Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category

Photo Credit: Publicdomain.com

Photo Credit: Publicdomain.com

Far too often we find ourselves cowering with only half a foot out of our comfort zone.  We want to reach for our dreams and search for bigger and better things.  We desire to create something totally unique to show the world what we are made of.  But we almost always fall short of our aspirations because we are constantly afraid of getting burned or rejected.

Instead of making timid steps that don’t lead us very far, we need to let fear fall off to the wayside.  We must step boldly out of our comfort zone and keep expanding it until we reach our goals.  There is no need for huge leaps of faith.  Running blind will only lead to disaster.  No, we must keep our eye on the prize and firmly plant one foot in front of the other–steadily moving forward with a brave and eager heart.

Change is never easy, especially when there is risk and the unknown involved.  Still, who wants to stay stuck in one place for an entire lifetime, changed in place by all that might happen?  I know I don’t!  Today, I vow to hold my head up high, turn a deaf ear to fear, and leave my comfort zone a little more each day.

I already started stretching my comfort zone for over a month now.  (1) I signed out for NaNoWriMo and seriously worked on a novel!  I only reach 15,000 words out of 50,000 because my laptop died and I was very sick.  I didn’t win, but I won something even great: I learned to be fearless with my stories again.  I don’t care if they are good.  I don’t care if people will ever read them.  I only care that they are written.  They are in my mind and are begging to be created.  That’s all the reason I need.

I also decided that the beginning of December would be a great opportunity to revamp my freelance writing.  I’m working on some refresher courses.  I’m reacquainting myself with sites I haven’t written for in months and even years.  I accepted a number of assignments.  And I’m exploring other self-employment opportunities.

Finally, I also have finally found the courage to  begin my life story–or as I like to call it, my beginning story.  I am nearing 30, and I can feel the pages growing thin.  An end is coming; I can feel it.  The me that lived for almost 30 years is dying, and a new me is ready to come back stronger than.  I’ve been far too afraid to face my past.  It held so much pain and darkness.  Many of the wounds are still excruciating.  But it’s time to purge my demons onto the page and bring that story to a permanent close.  I’ll always be me at the core, but it is time to start unloading the baggage and leave all the ugliness behind.  I choose only to allow bring with me the strength, kindness, compassion, and wisdom that bloomed from this darkness.  The rest of it can stay behind as I move on to better and happier years!

What are you doing to push yourself a little more out of your comfort zone?

© 2013 Amanda R. Dollak
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NaNoWriMo

I’m in deep NaNo trouble here, people!  My laptop died not even a week into the challenge, so I wasn’t able to work much on my novel since.  I have my new laptop now, so I’m eager to get my hands flying and my head wrapped around my story again.  The problem is I am FAR behind and I have a head cold from H – E – Double Hockey Sticks.  So, here I am writing about not writing my NaNo novel.  Yep, I am in perfect form tonight!

Ok, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining too much.  I am 8,229 words (and counting) into my novel.  I was able to get a new laptop fairly quickly by a bit of a miracle (even though I was sure I wouldn’t be able to replace it for months).  And I still have the strong urge inside of me to get this story written out finally for the whole world (or at least my whole world) to see.

It isn’t going to be easy.  NaNo is nearly halfway over.  (I think I just had a mini heart attack with that realization!)  NaNo claims I need to write a minimum of 2,458 words per day now to finish on time.  (Again, eek and double eek!!!)  Still, I’m never one to give up too easily.  I WANT this–no I NEED this–more than I could ever express.  I NEED to know I haven’t given up on my lifelong dreams.  I NEED to prove to myself that I won’t ever sell myself short.  I NEED to convince myself that my life’s work will never be in vain.

Consequently, I am refusing to give up–now and always.  Life is messy.  It loves to throw us for a loop and send us off course.  However, it is what we do with those messes and how we continue on once we move beyond them that truly matters.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life as that girl who gave up on NaNo long before she ever gave herself the chance to soar.  This is a battle worth fighting for, and I won’t allow anything to stop me from pursuing my dreams!

© Amanda R. Dollak 2013

Boomer Hiding in Bags

NaNoWriMo

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: © Amanda R. Dollak 2013

Photo: © Amanda R. Dollak 2013

My family thinks I am crazy . . . NaNoWriMo crazy!  Besides my loving husband, who is very supportive of my dream to be novelist, my family doesn’t get the whole NaNo thing.  All I hear are vague comments like “Oh, that’s nice!” or “Ok, good for you!”  That is until I explain more about NaNo.  And then it goes something like this:

Me: “Yeah, I’m really excited to finally finish a novel!!  I hope I finish by the end of the month so I can win the challenge.”

Other Person: “So, what do you win if you finish?  Are there prizes?  Will they publish your book?”

Me:  “There are no prizes, and they don’t publish your novel.  It’s the experience and knowing that you can do it that are the prizes.”

Other Person: “What a ripoff!”

Well, ok, they don’t exactly say “What a ripoff!” exactly.  But they might as well.  They all get that same look on their faces and/or that same tone in their voices.  They look like I’m nuts–that I’ve finally gone over the deep end.  In their minds, what is the point of working so hard for no prize?  What is the point of practically killing yourself to finish a novel, only to have it still unfinished?

To me, the point is oh, so clear: because competition and necessity breed amazing things!  This competition is just what I needed to make me want to take my novelist dreams seriously.  I’ve had the desire to see my stories published for as long as I can remember.  But here I am, nearing 30, and I still haven’t even finished a single novel?  In fact, I haven’t taken my fiction writing seriously for about 10 years.  Yes, NaNo was exactly what I needed to get out of a rut I’ve been stuck in for FAR too long.  What could be more rewarding or priceless than that?

© Amanda R. Dollak 2013