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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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 Depression Affects Relationships and What to Do About It

How you deal with your depression may very well decide whether your relationship will end before the depression does. One study showed how major depression leads to negative life events such as divorce. Not only that, but your spouse may become depressed, too, as they struggle to manage things you aren’t able to do because you’re mired in negativity.

Your spouse may be your greatest support. The best way to thank her or him for that is to deal with your depression as quickly and completely as possible.

Easier said than done, right? However, there are some things you can do for yourself to decrease the severity and length of your depression.

Avoid Ruminating

Ruminating means turning something over and over in your mind without solving the problem you’re thinking about. Some people call it wallowing. Think of it as dwelling on problems rather than solutions.

Research has shown that people who ruminate a lot when they’re depressed have more numerous and severe depressive symptoms. So, instead of thinking about how bad you feel and everything you feel has gone wrong, choose more positive thoughts.

Change the Way You Think

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment method used by therapists to teach you how to identify problem thoughts and replace them with more positive thoughts. Through cognitive restructuring, a key CBT technique, you learn to look at your situation differently.  You can work with a local therapist or an online psychiatrist to change your thinking through CBT.

Take Positive Action

People who are depressed often have a hard time taking positive action to improve their situation. Many do break through their feelings of being stuck though, and you can, too. Start with CBT. Then, go further by putting what you learn into practice every day.

Take action on your own, or talk to your partner about how you can work together to solve problems. The benefits for your relationship can start even before the depression lifts. Just the fact that you’re collaborating with each other on these issues can bring you closer together.

Confide in Your Spouse

Confiding in your spouse about your depressive thoughts and behaviors is a good way to check your perceptions and thought processes. Assuming your spouse isn’t depressed, too, she or he can help you develop a more balanced view and provide a more positive perspective.

Do Activities You Usually Enjoy Together

You might not feel like going hiking or taking an evening to go have dinner and see a play. If an activity has been a source of joy for the two of you in the past, though, your spouse may miss it. Honor the support your spouse offers you by doing what you can to support them, too.

Seek Help

The most important thing you can do for your relationship is to seek help for your depression as early as possible. With early intervention, you can overcome your depression faster and stay well longer. You can learn appropriate ways to deal with your depression within the marriage and when you’re on your own.

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.

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.

Guest Post: How to Keep Working When Experiencing a Depressive Episode

Can you continue to work when you have bipolar disorder and you are experiencing a depressive episode? Many people have proven that it’s possible. Yet, research shows that maintaining employment is a major challenge for people with bipolar disorder. To overcome this challenge, following these suggestions may help you in continuing with your career path.

Recognize Symptoms Early

Recognizing your symptoms as soon as they happen is crucial. If you’re not paying careful attention to, ignoring, or denying your symptoms, your condition could become severe before you even realize you need to do something to get better.

One study revealed that patient education on symptoms and treatment improves employment outcomes. Here are some of the symptoms of bipolar depression (which is very similar to unipolar depression, or major depressive disorder),

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Problems concentrating
  • Unusual memory problems
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Prioritize Treatment

Work is important, of course. But there are times when you need to put your treatment and self-care above your attendance. If you can’t schedule appointments outside of work hours, you may worry that treatment will interfere with your job.

However, research shows that getting treatment early can help you not only save your job but thrive in it. Seeking treatment early helps with both work productivity and the social aspects of work.

Manage Your Thoughts

When you’re depressed, your mind tends to generate negative thoughts. While you can’t help what thoughts come into your mind, you can choose which thoughts to dwell on and act on.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to identify negative thought patterns and change your responses to things that trigger these patterns. Meditation is a tool that you may learn in therapy to also help you focus on the here and now, rather than dwelling on intrusive thoughts that can distract you. Talking to a psychologist can be extremely helpful for staying on track in your career.

Keep Moving

It’s hard to stay active when you’re feeling the lethargy and indecisiveness of bipolar depression. When you allow yourself to become more sedentary, symptoms of depression usually become worse. You don’t have to start a rigorous exercise routine, but getting up and moving at various times during the day can release endorphins that can help improve your mood.

Stick to Your Schedule

Sticking to a schedule is important both outside of and during work. If you have a job with set hours, sleeping at a consistent time each night and preparing for bed with a nighttime routine can help. People who are self-employed, such as writers, independent graphic designers, personal trainers, and contractors usually have more leeway in how they set their schedule, but still need some kind of routine.

