Write On Your Terms: Why You Can Succeed As A Writer Without Committing To NaNoWriMo

Let me start off by saying this: I love NaNoWriMo. I’ve participated twice in the last four years, and each time I felt myself challenged, excited and creatively supercharged with each passing day. The process of writing in 30 days a full 50,000 word or more novel is exhilarating to say the least. So this post is not a knock to the event at all. In fact the event is still a very huge presence in my writing in the month of November.

However, for any authors out there who are not participating or can’t participate in the event, know that it is ok. You do not have to participate in the event to be a great writer in life or even just in the month of November. I struggled for a couple weeks on whether or not I wanted to participate in this year’s event.

Am I participating?

So many factors came into play when it came to my ultimate decision. I am working four jobs right now, all of which take up a lot of my time. In addition to this, I have responsibilities at home that take up even more time of my day, so by the time I get to the point where I have time to write, I’m either exhausted or have very little time to write, only getting a few hundred words in at most. I also have a project I am deeply committed to, but I am already at over 40,000 words. I’m not sure how many more words my project will end up taking on, but I don’t want the pressure of having to write another 50,000 just to satisfy the goal of NaNoWriMo and writing more than I really needed. Each story is unique (as many of you writers know), and should not be constrained by word counts for the sake of statistics. It usually sacrifices the story and flow of the novel overall as a result. I started coming up with an outline for a short story anthology I want to write to create a whole new project to work on, but with all of the other factors in play, the timing for NaNoWriMo 2018 just didn’t feel right.

So I decided ultimately to hold off for the year. I felt at first like I was failing to join the writing community or failing to be the best writer I could be. Then I started to ask myself: why? My day jobs consist of writing. I have a whole project I’m in the midst of working on that will include more writing. I’m neck deep into the world of writing. Why should I feel any less of a writer just because I’m not participating in the event.

Your Terms

There is no shame in taking your own path when it comes to writing. Whether you have an existing project, a project that doesn’t require 50,000 words or more or already is near that goal, you don’t have to commit to an event to feel like a great writer. The best advice I can give to a writer is to just be you. Write what you love, and write it on your own terms. Whether it takes you a month or ten years, don’t let anyone else tell you, (although, unless you are writing the next great novel, ten years is a bit long. Just kidding). Even I am still growing as a writer, and learning that you cannot rush the creative process or a project as a whole. To anyone participating in NaNoWriMo, good luck to you guys and I wish you well. I look forward to reading some of these projects in the future, and to interacting with you guys throughout the month as we all write alongside you. To everyone else, be you, and write on your own terms.

What do you guys think? Does this help any of you writers out there? Do any other authors have advice for anyone not participating in NaNoWriMo? Leave your comments below and be sure to share this post on your social media sites.

Check out my latest review of Firstborn by Tosca Lee here! Also grab your copy of my first two YA novellas in the Nightmare Academy series here!

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Author Anthony Avina’s Blog Featured on Feedspot Top 100 Book Review Blogs List

Happy to share that I made the Top 100 Book Review Blogs list for Feedspot. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last year as I built up this website. I look forward to continuing this journey and making this book review and author work a full time thing. Check out the rest of the amazing blogs on this list down below! Feedspot Blog Reader

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Hope At The House of Mouse (Disneyland 2018)

My Day At Disneyland

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The blazing Southern California heat couldn’t touch stop us from having the time of our lives. When the world thinks of Southern California residents, they have a certain image of us. They see beach dwellers, Hollywood obsessed actors and non-stop party goers. They see the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, and the pitfalls of crime and horrors on the streets of our cities. Thanks to social media, a lot of people also tend to assume that anyone who lives in Southern California goes to Disneyland all the time. They would be wrong.

When I was a kid, trips to Disneyland were a once a year adventure. They were ingrained into our childhood memories, like sand mixing into the fibers of a carpet. No matter how hard you try not to dwell on the past and yearn to return to a happy time, those memories just won’t go away. For someone like myself, who struggles with physical disabilities 24/7, getting down to Anaheim and the Happiest Place On Earth is no easy task.

Entering The Park

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For the first time, I got to experience a day at Disneyland and California Adventure like never before. Setting out with my fellow Disney obsessed fans (who happen to also be my mother and sister) we ventured into the park and experienced it like it was the first time. From our first time eating lunch at the famed Carnation Cafe to the soothing ride on the classic attraction Jungle Cruise, the day was like someone scavenged through the memories of my childhood and plucked it out of my mind.

