The Journey Back to my Writing Passion
If you really want to hear about it is one of the most famous first lines ever written. It came from JD Salinger in his classic, The Catcher in the Rye. Well, if you really want to hear about how fate led me back to my writing passion, read on.
Well, if you really want to hear about the last seven years of my life, sit back and enjoy the show, because I’m going to be talking about myself in this post on finding my way, but it’s something you’re going to benefit from.
Because I’m going to talk about how a kid who had $0 to his name back in 2011 came to make a name for himself in personal training for a few years before venturing back into his childhood passion, which if you’ve been following me for quite some time, know that I believe what we loved when we were kids is what we should pursue.
So, let’s embark on my own, personal journey through time.
2011-2012: Finding My Work Ethic
In August 2011, I secured a job at Riesbecks Food Markets and worked as a bagger before switching gears to produce in early 2012.
Let me tell you one thing: working for a grocery store sucked, but I had a goal in mind: To undertake International Studies and Political Science next fall and save as much money as possible.
Needless to say, I never undertook International Studies and Political Science because, well, I competed in a few fitness shows, did rather well, and became sidetracked into personal training.
So, in 2012, I escaped Riesbecks to become a trainer, a gig I fell in love with and took me even further from my writing, and completely away from my studies of anything international or political.
2012-2013: An Obsession Born
Oh, what good times I had in 2012 and 2013!
Work, instead of being long and grueling for $7.85/hour like it was at Riesbecks, work became exciting and a twelve-hour day became the norm.
The place I worked was like a community within a community, and after a few short months, everyone knew one another. It was a great atmosphere, as if I’d attended a party day in and day out. In other words, it was a blast and I was getting paid $18/hour to hangout.
This continued throughout 2013, as everyone came to know our staff, especially myself and the general manager. I became such a focal point in the club people would call and text me if I wasn’t in the club when they were there.
I was in high demand, to say the least, which only took me further from writing, politics, and everything else I lived for beforehand as my training career took off. It was what I wanted to do; I’d made the decision sometime in late-2012 when my clientele built fast.
I was finding my way, and it was beautiful.
Late-2013-2014: The Passion Grows Stronger
Oh, the passion grew stronger in late-2013 and most of 2014. I’d found a viable workout partner for the first time ever and we clicked immediately. This era is what I’ll call the ‘high-water mark’ of my passion for personal training.
Never in my life did I have a workout partner that pushed me as much as I pushed them, and we became a formidable team the entire gym was aware of. Everyone knew when we were together, we were the hardest working duo in the club, routinely pulling off two to three hour workouts.
Then, summer came and the workouts became two forty-five minute workouts, but still, they bode strong. They were good times, some of the best times. We’d hit the track and go for high-intensity-interval work. We’d hit up the town of Wintersville and run all of Main Street, a five-mile stretch.
There was so much to do, and as I had two shows coming up in August and October, my conditioning was so spot-on I looked like a professional fitness model. Everyone in the gym thought I was getting ready for weekly photo-shoots, and while I never did them weekly, they did occur.
Again, it was the high-water mark of my fitness career in Weirton, and arguably the greatest days of my life. My passion was at its peak.
Late-2014-2015: Change is Coming
Our days didn’t last, however.
She went to school in the fall and I was left to fend for myself once more. And in 2015, we’d gone our separate ways for good, with only ghosts of track and gym memories remaining etched in my mind.
It was around this time I decided to pull up an old Word document about a hero named Rocky.
During late-2014 and I edited and rewrote the document like none other, creating a character named Cain.
I changed the plot, which now consisted of Cain becoming a fugitive and defecting from an oppressed colony and reigniting an uprising.
I still did a lot of training and exercising at the time, and I still workout twice a day even now, as I look to resemble my main characters as my main fitness goals, no more competing for me.
But, in mid-2015 this little writing hobby I picked back up soon became a passion once more, as it was when I was in grade school and middle school. I no longer cared about what others thought of me, as I did so much during the peak of my training days, when I sought everyone’s approval.
