Degrassi for Teens

All right, so I’m going to stick with blogging just once a week. Twice a week is arguably a bit much considering that sometimes when I get home from work, I want to do mindless activities–namely, watching television. I might work a five hour shift that day, but sometimes I’ll start early to either work on client programs, train clients, or even shadow a class for a fitness instructor who may want me to sub for them in the future. Since Thursdays are my off days, I’ll blog on this day.

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Since I write for teens, I thought it totally relevant to talk about one of my favorite television shows, Degrassi, a Canadian drama for teens (though not overdramatic like soap operas).

I began watching this show when it was Degrassi: The Next GenerationI watched it through middle school, high school, and a little bit through college before taking a long break from it, mostly because I began to float away from cable television and watch more television online. I only recently picked it back up because I saw that Next Class was on Netflix, and I was curious to see how this little gem had progressed.

I was not disappointed. I caught up on all four seasons and can’t wait for season five.

First, let me start off by talking about what’s so amazing about this series. If you saw 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, you’re likely aware of the controversy surrounding it. I enjoyed this miniseries and didn’t think it glorified suicide at all (I think I’ll write a separate post on this), but I do have to admit that it was an intense drama that seemed like it was trying to capture more of an adult audience.

Degrassi is entirely for teens with issues that are relevant for its time. There is no dramatizing issues for entertainment value. There is simply an exploration of issues to help teens understand themselves and feel less alone.

For example, Ellie Nash, one of the characters in this series, introduced the issue of self-injury, a coping mechanism she sought to use based on her tumultuous home life. While self-injury most certainly wasn’t and isn’t a new thing, addressing it as a problem was relevant during my time, as Next Generation is my generation’s Degrassi while Next Class is today’s teens’ Degrassi.

I can remember being a fourteen-year-old going through issues of her own and watching that scene and how sick I felt. Now as an adult (fully 27, far removed from being a teen) I don’t look at that same scene with as much horror because of my more objective perspective.

Don’t get me wrong. Self-injury is no minor matter, but it’s not this big, scary thing that it used to be now that we better understand its use as a coping mechanism. And Next Class masterfully handles this new perspective on self-injury when Zoe Rivas begins harming herself by digging her nails into her skin (Ellie cut).

Grace Cardinal discovers these moon-shaped marks on Zoe’s thigh and doesn’t immediately freak out and run to the counselor–as is what happened with Ellie when Paige found her. She addresses the problem right then and there since self-injury is not the hidden issue it used to be when I was a teen. There was no shame surrounding it, and as a result, we did not see any further incidences of self-harm among Zoe. Now this didn’t happen with Ellie, but there was more embarrassment surrounding her discovery than there was for Zoe.

Next Class addresses a lot of relevant topics. From the Syrian refugee crisis to dealing with post-abortion guilt (or lack thereof) to racism and micro-agressions, to the concept of stereotype threat, and how it’s not cool to be racist or homophobic anymore, it’s a show I can’t recommend enough for teens and parents of teens and writers of teen fiction.

I also love that the actors and actresses are fairly close in age to the characters they portray and not wildly a decade older than their fourteen-year-old character. Perhaps Canadian television is just different form American television in this aspect.

The beauty of Degrassi lies in its timelessness. There was totally a reunion episode in Next Class that brought back some of the character’s of my generation’s Degrassi. It was a joy to see some of these characters and how they progressed–and an even greater joy to reflect on these characters as as an adult.

I certainly watch Degrassi with a different set of lenses, ones that are more objective and filled with the knowledge that these characters’ struggles can be overcome. I find myself rooting for them and also wanting to tell them that their struggles are not endless. I especially related strongly to Maya Matlin, whose depression, suicidal ideation, and ultimately suicide attempt made me cheer for her the most.

As a teen, I would have agreed with her that the depression is unending. Even in my early twenties I would have greed with her! As an older adult with more perspective, I rejoice in her recovery with the knowledge that depression isn’t this horrible monster but another illness that needs treatment like any other one.

