre-NaNo checklist.  Fresh music equals fresh inspiration, so it was certainly a necessity, even though it doesn’t directly contribute to my NaNo word count.

2.)  I wrote another poem.  I am going through another fibromyalgia flare, either because I over did it this weekend with manual labor or because I’m still adjusting to the new strain of NaNo….or both.  Writing poetry about it, however, helps me cope with all the feelings that erupt because of my flare ups and helps me get recentered again.  Of course, I need to be recentered to focus on writing my novel, so again, time was spent away from NaNo, but it wasn’t a true loss.

3.)  I did some freelance writer paperwork.  Now, this definitely has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo.  Nevertheless, it had to be done.  Writing is my passion, but it is also my business and files are a part of any business.  It’s a boring and time-consuming process, but it is certainly a necessary evil.

4.)  I got sucked into writing a number of blog posts and articles (including this one).  Even with NaNo in full swing, I still have other writing obligations.  I have three blogs and write articles for a living.  Again, this isn’t beneficial to the novel-writing process…unless of course, you count blogging about why I’m not actively writing my NaNo novel right now.

5.)  I took notes for a new short story idea.  As some of you may know, I am working on a collection of short stories with a similar theme.  I’ve almost completed one of these short stories, and I’m collecting ideas for the subsequent ones.  Tonight, I added a third idea to my short story list.  What can I say?  Writing and inspiration only breed more writing and inspiration.  Since NaNo started, I’ve been flooded with countless new ideas…all of which are stubbornly vying for my attention.  You’ll have to excuse me when once in a while I get distracted by them.

6.)  I’ve come to a point in my NaNo novel where my plot is a little hazy.  I’m still trying to figure where to go next with it.  I already know the main plot points.  However, I need a transitional point right now and I’m a bit stuck.  I’ve been brainstorming and reworking my novel outline to try to fix this tiny snag.  I haven’t fixed it completely yet, but at least I can say I’ve made some progress.

What do you think?  Was my creative night worth slipping a little farther behind with NaNoWriMo?

© Amanda R. Dollak 2013


Photo Copyright 2013 Amanda R. Dollak

Photo Copyright 2013 Amanda R. Dollak

How does autumn inspire you?


Public Domain (Harriet Roosevelt Richards 1867-1932)

Public Domain (Harriet Roosevelt Richards 1867-1932)

I am guilty–through and through–of neglecting my blogs again.  The weeks leading up to my wedding grew more and more hectic.  And the chaos hasn’t relented even though I’ve been officially married for 11 days.  I know, excuses…excuses.  But we are all human and time is limited.  Sometimes we neglect for a time the things and people we love for other things and people we love.  The challenge is trying to juggle everything and everyone without dropping a single thing or making anyone feel left out.  I obviously am NOT a master at this, especially since I have a chronic illness complicating an already crazy schedule. So, forgive me and let’s move on to some wonderful news: I’m working on my first book!

Some of you may know that I consider myself a creative writer first and foremost.  Although I adore blogging and enjoy informative writing, my love of writing blossomed from my desire to make my own stories, poetry, and songs.  Since poetry is the only creative writing that I’ve published so far, I tend to neglect my first love–except for an occasional poem here and there.  Right now, creative writing doesn’t help too much to pay the bills, so it gets put on the back burner far too often.

Well, my muse decided this week enough is enough!  I have been mulling over an idea for a collection of short stories for months.  In fact, the first story has tried to practically write itself on several occasions.  However, with wedding plans and other obligations, I did my best to set it aside until I had some more free time.  The free time never DID come…so my creative mind decided Sunday night that I had wait long enough.  I found myself desperately trying to get some sleep when BAM! inspiration slammed me in the face and refused to let me go until I wrote several pages.  I was up until nearly 2:00 am writing this short story even though I knew that I had be up at 6:30.  When the perfect moment strikes (at least in the opinion of your muse) you don’t argue or fight it.  You ride it wherever it will take you.  Anything less would be insane.

