My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Category: motivation (page 1 of 7)

Writers and the Dreaded Day Job

The dreaded day job is a term I’ve been throwing around often and since departing from what I once viewed as a career, I began working such a job not so long ago, around the second week of November. It didn’t take me long to realize what kind of mistake I had made and am now looking to turn the tide, but doing so isn’t easy.

What can be ironic for writers and I can attest this irony to myself is the fact many of our DDJ’s give us the following:

1: Steady hours. Usually 40 hours plus potential overtime at time and a half pay.

2: Full benefits: Medical, dental, vision, etc.

3: 401(k) retirement plan.

4: Profit sharing.

The place I’m at now offers all the above and at very cost-effective prices.

You look at this and wonder why I’d even consider going back to a job that offered none of the above.

If you’re a writer like I am, I’m sure you know why. There’s something the above job doesn’t offer me because it will never be able to offer me this one thing—or multiple things. Let’s stick to the one for now, which is:

1: Fulfillment.

Let’s move on to #2 which is:

2: Freedom.

And isn’t that why we’re all writers?

It’s why I am, and the job I mentioned I’d love to go back to is personal training, because in my opinion there isn’t a more rewarding job out there, except writing, which is neck and neck with personal training.

Many of us writers tend to be introverts, and whether your personality type is INFJ, INTJ, INFP, or INTP, those of us with these four personalities have one thing in common:

We must find fulfillment in our work. If we don’t we simply won’t do our jobs. We see zero point in doing our jobs. You can’t bribe us with money. You can’t hand us all the benefits and then some. You can’t even hand us four weeks’ worth of paid vacation plus biannual pay raises.

No way, no how.

If a job lacks fulfillment, we’ll turn on it. Each and every time.

It’s why we’re writers. We have messages, themes, and dynamic stories to spread to the masses. We wish to entertain, persuade, or inform our readers.


Because we’re making an impact on others.

It’s what personal training did for me. I changed so many lives and yet didn’t realize it until now, in 2019, where this is the first January since 2012 that I’m not training in a gym.

And it hurts. What I’m doing now offers zero impact. It’s punch in, work eight hours (to ten), punch out.
To many, this is a dream job. To many, they’re set.

To me, I screwed up bad.

And it’s something I want you to avoid.

Which is why I’m writing this article.


The Modern-Day American Worker

Most of us can relate to the following scenario:

Wake up, force feed breakfast (if we even eat breakfast at all), fight traffic to be at work on someone else’s time, work eight to ten hours, fight traffic again, get home and chill for a couple hours before going to bed to repeat the process four to five more times.

To the writer, we ask, “What kind of life is this?”

It’s not a life. It’s going through the motions. Droning on. Building stress to insurmountable levels which can lead to a wide array of health problems. It’s compromising pursuing passion and putting ourselves and our dreams first due to the number of hours plus the morning and evening commute.

Some might find such a life worth it, especially if the job paid well, but most of us writers and anyone with similar personas will turn and run.

It’s smart to turn and run.

But wait, it gets better.

You only need to work until you’re sixty-five. Then, you can retire with all those stress-related health problems you’ve accumulated. Or better yet, you’ve been so stressed throughout those work years you turned to nicotine, alcohol, or whatever your unhealthy fix is. I’ve had clients turn to massive cheat meals.

What are we fulfilling?

Goals. Pointless goals of a company that may or may not know its employees are even there, at a plant, in the offices, or in a mill.

There’s zero influence. There’s zero impact.

It’s work, go home, repeat, work, go home, repeat, work, go home, repeat.

But worst of all, we’ve chosen to do these pointless jobs and work toward pointless company goals at the expense of our writing, or any passion. We know we’re better than where we currently are today.


What Writers Need to Do

We’re all saying, “Wait, wait, we have so many goals in writing we’ve yet to accomplish!”

Writers don’t want to work the DDJ for years to come. We don’t want to be in that crowd that I call the true 99% who works their tail off for 30+ years to help someone else accomplish their dreams.

It’s like the old adage goes: You can either work toward your dream or you’re going to work really hard toward someone else’s.

Or what about this: You’re going to work forty-plus hours a week to make someone else a lot of money.

While I’m no socialist and by any means advocating what that crowd advocates, I am advocating something else, more from my Libertarian perspective, and that’s to pursue the hell out of your writing passion.

What I want you to do right now if you haven’t already done so in the past is to pull up a blank Word document and name it ‘Writing Goals for the Rest of 2019.’