I could talk about this show forever, but I think as a writer, it keeps me on top of issues that are important for teens. Young adult fiction itself is a great vehicle for this, but I also have to remind myself that it’s largely written by adults. Degrassi, on the other hand, is most likely influenced by its young actors and actresses; thus, there is no purely adult perspective dominating the direction of this show.

Overall, this show, I think, is a staple in the canon of relevant teen shows. I honestly don’t think teens have enough quality options like that that don’t portray them as attitude-filled party animals.

 

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My Return

It has been well over a year since I’ve been on this blog. I honestly did not think I was going to come back to it, not because I grew bored of it but because having a career is more time-consuming than school ever was. However, my book’s recent ranking (When Stars Die), the best it’s ever been (yeah, it’s free, but only because of the second book) was the kick in the pants I needed to get back to planning the third book–plus, this blog is still receiving views, so I’d be stupid to keep ignoring it.

Another reason why I wanted to drop my author platform entirely is because I also have a fitness platform. If you’re interested, you can find it here. I hadn’t the slightest clue how I was supposed to juggle both, but now I’ve accepted that this blog is enough and that I’ll simply pay for promotions so that way I’m not spending unnecessary time on social media trying to get my book noticed.

At this stage in my life, it’s just not feasible to devote even a slight ounce of my energy to social media. This blog will do just fine. I’m working almost 30 hours a week training clients and creating programs at my gym, like nutrition coaching; I’m back in school with the hope of getting into a physical therapy assistant program (so I’m actually devoting a lot of time to studying); doing continuing education for personal trainers; and trying to find time to do mindless activities, like watching anime.

I’m at a point in my life where sleeping in is a delicious luxury and sometimes waking up at 3:30 AM is slightly obscene but not nerve-wracking. I wouldn’t change things at all, but I’ll detail my journey later because it’s a good story of perseverance, and this blog has never been strictly about my books or even writing anyway.

The plan is to blog twice a week though I haven’t decided what days I’d like to do just yet. Expect two next week though.

Social Thursday: Why I Left My Job and Changed My Mind

This past week my blog had to go on another temporary blackout, the same one it had to endure while I was searching for a job in fitness. Well, unfortunately, I left my job as a fitness consultant/personal training intern because things started heading in a direction that had me on edge. The manager who hired me was let go (he was the sixth one in the two years the gym has been there), dramatic changes were underway, a district manager was thrown in the mix, and a new manager was brought on board.

These dramatic changes included losing the ability to sell walk-ins and take telephone inquiries; working more hours than what I was told I was going to be working; daily prospecting that adds wear and tear on your car, not to mention siphoning the gas from your tank (and I wouldn’t have minded this if the money I was making was worth filling up my gas tank more often–but it wasn’t); constant micromanaging that includes a continual update throughout the day of the number of appointments and sales we have–so it became too sales-y for me; being overly involved in numbers that made me realize the last time I was obsessed with numbers, I ended up in the hospital; quotas I did not feel I could meet with the current lack of resources; and an overall feeling of dread as I realized my original purpose for being hired was being sucked away from me.

I was originally hired to to simply sell memberships while making a salary in order to support myself as I learned the trade of personal training from someone else. Most of my sells were walk-ins, but I was still making them and was completely happy with this arrangement. I knew that with the new manager, I would no longer be able to do it. So it was with a heavy heart that I left. But I luckily left on amicable terms with the new manager, and I have no ill feelings toward him at all. After all, he is doing what he is being told to do, as any good manager does. My previous manager simply had a different philosophy that meshed well with mine. I still work out at this gym though (as my fiance’s guest), as it’s a gym I fell in love with during my time as a consultant. The experiences I gained there are unforgettable, and I learned even more what my limits are. And, yes, I do miss working there, being there daily surrounded by people I grew to enjoy having around. Even so, I knew it was time to move on. Yet, I thank my previous manager for giving me the opportunity to build the experiences I worked for.

I know I’ve talked about launching my personal training business this summer. That’s still going to happen. What I’ve changed my mind about, however, is working as a personal trainer for a gym. YMCA hired me on as a personal trainer, and I start training Monday! 