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Honoring My Grandfather

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The highlight, (one of many), of the day for me came in New Orleans Square. Years ago on Christmas Eve, my family and I had the misfortune of having to say goodbye to my grandfather, my mother’s father. He was a kind, caring family man who may not have been perfect, but he loved his family dearly. He was the kind of man who wouldn’t let you get into his home without bombarding you with affectionate hugs. He gave my mother, sister and I our love for cheesy horror movies and musicals. He is the man who introduced my mother, and subsequently me, to the works of Stephen King, the author who would inspire me to become a writer in the first place. He was an amazing soul who worked his entire life as a carpet layer to provide for his family, and gave everyone a lifetime’s worth of memories to cherish.

It was one of those memories that led to this momentous day at Disney. While in New Orleans Square, my mother surprised my sister and I with a glass figurine each. We learned that as a child, her father would take her to Disneyland, and together they would watch the glass figurines being made in that shop, the Cristal d’Orleans. Then he would buy her one of the figurines. It was a symbol of the great memories she made at the park with her father, and for years she dreamt of passing it down to us. After a decade away from the park, we finally had the opportunity to learn of this experience she had, and together we had an emotional bonding moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

California Adventure

Then we continued our fun in California Adventure. An area of the park we never experienced as children since it had yet to come into existence fully, we explored the fun and excitement of the park. It was Pixar Fest, and we got to see some amazing sights. We traveled back in time to the days when boardwalk games were still popular and won some fun prizes. We listened to amazing Mariachi Music, including a wonderful rendition of our current favorite Disney tune, “Remember Me” from Coco. We shopped and dined, and together we experienced one of the best days of our lives.

Some may not understand fully why a day at Disneyland could be so magical to a family of adults, but to us, honoring our childhood and the memories we shared, is something everyone should experience throughout their lives. The world of Disney helped shape part of our lives, giving us the means to explore masterful storytelling, emotional highs and lows in life, and best of all, discovering the magic of hope. In our daily lives, we experience physical pain from our disabilities, emotional pain from those illnesses and the despairing world around us, and mental pain knowing those things aren’t something we can change overnight. Yet in that one day, we got to experience nonstop wonder, excitement, fun and best of all, hope.

A Day To Cherish

We laughed. We cried. We made memories together, and we made promises to one another. Promises to honor the day we had with one another and make it an annual trip (hopefully) in the future. To make it a goal to get to the park at least once a year, and honor the memories we shared with one another. To honor those who are no longer with us in body, but remain in our hearts. To look adversity and pain in the face and smile, as the hope for a brighter tomorrow races towards us. For myself and my family, that is what the happiest place on Earth means to us. That’s what Disney has done for our family.

What is your favorite childhood memory? What’s one place you will never stop wanting to go to no matter how old you are? Leave your comments below.

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/

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How I Cope With Depression & Anxiety

Hello there everyone! You guys have read a lot of different posts from me. I mostly post book reviews, author interviews and personal writing blog posts about my own work as an author. That’s what you’ve come to know about me over the years, but one thing you may have noticed as well is that I am very passionate about mental health awareness. There are many reasons for my increased passion for this topic, but today I’m going to tell you the personal connection I have to mental health awareness. You see…I suffer from depression and anxiety.

I’ve touched upon this briefly in old videos on my YouTube channel Avina Vlogs. However as I’ve had the pleasure of working with the amazing company BetterHelp on several guest blog posts, I thought I’d take a more hands on approach and work with the company to bring you my own personal mental health struggles.

You see, my depression struggles began when I was sixteen years old. At that time I was an active kid in high school, working hard in school and holding down a steady job, earning money for my future. I was studying, working, and gearing towards my future education in college. I was losing weight, hitting the gym hard and was living what society has deemed a typical high school life. Yet whether you want to call it fate or just a stroke of bad luck, the universe had other plans in store.

One night in November 2006, I was at the gym playing a pickup game of basketball when I landed on a slippery spot on the court. My legs gave out under me and I proceeded to tear a ligament in my ankle. That would be the night my life changed forever. To make a long story short my life got turned upside down. My ankle to this day after multiple surgeries never healed properly. After my injury, illnesses I inherited from my family began to crop up,. This stopped me from working out of the house, forced me to finish my high school career from home and set me on the course I’m on today.

Now while this string of bad luck allowed me to find my purpose in life, which was writing, it also set me up with a lifetime of health struggles that will never end. This has been the biggest contributing factor in my mental health struggles. Since then I have struggled with crippling depression and anxiety, especially and more specifically social anxiety. It’s a struggle to get out of bed each day and do what I’m capable of doing, knowing I’ll never be able to do what I once was able to. The struggle never stops, but there are ways I’ve learned over the years to cope. Some are more personal, while others may be able to help you as well.