You should already know the next two weeks’ worth of your DDJ’s schedule, so now you can schedule times to pursue writing.

Take my extreme example, for instance. Today, I woke up at 3:45am, was at work by 5am, and was riding in a freaking truck from 6am to 5:30pm. I got home at 6pm. I ate some food and by 6:30pm, I was on my laptop editing Missing in Columbia. I went to the gym at 8pm, did a shoulder workout until 9:15pm, went to the store, finally got around to eating dinner, and here I am at 10:35pm writing this article.

What did I do?

I preplanned my writing activities for the day. I had to get some editing in, especially if I want Missing in Columbia out somewhere between March and April 1st. I wanted to write this article tonight because it’s a subject that has been eating at me for a couple weeks.

So, in that Word doc, write out your work schedule. Give me every single time you will be working this week. 40 hours? 50?

Okay, now that you have your times in, go ahead and fill in the blank spots with writing times. Yes, you might have to write in the early morning or later evening. You might have a one-hour lunch break and can easily write on it.

Wouldn’t it be great to bring your writing to the DDJ and work on your real dream during a break?

I’ve done this before and it’s a blast.

Okay, so now you’ve filled in those writing times, which is great, but now you need to fill in those goals.

What do you want to happen in February?

I want to upload my latest novelette in the Neo Skyehawk Series called Fighting the High Seas.

Fighting the High Seas will be the next installment in my Neo Skyehawk Series.

Now it’s your turn. Write down the February goal.

Move on to March.

Now, keep going, all the way until December.

There you go, now you’re set with goals, meaning your writing will improve, meaning you can write that book you always said you wanted to write.

Now, you’re fulfilling a purpose. You’re entertaining, persuading, informing, or a combination of each.

And if there’s one thing the DDJ does well, it’s the fact it pays you to come in and work, meaning the DDJ will supply you with money you can use to invest in promoting your product, creating a blog, doing all you can to fulfill your purpose and stop being a drone to society.

For us writers, if we don’t experience fulfillment, we’ll experience defeat. But by fulfilling a passion, a purpose, something that will allow us to make long-lasting impacts on others, fulfillment rises.

It’s time for you to fulfill the void in your life. It’s time to ease the throttle on the DDJ and put pedal to the metal toward what you’re really passionate about. The sense of satisfaction is addicting.


Dealing with Book Critics

When I say book critics, I mean the good, the bad, and the ugly. Anyone who comes across your book or book series will be a critic, so there will be a little bit of everything here. Yes, some people will love your work, others might like it, and still a few will despise it.

Sometimes, it might go as to what types of issues your book’s plot and themes deal with. I don’t need to name any specific issues as there are a lot, but usually the more sensitive the topics, the larger of a target you just put on your work for both good and bad.

I already know this when it comes to the Lord of Columbia Series. In fact, I’m kind of expecting it on both ends of the equation, but that’s for another article in another blog.

Today, I’m giving you a crash course on how to deal with both positivity and negativity.


Book Reviews

Aside from a few trolls and brutally honest people, most book reviews are positive as long as the author:

1. Places their book in the correct genre.

2. Keeps the plot in line with zero plot holes. There may be a minor plot error, but the author must remain consistent with variables like character names, locations, names of locations, season, terrain, etc. One mistake can damage credibility.

3. Doesn’t ramble with loose writing such as the overuse of adjectives, adverbs, and even descriptions. If readers wanted vast descriptions, they wouldn’t read a work of fiction, where action always drives the plot in today’s world.

4. Avoids typos. Again, a few typos might happen, and no editor will find all of them. But if an author wants good reviews, the least they can do is make sure their manuscript is as close to error free as possible.

My basic rules for dealing with reviews go in this manner:

If the review is positive, or anything with three stars or above, read it. Three stars means the reader generally enjoyed the work but might have a few gripes about certain elements. It’s okay to take this kind of criticism in stride, which will only make the current work (if the gripes are grammar/consistency related as you can always reupload) or your next work better.

Ditto for four stars. Four stars means the reader liked the work but might have had one or two things that jumped out at them which docked it a point. Again, read these reviews because usually they’ll highlight your strengths and weaknesses if they left a few paragraphs describing their review.

Of course, you can read five-star reviews, too, but these are really nothing more than morale boosters. Sure, they may’ve raved about your book, but take it with a grain of salt, because I believe all books have their quirks and there is no such thing as a perfect book, book series, or rating. It’s one reason I’d rather see stars in a one to ten rating than one to five. We will see much more honest feedback with ten stars.