There are several reasons why I chose to go back to this route. For one, my job as a fitness consultant didn’t pan out, and I know that I never, EVER, want to do sales again, so finding another job in sales was out of the question. I also knew that I wasn’t going to be fully happy unless I was working in fitness. And while I loved working the front desk, greeting members and helping them with their concerns, the desire to do more than that, to make helping people a massive part of my life, kept gnawing at my heart. When a friend of mine told me YMCA was hiring, I knew I had to send off my resume before I lost this opportunity, as none of the YMCA in my area were hiring when I was looking three months ago. Joe Cannon told me the YMCA is a great place to work for trainers just starting out, and since he’s someone I look up to, I knew I could not pass up the opportunity to submit my resume to YMCA.

Call me a cynic, but I did not expect to even get an interview. After all, the job description said that it preferred a trainer with at least a year’s experience–and I simply have 3 months. Plus, I never trusted submitting resumes and applications online. When I was searching for a job a few years ago, I sent out over 40 applications and resumes and didn’t hear back but from two places. So the fact that I had to submit my resume online was also another reason that I was surprised I received an interview.

I tried not to get my hopes up for the interview, so during the week leading up to it, I didn’t think about it. I didn’t prepare for it. I was just going to let my passion for fitness and the desire to change people’s lives guide my answers during the interview.

I am so happy to say that during the interview, I realized working at the YMCA was my dream. I don’t have to worry about sales. The hourly pay is enough to have a living wage, even at part-time. I get to actually take part as a volunteer in many of the events the YMCA holds; thus, I have more opportunities to affect the community at large in a positive way. I’m participating in a kickball tournament next month, so it obviously offers many opportunities to bond with co-workers. And I’m just thrilled that in spite of my minute experience, I am being given a chance to change the world, one person at a time.

I am in a privileged position to be able to start from the ground up. I live with my fiance, who is able to support both of us with his job while I build up my dream career.

I cannot wait to begin the journey. My new dreams are going to be my clients’ dreams.

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WSDAD

 Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble.

 

Social Sunday: HOLY INSECURITIES!

I have been living with my fiance for a week now, and let me tell you that I desperately miss my little kitty, and wish I could take her with me. I’ve been visiting her of course, but I miss having her next to me when I’m just hanging out at home. In fact, when I have a day off and my fiance has to work, I feel lonely in the apartment. I’m not used to that. I either have my mom and cat around, or if my mom isn’t around, at least my cat is. The weight of this loneliness was kind of shocking. I didn’t expect to feel as lonely as I did. And moving in with my fiance was kind of sudden as well. I never gave myself time to mentally prepare for not having my kitty around.

But it’s never all bad.

tsaiThis past week I FINALLY submitted The Stars Are Infinite to my publisher, Gnome on Pig Productions. It’s looking to be a November release, which is absolutely fine with me. This gives When Stars Die a chance to go free probably a month or two before the book’s release, while also giving books 1 and 2 some much-needed traction before TSAI’s release. I also remember when GoPP started out with a handful of authors, even just last year, and now they’re building up quite the list of authors.  So I’m looking forward to the future of this little press.

I also copy edited The Glorious In-Between and sent that off to a writer buddy of mine. I plan to query that one to agents.

In other news, I got a shock to the system when a trainer where I work outright told me I have horrible form and seem to have an erratic workout structure. Now I’m not immune to criticism. I’m also aware that I’m not always going to have perfect form 100% of the time. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit that my form was probably slipping because I was beginning to lift heavy just to lift heavy–but I’ve scaled down on that and am putting a keen concentration on good form.

It was just shocking to me because the criticism came out of nowhere, and of course no solutions were offered. I was left to find my own solutions–researching basic squat, bench press, and deadlift form again. It also shook my confidence as a trainer, making me second-guess myself, making me question my own competence. The day I was told that, I suddenly felt incredibly insecure about just being in the gym. I had a planned workout for that day, but I just couldn’t do it. What if I was being watched, my form picked apart, every flaw magnified and being used against me to tarnish my reputation as a budding trainer? When my fiance came for me to train, I wasn’t as enthusiastic and was incredibly insecure about whether or not people were watching me train him.