Nope, only 33% of people will love what you do. 33% will hate it. 33% will have no opinion. That’s the way it is, and it’s the way I feel as I now treat writing as a full-time gig.
And in 2015, the change came. Here are a few things I changed:
1. I stopped pretending I wasn’t a Cleveland sports fan to “please” a member and client base (Weirton’s only 25 minutes away from Pittsburgh).
2. I stopped posting endless ab selfies on social media. Heck, I even axed my old Instagram and Twitter pages, while deleting a lot of these selfies from my Facebook page.
3. I developed an edginess and notoriety for my political views and feelings among my peers, striving away from the politically-correct nature I used before.
4. I started listening to my fantasy-based, symphonic metal genres once more, even talking about the song lyrics, and anything else not viewed as mainstream.
5. I stopped caring altogether what people thought, especially when many of my styles and views, naturally, aren’t mainstream.
2016-2017: The Final Vestiges
I still went to school and completed my degree in Wellness and Fitness. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.665 GPA. Not bad for a kid who graduated high school with a 2.43.
I still wanted to continue my fitness career, but the writing overtook the fitness. I spent all year penning the first draft of Lord of Columbia, which had since gone through several revisions. But, my training motivation started to lack.
Too many faces had come and gone in Weirton. Too much change had occurred. Too much trial had started to make me resent the place.
I knew it was only a matter of time before the owner sold the place to someone else, and change would be coming. Much change would be coming and the gym I’d once come to love would soon be crashing down.
Something deep inside told me this.
The place wasn’t the same. The client-base wasn’t the same. Heck, even my own manager changed and started to show his true colors.
The place became a Shakespearean tragedy.
I saw far too many ghosts of past faces that’ve long since passed, and the place hung its head with me.
I knew, in late-2016, my days in Weirton were in their twilight.
So, I went to the South Hills and the East End, working in various fitness chains, but never recapturing the old magic I had in Weirton. I went to the North Hills, and while things appeared to change in the beginning, the fire in my eyes never returned.
2018: Shakespearean Tragedy Completed
Ghosts of Weirton’s past still haunted my mind, and as I run by the old club twice a week (I live on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border), it’s since fallen into disrepair. The feeling I had was right.
The place deteriorated beyond repair. Trash is now overflowing. Dust has invaded the floor. My old office is gone, replaced now by an archway that leads to a vast team training area containing the stench of a septic tank. Turnover in the club is now worse than ever. Membership has sunk to an all-time low, and not a single soul of the original team remains.
Only one employee there has any connection to the original team.
The rest of us have come, done our due diligence, and gone.
It’s over, but for me, it’s a new beginning.
I now spend the bulk of my day writing, researching, blogging, learning, looking how to better myself to get my stories, including this one, to the world.
Lord of Columbia: Episode One, Northern Knights is coming out in sixty-one days. And while the Rebellion begins then, much of my influence in the work came from that old club in Weirton, a place a client of mine once said the place could be made into a sitcom.
Perhaps one day, but I’m an independent writer, so one of my newer works consists of a story called Five Autumns in the Gateway, a collection of memories documenting the rise and fall of such a powerful team of a large fitness chain (I’m going to remain mum on who) in a small town that brought the chain to the top percentile in the nation, and how a tragic fall from grace succeeded the once-great fitness club.
Sure, my fitness career remains in the North, but if I were to be let go tomorrow, it wouldn’t be much of a loss; it’d be a blessing, if anything.
My brain is so full of stories, and my recent research has led me to several cash flow outlets in the writing market that I could submit, submit, submit, even if no real employment existed for me, I’m doing my own thing here.
Starting a YouTube channel is next on my agenda while making investments in my blog to monetize it. Big, grand things are on the way, and my writing career, independent writing career, is only beginning.
Moral of this story is sometimes it’s a journey back to passion and for me, it was a long, winding journey back to my writing passion.
I’d like to thank all of my readers, please come back soon.