I wouldn’t recommend reading anything two stars or below and if you have a sensitive personality, steer clear entirely. Also, just like my skepticism revolving around five-star reviews, one-star reviews make me just as skeptical unless the author simply wrote a first draft, uploaded, and conned people of their hard-earned money.

If the book is two stars, the reader didn’t like the work but did like it enough to finish it. Think of two stars as a ‘D’ on an ‘A’ through ‘F’ scale. A ‘D’ is still a passing grade, but it’s below average. Again, I wouldn’t recommend reading two-star reviews, as sometimes brutal feedback can erupt.

And please, just ignore the one-star reviews. Some of these people might have read a sliver of your work, or may just completely disagree with it on a deep level. For instance, if someone from Religion A read a book that criticized Religion A, they might hand out a one-star review just so it lowers the book’s rating slightly.
So don’t take one-star reviews seriously unless Amazon sends you an email informing you that your book is full of typos and plot errors. If this is the case, the one-star reviewers might be trying to tell you something.


Deep Issues

As I’ve stated, myself, Northern Knights and the entire Lord of Columbia Series deals with sensitive topics with strong political elements. There’s also an allegory that’s sports-related in nature, so a certain city’s fan base wouldn’t take kindly to the work.

If your book contains any theme regarding such deep, sensitive issues, especially when politics and religion are involved, I strongly urge you to be prepared for what might come your way.

Now, the good news is that you do have a target market and those are the people you want to identify and sell the book or book series to, but when word gets out to a larger audience, that’s when you might run into people who believe that anyone who sees the world in a way other than their own is a threat to any supposedly utopian society of theirs and will go out of their way to criticize your work (no exaggeration here!) in hopes that it’ll sway others not to buy.

This bodes especially true if one is touching on religion and there is no one religion out there that doesn’t see itself as the true way in life. The same holds true for those with zero religious ideals. Again, some people are more sensitive to these topics than others, so do well to remember this fact.

Again, I simply advise you not to read the bad reviews. While I’ve rarely received rude comments, it’s almost always from those who see the world in a certain way and can’t stand it when someone even writes a different idea in even their own product that they could’ve avoided by not reading it.

For instance, a hot topic and allegory in Lord of Columbia is that I’m EXTREMELY (and this might rub a few the wrong way) critical of American intervention overseas and participating in endless regime change and endless wars. Being an American citizen and knowing my own nation plays the role of global police officer in an issue that is important to me may put a massive target on my back from Conservative America. I’m Libertarian, so both ends of the equation may not like everything I write.

The above is just one example that if the allegory is seen through and the theme is understood, can and will trigger people who’ve been brought up to believe by their parents, extended relatives, government schools, and even at sporting events (who started the mixing sports and politics thing, again?) that it’s crucial for American soldiers to be stationed all over the world in peacekeeping efforts and to spread freedom to oppressed nations.

And again, when your work contains sensitive issues that will differ from popular belief of a large group of people, criticism will follow simply due to the theme elements.

One way to deal with the following is:

1. If you have a blog that deals with your book’s or book series’ themes, just don’t approve of the negative comments and DO NOT RESPOND TO THEM! It shows much more character and strength to hold back and press the ‘disapprove’ button, even if it causes your blood to boil.

2. If this is in the form of a book review, as I’ve mentioned earlier; don’t read the review. Bear in mind that reviews are almost always irrelevant unless they’re on Amazon for the time being. The reason is because Amazon has strict guidelines when it comes to reviews, and this is done to ensure trolls aren’t giving random books they don’t like the cover or description of one-star ratings.


Internet or Social Media Callouts

Yes, these can and will happen if and when your book or book series gains traction. Even J.K. Rowling was called out by numerous conservative Christian groups stating that the Harry Potter Series promoted Witchcraft. If you know anything about Witchcraft, you should realize that these groups had a weak case to make against the famous series.

This will happen to any author who isn’t shy about writing plots that are centered around themes that deal with such sensitive issues. Again, if the theme is critical of foreign intervention and the country you live in is that country carrying out such interventions, while mainstream thought has always been this is for the ‘greater good,’ callouts will happen.

Again, what do you do with the callouts?

As I’ve stated in the above section, DO NOT RESPOND.

If you get involved in a social media or internet forum (are these still a thing?) war at any given time, your credibility could be permanently damaged. Look at famous athletes who’ve lost their cool and have gotten into it with fans. Did it help their cause? No. Did it hurt their reputation? You can bet on it and probably win.