  1. Talk to someone. This is the most important step you can take. Sitting alone with your thoughts in this state is dangerous, and if not for my amazing family I would have been alone. Speak to family, friends, or professional help. No matter what find someone to reach out to.
  2. Find a Creative Outlet. This for me has included various things, such as writing and reading, blogging, photography, videography, playing video games and so much more. Perhaps art or design is your outlet. Find something to occupy your mind.
  3. Health. Eat healthy food, exercising or moving in general can help with your depression.
  4. Seek Help. If the depression is overwhelming, seek help from a professional. Don’t let others tell you differently. Ignore those who support the stigma around mental health. Take control and find someone to help you. They can either prescribe the right medication for you, help you find natural ways of coping or talk you through the process. A great way to do this is to find a psychiatrist, which thanks to my friends at BetterHelp you can do by clicking the link here.    https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/reasons-to-choose-an-online-psychiatrist/

Thanks so much everyone for listening. If you’d like to know more about my mental health journey or other’s who struggle with it and how they cope, leave a comment below and share this post on your social media sites. Thanks to my friends at BetterHelp for the link to this amazing resource, and I will talk to you all in the next post.

The Basics of Bipolar Disorder (Guest Post)

Hi there my friends. I’m honored to once again be hosting a guest post from the incredible website BetterHelp. The post they’ve put together for you guys is near and dear to my heart, as Bipolar Disorder affects someone I love and care for dearly. I may talk about that in a separate post, but for now I hope this post will help anyone suffering from Bipolar Disorder or anyone who knows and loves someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Take special care to read the article and click the links, especially if any of you feel you need help in this regard. Thank you once again to BetterHelp for this amazing guest post, and I hope you all will enjoy it.

Anthony Avina

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You may know it as manic-depressive disorder, but it is typically now referred to as bipolar disorder. This is a serious mental health disorder that affects close to three percent of the United States population. Bipolar disorder is a double-edged sword in that it causes both severe depression and mania or hypomania, which is an extremely high mood. There are several types of bipolar disorder, including bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by having at least one manic episode that lasts at least seven days and is followed by a depressive or hypomanic episode. Those with bipolar I disorder can also have psychosis, which is a period when emotions and thoughts are impaired so much that you are no longer able to tell what is real and what is not real. This sometimes includes hallucinations.

Bipolar II Disorder

This condition consists of having more than one period of depression and a period of hypomania but no manic episode. Hypomania is a less severe type of mania that causes some manic episodes but you can still perform your daily activities. Many people with bipolar II disorder are mistakenly diagnosed with depression because they do not consider the hypomania a part of the disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, is a milder type of bipolar disorder. With this disorder, you will have both depression and hypomania on and off for several years but it will not get severe enough to affect your daily life. It is called cyclothymic disorder because you cycle through high and low emotions over and over again. This condition is rare and only affects less than one percent of the American population.

How You Can Tell if You Have Bipolar Disorder

Even though the signs of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person, there are some that are common in all patients. These symptoms include:

Mania

  • Not sleeping
  • Talking louder, faster, and more often than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Trying to do more than you can handle (overbooking yourself)
  • Extreme behaviors such as gambling, unprotected sex, spending money that you cannot afford
  • Drinking in excess or using illegal drugs
  • Rapid thoughts

Depression

  • Feeling sad, despondent, and helpless
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Anger or aggression
  • Crying bouts for no obvious reasons
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Memory lapses
  • Thoughts of suicide

Risk Factors

According to experts, bipolar disorders are genetic, but they can also be affected by environmental issues like constant and extreme stress, lack of sleep for long periods of time, addiction to alcohol or drugs, physical abnormalities in the brain, and/or chemical or hormonal imbalances.

Treatment

The treatment for bipolar disorder includes medications such as a tricyclic antidepressant, an atypical antidepressant, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). In addition, those with bipolar disorder should talk to a therapist on a regular basis. This is important because some of the medications can become less effective over time and your therapist will be able to tell just by talking to you if you need to switch your dosage or medication. If you do not have a therapist to talk to or you are too busy to find the time to make an appointment, you can find a professional on BetterHelp.com. Just click here to talk to someone, with no appointment necessary.

 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Book Release: Blood and Romance by Anthony Avina

Hi there guys. Seven years ago I released a short book of poetry called Blood and Romance. Today I updated the book to better reflect my writing, gave it a cool new cover and finally gave the book a paperback version. Now the book is available in Kindle and Paperback formats. If you enjoy good horror and romance themed poetry, then pick up this cool book for only $4 on Amazon, and best of all it’s available for Prime members (free shipping)! I hope you guys enjoy it and in the comments below if you read the book tell me your favorite poem.

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My Interview with Author Claire Gem

I was fortunate enough to work with author Claire Gem recently on her novel Spirits of the Heart, and she was kind enough to offer me a chance to do an interview for her website as well. So be sure to check out my interview with Claire over on her website, and don’t forget to follow her while you’re there!

 

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