Being in the throes of insecurity is no fun, particularly when you feel you have no direction to go in so that you can feel secure again. I had to find my own direction. I had to reconsider my form with every exercise that I did, bump down the weight on some exercises, and simply practice, practice, practice–with weights, without weights. In order to feel better about training my fiance, I had to do further research into his swayback issue and put that issue back at the forefront of his programming. Last, I had to consider all the times when I saw less-than-perfect form with the clients of some of the trainers.

I remember one gym member, who was a former trainer, told me that he was in disbelief about how poorly some of the trainers trained their clients–giving them exercises they weren’t ready for, not correcting poor form, and not always watching them. This isn’t to say that I agreed 100% with this member’s assessment. This is simply to say that someone will always have something to criticize. Nothing is ever perfect.

And then I had to think back on something the trainer who criticized me told me in the past, making me realize that he doesn’t exactly stay within his scope of practice as a trainer; thus, if I’m going to consider anyone’s criticism, I’m going to consider the criticism of trainers who take their scope of practice seriously. Those are the kinds of responsible trainers that I should be looking up to. Having a certification or even a degree doesn’t automatically make you someone worthy of being listened to.

Again, I did consider his criticism, thought of why he felt that way, and did my best to correct possible sloppy form. Yet, it’s criticism I can’t take personally in the long run. All I can do is believe in the mantra that slow and steady wins the race. All I can do is be cognizant of my form during my workouts and be observant of others’ form during their workouts when I’m out on the floor interacting with other members.

Insecurities suck, though. They have the power to either give you the kick that you need, or the power to suck the life out of you as you begin to wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing. They freeze you in place, make you less enthusiastic about work, and make you wonder if you’re truly  meant for the career that you’re in. At the end of the day, the only person who can make you insecure is yourself. So you have to take the time to figure out why you feel so insecure, and then do something about it!

 

 

Social Sunday: This Thing Called Adulting

I was going to write this post on Saturday, but I figured since I have a 12-hour shift today, I might as well blog on Sunday instead to at least take up an hour of the day. I worked a 12-hour shift once, and it wasn’t too terrible. I only had to work it because the other consultant wanted to go to Atlanta since his sister had just given birth. Plus, I was at least able to make a membership sale that I otherwise would not have made had I left at my originally scheduled time. Today, however, I haven’t the slightest idea why I’m working all day; the other consultant was already off twice this week. But it’s kind of whatever considering this gives me a chance to hopefully make a decent amount of sales.

In other words, I have officially moved out! Okay, so maybe not fully or officially yet because I still have to bring stuff over to my fiance’s apartment. The point is that I am at my fiance’s apartment and will be remaining there. Sadly, this means leaving my precious kitty behind. I actually shed tears over knowing that I wouldn’t wake up to her resting next to me or even go to bed with her resting next to me. I’ll admit I’m going to miss waking up in the morning with her annoying me by playing with the bags I have strewn about my room. (I’m not exactly an organized person, but that’s going to have to change.) I will still be able to visit her; however, as anyone with a fur baby can understand, it’s not going to fully be the same. I also worry about how she’s going to be since I won’t be regularly around her. I know it’s best to leave her at home though; she’s grown up there and is most familiar with it. Putting her in a new location would stress her out. She also doesn’t exactly get along with my fiance, and she has an issue with peeing where she’s not supposed to. Pet deposits and monthly pet fees also aren’t fun. She’ll also be by herself most days, something I know she’s not used to. I’ll be sure to visit her as often as possible, though, and to feed her treats as well so that way she will continually associate me with good things.

Nice DeskAlso in other words, my fiance and I are apartment/townhouse hunting. (I cannot wait to decorate the place!) We’re either going to stay in a luxury apartment or rent a townhouse. I am so excited and cannot wait to move into this new place in July. I also cannot wait to move because I’ll be able to style my own little office area. I’ve already purchased a nice desk that I won’t be unpacking until we move into this new place. I am absolutely going to take awesome pictures of this office space. I only have a vague idea of what I’d like it to look like, but I plan to draw inspiration from Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential. I draw a lot of inspiration from her. She’s like my entrepreneurial maven, and she doesn’t even know it. Speaking of entrepreneurship…

You guys already know I’m going to be starting my own personal training business in the summer. I want it to be more, of course. I also want to try to make money off the website itself through ads and affiliate marketing.