And please, don’t post or Tweet about such people as well. You can base characters on them. You can be vague in your blog and use them as an example as a reference if you’re writing an article touching on the subject. But you can’t directly go after them. It can and will hurt you way more than it hurts them.


Best Way to Deal with Critics

For one, if it comes to book reviews, never respond to any of them, even the positive ones. Thank them in your mind, but you don’t need to do so on Amazon. If such a reviewer contacts you via email and states they loved your work and gave it a five-star rating, then you can feel free to interact.

Now, if a reviewer contacts you via email and says they loved your book and would like to leave a review, don’t respond. This is a parasite looking to sell you a cookie-cutter review. While it might be tempting, it’s not a real review and it’s bought. It’s fixed. So don’t do it. More on that in a future article.

The same goes if someone calls out. Don’t respond. If someone makes a post pertaining to you, don’t respond. In any case of an argument, don’t respond. Let your writing and your blog do the arguing for you. If you are vocal on Facebook or anywhere else regarding your book themes, let the sources you share do the talking, but you can’t waste your time arguing.

Again, if those who disagree will just view the source for themselves instead of leaving rude comments after reading a headline, maybe they wouldn’t waste their time criticizing a viewpoint you have with evidence to back it up.

Once again, don’t respond. And remember, failing to respond to such criticism is a strength, as it’s our natural inclination to defend our viewpoints. If such issues are in your book, you’ve already crafted and justified your argument. Point them to the reading material and you did your job.

What is the Force Behind Success?


Those of us who live the writer’s life have it rough. We want nothing more than to make a living off our words and ditch the DDJ forever. To us, we’re not successful unless we hit this awesome milestone, and there is a singular force behind success for any writer; the writer.

Isn’t that amazing?

No one else in this world can make you successful except you.
Sure, we’ve all heard those ‘right place at the right time’ stories but do you really think every successful writer was in the right place at the right time?

Then, there’s the ‘well, so and so had these great connections, which is why they’re successful.’

Finally, there’s this excuse. ‘They came from a rich family so they had an easy ticket like all rich kids.’

Here’s an ultimatum for you: If the previous three paragraphs (practically sentences) sounded like excuses for you, you have a golden ticket to continue reading this article.

If you agreed with anything written above, stop reading and go find another writer to take advice from. One that will tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear will suffice.

Not just that; if you think you can just become a successful writer without working a day job while doing so, go find another blog that’ll tell you so.

As I write this article, my hands are covered in oil from handling steel products all day long. Now, as I sit and write, it’s time for me to give you the rundown some of you may not want to hear, because for the sensitive soul, it’s a tough reality check.

Actually, it doesn’t have to be so. All you need is a work ethic, but I’m not going to stop there. Now that you know what you need, it’s time to learn how to utilize it.


You’re the Force Behind Success

In any field, not just writing. Again, as I’ve done so often this week, non-writers are welcome to read this if they’ve made it past the first two obstacles written above.

No one will give you success. And if you’ve already published a book that just isn’t selling, it’s not the people. There’s nothing wrong with people—okay, if you once worked in the grocery store industry you could write a novel on why my statement can be faulty—there’s likely something wrong with you, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s how you learn.

I’m saying to use the adage, worry about what’s in your control and don’t worry about what you can’t control.

You can’t control whether people buy your book, and if they do buy your book, you can’t control if people will like your book. You can’t control if they’ll follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but you can control whether they know you exist in social media circles.

How do you make success?

As I’ve stated in so many recent articles:

Get yourself a killer book cover and invest in one.

Nail your book description.

Own a blog and post links to Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, and share to all your major social media networks.

Have an email list so people who like your work can follow you.

Write monthly newsletters so your followers can stay up to date on what’s happening regarding your next written works.


Work Everyday

Even when you’re working eight or ten-hour shifts at work, it doesn’t mean you should slack off on writing your blog, updating your social platforms, and most importantly, continue working on your written works.

I’ve stated it in so many articles and so many other authors have stated in their articles; make time to work on your writing passion, in all aspects of it.

Just because you’re writing a book and in the hardcore editing stages or even the first draft doesn’t mean you need to slack on social media updates or your blog. In fact, it’s fatal if you slack on your blog.

While you’re writing your book, give yourself a chance to drive traffic to your blog and maybe you’ll find a few interested readers. I’ve seen this occur here on My Freedom Flame. Now, since it’s only been a few months since I’ve rebranded this blog to only include writing topics, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be, but by summer’s end? Now you’re talking a few good readers.

So, don’t slack on the blog!

