Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

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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

Tigger Sleeping Under Blanket

Lately, I am starting to wonder if my brain didn’t get the memo.  I no longer can stay up to 2, 3 or 4 am because I’m supposed to be awake by 6:30 in the morning now.  My little princess gets on the bus very early this year, so I had absolutely no choice in changing my schedule so drastically.  We’ve been using this schedule since the middle of August, so c’mon, brain, can’t we adjust here?

After another late, late night again, I’m starting to think maybe it is a hopeless task.  My creative mind is most active at night.  And my energy levels are higher towards my new bedtime (10:30).  I end up feeling like a squirrel on Red Bull when I try to force myself to fall asleep so early–still!

I get ants in my pants.  I can’t seem to stop fidgeting.  My mind gets bombarded with a billion creative ideas and many more random thoughts.  My brain starts spouting poetry.  Words start stringing into sentences in my head.  Story scenes begin to appear as my imagination takes over.  I end up feeling like I have an entire mob yelling, screaming, and vying for my attention within my skull.  Not very conducive to peaceful sleep, is it?

It is certainly a futile battle.  I’m never going to win.  My muse is just far too powerful for little ol’ me.  Of course, I’m going to do everything in my power to turn out the lights by 10:30 every night.  But if the racket gets too, there’s no point in fussing, complaining, and fighting the situation.  It would be fruitless and insane to do!  There was a time–not too long ago–when I was so blocked up with raw emotion from hardships in life that I couldn’t even write a whole sentence. I honestly feared I would never write again.  I thought whatever I had was broken, destroyed by too much pain and grief.  So, even now when I’m running on fumes and running into walls in utter exhaustion, I still keep in mind it could be worse.  I could be up late night after night unable to write, afraid that I might permanently lose an vital part of myself forever.


© Amanda R. Dollak 2013


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


I Am Afraid

 NaNoWriMo is only a little over a day away.  Although I am still super excited and poised on my seat, the intensity is mounting…and so are my jitters and doubts.  To try to purge myself of all the negativity, I thought I should write them all out and address each and every one of them:

I am afraid

I am afraid that I don’t have what it takes.

I am afraid that I won’t know what to write.

I am afraid that what I have to offer won’t matter.

I am afraid that all my work will be in vain.

I am more afraid

I am more afraid that I will die before I fulfill my dreams.

I am more afraid that the world will never hear my soul.

I am more afraid that I will disappoint myself.

I am more afraid that my life will be in vain.

This is new territory for me.  I have always dreamed big, but I’ve never set a goal this high before.  Can I stay focused, calm, and dedicated through the whole challenge?  Can I write at least 50,000 words in a month?  Can I finally finish a novel?  Only time will see.  However, may my fears, doubts, and any other roadblock vanish right now, and may I approach NaNo on November 1st with a clear mind and a strong heart.

Good luck to all my fellow NaNo participants.  May we cross the finish line together–happy, empowered, content, and confident–no matter our final word count!

© Amanda R. Dollak 2013


Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 2013

Halt!  Stop the presses…or whatever you want to call the chaos that is always my mind!  I am experiencing creative overload tonight, and my brain is reaching critical velocity and capacity.  If one more idea jumps into my head, I’m afraid my head is going to explode.  Or worse, I might tear a thinking muscle or two, disrupting the chain of inspiration cascading through my mind.

With planning and preparing for the National Novel Writing Month challenge (NaNoWriMo) in full swing, I can’t allow anything to interfere with my inspiration motherload.  I’ve found a sweet spot.  I’m in the zone.  And with two weeks left until the challenge begins, brain don’t fail me now!

Some way–somehow–I MUST find a way to harness this creativity gold mine without putting it into jeopardy.  Not enough control and I’ll self destruct for sure in all my enthusiasm.  Too much control, and my fickle muse will take off running.  It’s going to take some careful thought and planning to make the most of this rare and glorious overflowing of creativity.

I can hardly sleep right now, and when I do the majority of my dreams are about writing.  In addition to my NanoWriMo novel, I have at least 4 novels trying to shove their way through for my attention.  My mind is swimming with poetic verses, rhymes, article ideas, and blog posts.  The short stories that I’ve been working on are screaming for attention.  An idea for a children’s book (illustrations and all) is taking a temper tantrum in the back of my mind.  I think there is even a song in there trying to write itself.

Add all of that to the normal insane hubbub of songs, trivia, TV shows, movies, books I have read (or am reading), craft/art ideas, recipes, memories, emotions, to-do lists, and so on and so on, no wonder it feels like my head can’t hold anymore!

It is time for me to step back, take a DEEP breath, and try to organize at least some of the chaos before I try to do any serious work again.  Some more sleep is in order as well.  I need a fresh mind, a fresh start, and a fresh approach.  Only then will I be able to properly utilize this precious gift of intense creativity and inspiration before it vanishes as quickly and as mysteriously as it appeared!