I’ve decided to call it TDW Lifestyle. It stands for The Dancing Writer Lifestyle, but totally sounds much more professional as TDW. Now some of you may be wondering why it’s not TDW Fitness. I believe that fitness is so Business Cardsmuch more than, well, fitness. It’s a lifestyle composed of nutrition, good sleep, relaxation, and, ultimately, well-being. My primary target audience is going to be special populations, such as those looking for weight loss due to health reasons, or those looking to exercise to help with some sort of problem, like high blood pressure or diabetes. I want to train these populations because these are people who need the most help, whose lives I feel like I can impact the most. For these people, fitness IS a lifestyle. It’s not simply exercising for aesthetic reasons–hence my motto, “Health. Not Aesthetics.”

I am so excited for the future. I cannot wait to start my own business, even though I am super nervous about it. I’m not necessarily worried about failing. The start-up costs for this business are not ungodly, so there is plenty of time for this business to grow, even if I can only snag one client a month (I’ll make sure to hustle for more, of course). For now, I’m not looking for more than 5 people to train. Eventually, I’d like to move my business to full-time, but only when I start getting referrals out the wazoo.

I don’t know what I’m nervous about. I suppose nerves are simply natural for someone wanting to be her own girlboss, which is what I’m most excited about. My current boss is absolutely awesome, but I’m a creative type, you know? And since I am a creative type, I’d one day like to dictate how things are done with minimal–SUPER minimal–influence. Don’t get me wrong. I love this current job. I’m no longer miserable. I’m no longer steeped in financial insecurity. While I seem like an introvert at this current job because I haven’t opened up to anyone like I opened up to the people at my last job, at least I can share my passion for fitness and nutrition with others. At least I’m surrounded by others in a stimulating environment. At least I can control my level of boredom!

I’ve got my business cards, my liability insurance, some equipment, and I’ll soon be getting a set of dumbbells that can be loaded with different-weighted plates. Depending on where we move, I plan to make either the patio or spare bedroom the place where I’d like to train my future clients. I plan to style this place appropriately as well. If it’s the patio, I’m going to fill it with fresh-smelling flowers to give my clients the perfect therapy. If it’s the spare bedroom, well, I haven’t decided yet, but I know I’ll come up with something.

Anyway, I’ve been adulting hard lately. I paid rent for the first time–half of the rent total for the apartment we’re currently at. I was able to hand over a good bit of cash to my parents to help pay off my car. In the last post, I mentioned I bought liability insurance, which is super adult-y. Moving out is also adult-y. I also went grocery shopping with my fiance and was astonished to find out we only spent 215 dollars, and it was on a lot of healthy stuff, too. I’m telling you, I think health foods are becoming cheaper now that they’re becoming more widely available, especially in places like Walmart. What’s funny is we didn’t even use a list this time and ended up spending way less than when we did use a list! I get excited about grocery shopping, though. I love food, and I love healthful eating. I love going to Kroger’s and seeing what goodies I can come out with from their health food section. I love being able to choose every single item that goes into the cart.

I love control. I guess that’s why I actually enjoy adulting and all that. I love feeling successful. But I think what I love most of all is that those few years I spent struggling with bipolar disorder haven’t hindered me from becoming successful and finding the happiness I know I deserve.

Bipolar disorder really put a damper on things starting in the fall of 2012. I never thought I’d survive my episodes, but I am so proud to have been depression-free for more than a year! Even though it was so sucky to struggle with an eating disorder last year, at least I managed to stave off depression.

Part of me wonders if I’ve been cured of my bipolar disorder, but part of me does not want to test it by stopping my meds cold turkey. I’ve been doing good this long, and I don’t want to mess that up because of a stupid experiment.