If need be, you can even invest in Hootsuite for social media, which automates any social media post you place on the platform. I don’t use it often, but I know many who’ve had time constraints and swear by it.
You can also blog all day on days you’re off and schedule your blog posts throughout the week. Since starting my new day job, I’ve done just this and it’s kept my traffic flowing.

Often, I only have a few hours per day to work on my writing, but an hour in the morning with two to three hours in the evening is something to work with. Use any available time you have and at the very least, you can say you did something on days that you may’ve worked a long shift at the DDJ.

Come weekends, you should already know what you need to be doing. Even if you’re a family person who puts your kids first, as you should, there must be time to work on writing. Even if it means sacrificing sleep on a weekend or a late-night TV show.


Make Sound Investments

Let me tell you; investing in the Wealthy Affiliate platform turned this blog into one that’s steadily gaining traffic. It’s helped me establish a second blog called Get Pro Football Apparel, which specializes in football merchandise, and finally, my latest site still in the making called Lord of Columbia Series is also on its way.

WA costs $50/month, but one can invest $349 for an entire year, so it’s a dirt cheap price to pay for a helpful community that will grant exposure to your blog or blogs with community tools like Site Comments and Site Feedback.

You also get a keyword tool with your WA purchase as well, which is a lifesaver when it comes to blogging ideas.

If you’re unsure on how to write an effective novel, there are so many courses out there that you can invest in. My favorite by far is the Jerry Jenkins’ Writer’s Guild, which is an annual cost of roughly $400, so do the math and you’ll find a pretty cost-effective product.

There are numerous books you can read, one of my favorites being ‘Hooked’ by Les Edgerton.

I know these things cost money, but if you end up MAKING money, the cost of a full year at WA for $349 and a $400 investment in the Guild is $749 per year, which pays for itself.

Don’t be afraid to pull the money trigger, because the more you invest in yourself and your own education, the better off you’ll be in the long-run.


Take Control

Today, we covered that you and only you control your success. If you haven’t succeeded or if you aren’t succeeding, don’t be that guy or girl quick to point the finger at others. While doing so may sooth the pain in the short-run, we’ll eventually come to realize it was us and not them. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Second, if you don’t work each day at your writing passion or whatever your passion is, you’re selling yourself short. Again, I don’t care if you worked four hours’ overtime and had errands to run on top of it.

Many of our most successful people get very little sleep. It’s time to enjoy a few more waking hours.

Third, if you’re not investing in success, it’s another short sell. You can get all the free information you want, but free is free for a reason. Anything free will have a price tag later on. Either pay the price in the short-term because you’re burning yourself in the long-term.

Take control, work every day, and invest.

Success is easier than it looks, and it’s only as hard as you make it.

Passion, Hard, and Smart Work Creates Success

A Lesson I Learned the Hard Way

*Dear Readers: This is not a typical post. I did not use any keywords, write in a way Google would index this post in any way, shape, or form. I deviated a little from my niche in writing this 2,000-word post, in hopes that this post, which is about me, serves as a lesson that will help you all reach the pinnacle of your writing, and your life’s success. Enjoy this unique read.

Dear writers everywhere, I can and will be the first to tell you that passion, hard, and smart work creates success.

If you incorporate these three elements into anything you pursue, writing or not, success will find you.

How do I know this?

I inadvertently have some experience in this field, and it’s not just in writing.

Though this is a writing blog, I’m branching out a little bit today and am about to tell a story I’ve never told before except in one, single, rare instance.

The story is rather heartbreaking in nature, though it did give me a chance to reflect on the last two years of my life, a turbulent two years, which ended on a high note as I published both Northern Knights and Swords of Destiny to Amazon and saw some decent numbers and early returns.

Such numbers should grow with time and as the entire Lord of Columbia Series expands.

My Personal Story

Just so you all know, I rehearsed what I’m about to write in a conversation with myself in my car on the way home from work.

As I once mentioned on this blog before, I used to be a successful personal trainer, but those days of success fell faster than soon-to-be ex-Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell’s career….and possibly Antonio Brown’s.

So, in 2012, I had my first training gig and was “that trainer” who would show up at 5:30am to train a client without hesitation. I was also “that trainer” who stayed at the gym until 9pm to train a client. Again, without hesitation.

It was beautiful, baby.

In late 2013, about thirty clients fell into my lap and I maintained a full-time schedule for the rest of my time there, consistently training and retaining my clientele.

But Weirton, West Virginia wasn’t going to be my last stop, so in 2015, I planned an escape route in about the worst way possible, so I’m not going to rehash on the details. Let’s just say I should’ve thought things through a little more.