I am about halfway finished with this first tale of the collection I hope to publish as my first book.  I already have the rest of the story outlined, and my mind is already mulling over the details of the rest of the short stories.  Who knows if this first book of mine will be anything to brag about.  It might even end up stinking.  However, it MUST be written.  Some invisible force has been insisting for months that I’m meant to finish these short stories.  And no matter what, I WILL finish them!  There is no other way to get back the reins of my life.

Has inspiration ever hijacked your life and refused to let go until you wrote a literary piece?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Sudden Storm

I love my family. They mean the world to me. However, sometimes I don’t understand them. I try my best to understand their beliefs and perspectives. I listen to their reasoning. I carefully consider their arguments. But occasionally, I simply can’t understand them. I can’t wrap my head around their logic, so it doesn’t make sense in my mind. In the end, I’m left shaking my head in bewilderment and loving them through it all.

One topic that some of my relatives and I don’t agree on is dreams. These relatives can be pretty superstitious, and they are full of information about the omens in life and dreams. As a little girl, they inadvertently had me convinced that if I died in one of my dreams, I’d die in the real world, too. I overheard them talking about this idea one day, and I was terrified!

Imagine my surprise the first time I died in a dream and I woke up unscathed. At first, I thought that perhaps I had been lucky and that I could still die if it happened again. Well, I am here to testify that I have died a thousand deaths and I’m still breathing. It’s a glorious feeling!

These death dreams aren’t fun. They freak me out. They startle me awake in the middle of the night or too early in the morning. And they have caused a few sleepless nights because I was too unnerved to fall asleep again so soon. Still, I’ve learned to live with them and now even figured out how to use them to my advantage.

You may be wondering how nightmares could come in handy. They are fertile ground for story ideas, of course! The intensity, the raw emotion, the suspense, and the vividness–they are all perfect for story writing. So, in a sense, I die a little more each night, so I can breathe life into my characters. For a short time, I live through their experiences, feel the turmoil inside of them, and then face life’s greatest unknown right there with them. I get to know them intimately, and I never forget them as I immortalize them in a story. I have to say that this almost makes me wish for more nightmares…almost!


In 2012, I decided to experiment with my writing.  I started my first blog, and within a couple months, I experimented with my blogging abilities by entering the A to Z April Blogging Challenge.  As a newbie blogger, I was eager to test the waters, but I was also scared to death.  Even though I had been a content writer since 2008, I knew little about starting and maintaining a blog.  I went into the 2012 A to Z Challenge excited and determined but worried that I would never make it to the end.

Despite my self-doubt and worry, I finished the 2012 A to Z Challenge, and I eagerly waited for April to come again.  I was hooked!  In the beginning, I was afraid that blogging was not for me.  A year later, though, I have three blogs, all of which I entered into the 2013 A to Z Challenge—and survived!  Discovering blogging and then this challenge has changed me forever.

I have grown immensely as a writer through my blogs and the A to Z Challenge.  I have learned more about myself and my writing.  I have discovered my strengths and my weaknesses as a writer.  I have grown more confident and creative.  I have embraced my identity as a writer and learned to allow my voice to flow more freely.   Ultimately, blogging and the A to Z Challenge have allowed me to see that I have been underestimating myself and my writing abilities.

I once believed that my writing depended on a bunch of factors.  I used to think that I needed to find the perfect time, place, and idea before I could truly write.  In life, however, there is rarely perfection.  I wasted so many years of my life waiting for the right conditions so I could I begin writing seriously.  But seeing my ideas and words unfold before me, last year and now this year, through the mad rush of the A to Z Challenge has proven me wrong.  I now know I can produce quality writing even if I am pressed for time and must write around a thousand distractions and other obligations.  I can beat writer’s block and find endless sources of inspiration.  And I can be productive and write daily if only I believe in myself and make it a priority.

For two years now, the A to Z April Blogging Challenge has been my own journey to self-discovery.  Last year I learned to overcome my fears and reservations as a new blogger.  And this year, I discovered how to keep writing even when life throws the most difficult of obstacles.  I can’t wait until next year to see what other valuable insights I might find!