No matter what your occupation is, you need to talk to your doctor about sleep problems if they happen frequently. Get into a daily routine for all the important aspects of your life so that you are staying consistent with your physical self-care.

Manage Mania  

For people with bipolar disorder, one of the most difficult parts of dealing with the depressive part of the disorder is that when you sink too low, it becomes very easy to cycle back into mania. Some medications work better for bipolar depression than others. If your doctor suggests antidepressants, ask if they are likely to cause mania. The key to avoiding mania is to get proper treatment for your depression.

When you have bipolar disorder, your body has a hard time maintaining homeostasis of the chemicals in your brain that affect your mood, concentration, and other things that can affect your day-to-day at work. The best things you can do for your career if you’re bipolar are to learn more about your condition, and seek treatment as needed.

 

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.

Fight the Good Fight (Echoes of the Past Book 1) Blog Tour

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That night, David took a long shower; also known as a Hollywood shower by those in the CDF. The term traced back hundreds of years; to where, David wasn’t quite sure. It referred to taking a long shower while in space, as opposed to a space shower, in which you turned the water on for thirty seconds, turned it off, lathered up, and finally turned it back on again to rinse. His bunk was thankfully quiet and empty due to the rest of the men assigned to that berthing compartment being absent, finally giving him time to think. The idea of being a part of something larger than himself embodied the motto of the CDF, which was “Semper Paratus” or “Always Ready.” If he was being honest with himself, it appealed to him.

Lying in his bunk, he pondered over and over, What do I owe the Terran Coalition? Do I owe it anything? Does everyone have a duty to stand up for the freedoms we’ve received and fight against evil?

Finding no solace, he decided to place a real-time comm call to a friend from boot camp, Sheila Thompson. It would cost his entire comm time ration for the next three months, but he had to talk to someone, and his mother wasn’t the right person to have this conversation with. As he reached for his tablet computer, his mind thought back to boot camp, where he met Sheila three days into the ten-week ordeal.

http://www.echoesofthepast.net/

Dealing with Anxiety in a Fast-Paced World

It seems like just when we get used to our phone or computer, another one comes along that is better and faster. Everything is faster and everyone seems to want to move at the speed of sound. What happened to slowing down and relaxing? I bet none of the teenagers now would even understand if we told them to stop and smell the roses. Well, they could actually just Google it but they still would not really understand what it actually means. Why is everyone in such a hurry?

Why Are We in Such a Hurry?

In the beginning, nature pretty much went along as a slow pace, moving at nature’s schedule when time was only noticed by the passing of the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Until humans decided they wanted to change time (daylight savings time) and move along at their own schedules whether it went with nature or not. In ancient times, when it got dark, it was time to go to sleep and when the sun came up, our days would start. That is not true anymore! Now some of us get up and work or party all night long and sleep during the day. Some people barely sleep at all because they are too busy with technology, gaming or talking on Facebook or Twitter all night long. We have disconnected from nature’s nice slow pace and tried to adapt to living under our new unnatural time pressures. Talk about some stress!

Anxiety Disorders

So, it should come as no surprise that we end up in our doctor or therapist’s office trying to figure out why we are so anxious all the time. Many experts are calling this condition time poverty and it is actually recognized as a psychological stressor. Trying to keep up with society and pushing ourselves to catch up when we fall behind is causing a great deal of anxiety in many people. In fact, anxiety disorder is the number one most common mental health condition in the United States. In fact, about 40 million American adults, which is over 18% of the population. On a more global note, approximately 1 in 13 of the world’s population suffer from anxiety.

Exercise

There are many things you can do to deal with your anxiety in this high-tech world. The one that seems most obvious is also the hardest to do, which is to just unplug. Turn off your cellphone, put down your tablet, and get off the computer. Get outside and do something physical such as taking a walk, bike riding, hiking, swimming, jogging, tennis, baseball, whatever you want to do. Exercise is good for both anxiety and depression and it is also good for your physical health. The “feel good” chemicals in your brain (serotonin) increase during and after exercise, making you feel more relaxed and satisfied. It can also help keep your mind off your stressors and keep you too busy to worry about checking your email or updating your Facebook status.

Talk to Someone

Another way to relieve stress is through talk therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. Both of these can be done from home on your electronic device for those of us who are just too busy to set an appointment. In fact, BetterHelp has more than 2,000 licensed professionals that are available to help you right now.

 

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.