I know the future will be filled with many, many surprises. I never thought I’d eventually be living in a luxury apartment while being able to afford groceries that aren’t junk. I also never thought I’d want to go in the direction of having my own business; however, personal trainers are paid abysmally by gyms, and I can’t afford to go from making a salary to making $0.00 dollars until my client base is built up. This choice is more exciting since there are far more opportunities than training at a gym where growth is likely minimal.

Overall, the future has renewed my zest for life.

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 Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble. It also has 99 ratings on Goodreads now with a rating of 4.3!

Social Saturday: Create Your Own Future

I have been incredibly silent on the social media front as far as my author platform is concerned. I am well aware of this. I also haven’t been that diligent toward the marketing and sales of When Stars Die. Even so, I am working on The Stars Are Infinite so that it can be released some time this year.

But crickets have been chirping on my blog for a reason.

I’ve been prioritizing my career in fitness over anything else right now. I’ve been busy building my personal training website (still super busy with this), I’ve obviously been busy with my full-time job, selling memberships and shadowing a personal trainer; I’ve been cramming my head with research to aid in my career; I’ve been hitting the weights hard to grow muscle; and I’ve just overall been busy with research to launch my business successfully when the summer comes. I’ll also be moving in with my fiance soon, and that’ll be time consuming as well.

Now that I have a planner, I can commit myself to a regular blogging schedule, but it will only be once a week, and I will dub it ‘Social Saturday.’ It’s going to basically be a recap of my entire week, a bigger, better glimpse into my life that you haven’t yet seen, where I will get real, raw, and honest. Now let’s get on to what I want to talk about today.

I somewhat regret my English degree. The somewhat part comes into play when you consider that my English degree has helped me become a better writer and self-editor. I’ve also gained many experiences from it that I otherwise would not have gained without having majored in it, like launching my own literary magazine and being a tutor for my university’s writing center. I would not give up these experiences.

I mostly regret my major because I’m in the final stretches of earning my English degree, and I know that unless I win the lottery or scholarships drop in my lap, switching my major to exercise science or something similar is no longer an option. I’m not willing to put myself in debt for an education I want to use to simply supplement my certification. At the same time, I desperately want to major in exercise science, but there is no way I’m allowing myself to be steeped in debt of up to 30,000 dollars (and I wish this were an exaggeration). The only reason I would want a BS is so that I can go on to earn an MS and conduct my own research into exercise science and write books on my discoveries. Having an MS would legitimize my research. Alas, this will not come into fruition any time soon.

I’m not brimming with regrets, though. If anything, I am currently buzzing with pride. After getting my tax return today, I was finally able to purchase liability insurance, which is the first step into launching my personal training business in the summer. All I now have to do is pay to launch my website. I am filled with so much pride because I have paid for everything myself to make becoming a personal trainer possible. This is what I have spent:

  • $799.00 for my ACE certification
  • $299.00 for my group fitness instructor certification (this one was on sale)
  • $399.00 for my functional training certification
  • About $200.00 dollars in supplementary books
  • About $60.00 for a heart monitor and calipers
  • About $17.00 for business cards
  • About $286.00 for liability insurance

Thus far, I have spent a little over 2,000 dollars to make all of this possible for me. I don’t list these prices to show off how privileged I am to be able to pay all of this off without accruing any debt. I know I am privileged. If I didn’t currently live with my parents, I’d probably be in credit card debt.

I post this to show that even though I was able to pay all of it off, I still took financial risks. I paid for some of this stuff with my credit card but was able to later quickly pay it off. I was at a point in my last job where I was very financially unstable and still in some debt from my group fitness certification, but I had to make this possible, even if that meant making just the minimum payments for my credit card.

I have decided that I want to launch my own business because currently I am salaried and also receive commission from the sales of memberships. It’s decent money. I’ve also been interning for two months and have received a pretty good insight into the life of a personal trainer. While I would still love to train at a gym, I am not willing to give up my salary and start entirely from scratch. When I move in with my fiance, I’ll have rent to pay. I still have to pay off my car. The point is that I have things to pay for, things I wouldn’t be able to pay for if I transitioned over to training full-time. My pay would be entirely contingent on training hours; building a base of clients takes time. The specific trainer I’m shadowing actually has to train on his own time in order to make ends meet. Training at a gym isn’t enough for him.

