May 10, 2013

Friday's Star: Amanda Dollak

Amanda Dollak is a poet, content writer, and blogger.  She is also an aspiring novelist with over 10 works in progress.  She has been writing professionally for about 5 years but has been writing poetry and stories since she was a little girl.  Amanda has a BS in Criminal Justice and enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics including parenting, health, criminal justice, pets, literature, and nature.


Amanda DollakHello Amanda.  Welcome to Mandy's Pages.  I'm so happy you could make it to this interview.  Do tell our readers a little about yourself ... who you are and what you write about. 

My name is Amanda Dollak.  As a writer, I see myself as an artist, a scientist, and an adventurer.  I began writing poetry as a little girl.  My fascination with poetry started largely because of my family’s love of music.  Later on, as my writing abilities grew as a child, I took my love of books and started creating stories of my own.  Now I am a poet, a novelist in the making, a content writer, and most recently, a blogger.  My passion is writing.  I’m always experimenting with new writing techniques and forms, and I’m forever eager to stretch my writing abilities beyond their limits.


A writer starts somewhere at some time.  When did you begin?  Can you recall any special motivation?

I actually can’t remember the first time I sat down to write.  I have been writing most of my life, so writing is second nature to me.  Since I was so young when I started writing, I didn’t even have a desk yet.  However, I still remember that my love of music, books, and my father’s ghost stories were the main motivations behind my decision to become a writer.


What drives you to write?  How do you get your ideas?

Most of my writing ideas come from being inspired by the world around me.  In fact, my posts on my writing blog this month have all been about strange and unique sources of inspiration for my writing.  The tiniest or most mundane objects can give me an idea for a new project.  Additionally, the majority of my story ideas have been born because of vivid or recurring dreams that I’ve had in the past.


What do you mostly write about?

It’s hard to say what I mostly write about.  My writing spans so many topics and genres.  Ultimately, it’s what interests me, what I feel moved to write, and what touches me deeply.


Amanda, most of the writers I’ve interviewed so far face writer’s block from time to time. Is there anything like that for you?

Honestly, I’ve had my share of battles with writer’s block.  Usually my natural flow of thoughts and words can get bogged up by stress and not enough rest that if I don’t deal with this negativity and exhaustion, I simply cannot write.


Are there any challenges that you’re facing as a writer?

Yes, I do face challenges as a writer.  I am a stay-at-home mom of two, cyber schools my children and have a chronic illness, fibromyalgia.  Because of time restraints and physical limitations, I often have to be very creative to be able to write on a daily basis.


Would it be safe to say you are an expert in your field?

Over the years I have grown a lot as a writer, especially since I became a content writer five years ago.  I’m still a work in progress and believe I have much to learn.  As such, I don’t see myself as an expert in my field.  To me, writing involves a lifetime of creating, practicing, and evolving.  I’m not sure I’ll ever see myself as an expert.


Here’s my usual question that I enjoy receiving responses to.  If a publisher were to review your work, how do you think they will grade you on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best?

If a publisher reviewed my work, I think they would probably give me a rating of 7 out of 10.  Many have told me that my grammar is great and that my writing can be very engaging and entertaining.  Still, I know that my talent has a raw side and I am in the process of fine-tuning my craft.


How do you rate your work from 1 to 10?

Personally, I would probably rate my writing at about 5 out of 10.  I know I am my own worst critic.  Simply comparing my content writing over the last 5 years, I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer.  However, I have a clear vision of what I hope my writing will be like some day, and I’m always pushing myself towards that future.


What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

To aspiring writers, I would offer two pieces of advice.  First, you may be born with writing talent, but writers are created.  Always strive to hone your craft.  Study grammar, read as much as possible, and don’t forget to write as frequently as you can.  The more experience you have the better your writing will become.  Secondly, don’t take criticism to heart.  Constructive criticism can be useful.  However, too many people enjoy criticizing other people’s work merely to spread negativity or to feel important.  Objectively listen to criticism, and ignore any criticism that is meant to tear you down or undermine your confidence in yourself.


Amanda with so many aspirations and writing endeavors, how do you see yourself in the years ahead?

My biggest goal for the future is to finally finish a novel and give it into print.  I currently have over 10 novels in progress, some of which I’ve been working on for years.  I feel like I’ve finally become comfortable and confident enough with my writing to make this dream a reality.


Amanda, thank you so much for completing this interview for Mandy's Pages.  It is always a delight to interact with talented writers and you are one that fits this category.  Together with Mandy's Pages and all our readers I wish you all success and fortune with your writing dreams and upcoming novels. Do get back to us when your first novel is out and you can be sure to have a spot in our Author Spotlight section.  Until then, thank you and God bless! 


Interact with Amanda R. Dollak on Facebook to find out more about her writing.