I am incredibly lucky in that my fiance is currently the primary bread winner and is able to support me in my endeavors. So I will remain a fitness consultant while also training on the side when I launch my business this summer–and hopefully surpass my fiance’s income.

I have created my own future, with my own money, and I am not going to sit here and deny that I was without help. While all the money came from me, I am economically advantaged in that I didn’t have to pay for much else while investing in my education as a personal trainer. Of course, I am also very good with money and was able to make all payments on time.

What I want you to know is that if you envision a particular future for yourself and don’t think you can achieve it, you need to find ways to achieve it, no matter what sort of risks you have to take. Don’t bankrupt yourself. Simply sacrifice what you can in order to make this future possible for yourself. Budget your money. Figure out what you need and don’t need. Just go for it.

I was so tired of not being certain of what I wanted to do with my degree in English. I was so tired of my last job. I was so tired of feeling like the only thing I had going for me was writing novels. And I was so tired of letting fear hold me back.

No more. I made this future possible for myself through hard work. I found something to be passionate about other than writing novels. I found something I can make good money from while also changing people’s lives in a big way.

I found myself by finding who I want to be. And even if I want to be someone different later, at least I know I can do it through my own hard work.

foundmyself

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Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble.

 

Thanksgiving Thursday: Finding Balance

Happy-Thanksgiving-Turkey-03

As I reflect on all of what I’ve accomplished this past year, and that I am thankful for how far I’ve come, I’ve begun to realize that the biggest struggle I have is now trying to find balance in my life. Between building my platform as a fitness professional and trying to maintain one as an author, it’s a never-ending battle of what I must ultimately prioritize. And for now, I have to prioritize my platform as a fitness professional since this will be my primary source of income.

Even though this is true, this doesn’t mean my job as an author is any less important to me. In fact, it’s even more important now that my book is finally out, which  means readers are depending on me even more to get the next two out. I do plan to submit the second book some time next month to my publisher, and I hope to start the third book some time next year. I also plan to make my 2016 New Year’s Resolution about trying to find balance between both of my platforms. Just because being a fitness professional must be my priority doesn’t mean I want my author platform to suffer as a result.

What exactly is it that I have to balance? Why is this so much more different than my job in marketing? Well, for one thing, I’m passionate about my status as a certified personal trainer. Not so much with my status as a marketing trainee. Social media is also an invaluable tool for fitness professionals because it’s how we can draw in more clients to fill our schedules. It’s also how we can make a name for ourselves and open up other sources of revenue, such as creating workout plans for people who live hundreds of miles from us. It’s how we can connect with current clients we have, to develop a strong, personal relationship with them outside of the gym.

Since I’m also open to the idea of training clients outside of the gym, I have to prioritize what I spend my money on. For example, I recently purchased a pair of calipers so that way I can have my own set. I also plan to buy business cards and a blood pressure cuff. However, I do know for a fact that I’m currently holding on to my money so that way I can buy some newsletter space for when When Stars Die is released everywhere else besides lulu and the paperback on Amazon. Even with a publisher it never hurts to seek out your own source of advertising so that way you can hit channels your publisher may not be hitting.

I also obviously have to maintain my presence on social media as both fitness professional and author. I primarily look to my blog as my main form of social media for my fitness platform since I’m already juggling plenty for my author. But I haven’t been able to update my Tumblr in some time because I have been putting all of my blogging efforts into my WordPress blog for both of my platforms. And it takes special planning for my fitness blog since a lot of these posts require specialized knowledge that sometimes takes me hitting the internet for research.

It’s also hard finding balance because I still am working in marketing and trying to earn my BA in English. Both of these things currently have to take priority over being a fitness professional and an author! I won’t be able to seek out a job in the field of fitness until after Christmas.

Until then, I’ll have to take it a day at a time.

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A Treacherous Flame on Amazon for $0.99 and FREE for Kindle Unlimted

When Stars Die Lulu (paperback), Lulu (e-book), Lulu (hardback), Amazon (paperback)