And bam, in late-2016, after pissing off my managers and owner, I carried out such a plan, almost without warning, telling them I was out and going to this large box club in Pittsburgh’s South Hills.

Going from a club of a little over 1,200 members to one of 5,000+ members was a gold mine waiting to be unhinged, but little did I realize at the time something else was making me want to leave the training arena.

It was around this time I’d constructed a plot to Northern Knights that worked after a few years of starts, stops, sputters, and stalls. Setback, setback, setback. The more I worked on Northern Knights, the more I liked the plot, but the more work I had to put into it before the novel was ready to be published.

This was in January 2017, and my last day as an employee in Weirton, my beta-readers returned their feedback, much of which was generous. But again, I still had a mountain to climb if I wanted to get Northern Knights (then called the Lost Book) onto Amazon’s online shelves.

I worked on Northern Knights even when on the work clock.

But months before I left Weirton, my passion shifted without my realization. I knew what I wanted but still desired to hold onto a job that I liked at the same time.

After a total of twenty-three days at that club in the South Hills (couldn’t stand the place) I found two clubs owned by the same man on the East End of Pittsburgh, or just past the region known as the East Hills.

What an area, and one that I loved working in and may have continued to love working in had I not been so rash in my decision making.

I’ll be honest, my passion backslid in 2016, took a nosedive in 2017. I thought I wasn’t in the right place so a few months after starting in the East End, I went up to the North Hills, where things would come to a standstill.

Little did I know this at the time.


North Hills Debacle

So the North Hills club was a literal goldmine, for anyone familiar with North Pittsburgh. The place has money, and a lot of it, and that’s what attracted me.

It was a new club. Construction barely started but the owner wanted a staff for a presale, which I couldn’t blame him.

But it’s here where, due to my success in Weirton and even modest success in the East End, plus the luxury of the North Hills, did I see a golden opportunity.

Not an honest one though. Never an honest one.

What did I do?

Well, during my presale shift, which was a generous $15/hr plus $10 per anyone who I signed up, I sat and edited Northern Knights (now entitled Lord of Columbia in a series I called Days of Gaia).

The owner wanted us to make calls, texts, and emails, so I did just that, only I just said I called and copied and pasted texting and email.

It was a total con at this point, but hey, I’m still working in a gym and once the damn place opens, I’m making my own hours and it’s Wexford, Pennsylvania, so the members and clients (and dough) will be rolling in, especially at the even more generous $25/hour rate I was to be given for sessions.

I’m disclosing the monetary compensation here because I want you to know just how stupid I was in refusing to take the job seriously.

After the club opened, well, three days after the club opened, the owner and I had a spat which resulted in me leaving the club for a week, only reconciling after a conversation with about a dozen friends and family.

Feel free to call me what you want to at this point.

After starting back up the following Monday, I saw some initial success but again I didn’t want the training sales numbers burdened to me because at the time I was Todd Matthews and what I said is what goes and if they didn’t like it, they were going to learn to like it.

They, as in, the people who hired me, gave me a generous deal, and were decent enough to allow me to continue working for them.

I’m also a huge proponent of property rights, but given the fact I pulled this I was a total hypocrite to myself.


Blowing the Opportunity

Damn, they should’ve fired me.

And they didn’t.

I also knew the guy was rather easy to con, so I continued making more money than I’d ever made in my life, while working on Northern Knights (still entitled Lord of Columbia, but it later became the series name over what was at this point Age of Columbia) during hours I could’ve been doing the following:

1. Working the floor and recruiting clients.

2. Working the phones and recruiting clients.

3. Helping the general manager out with recruiting members (and potential clients).

4. Putting my heart and soul into my work when at work rather than knowing I was getting paid on someone else’s time for my own work.

This lasted from late-2017 until well into 2018; around April.

In April, either someone caught onto the ruse, a member rightfully blew my cover, or the cameras caught me in action, because it was at this time I was stripped from 30-40 to fifteen hours per week.

I was pissed.

And wrongfully so.

I blamed the manager, I blamed the owner, I blamed the members, I blamed the people who wouldn’t sign up for training, I blamed everyone but the person who deserved 100% of the blame: Me.

The manager didn’t screw Todd.

The owner didn’t screw Todd.

Todd screwed Todd.

I thought that due to my success in Weirton that success would follow me like a twelve-year-old-girl following around her singing idol. I thought I attracted success, and that just as I had in Weirton my presence would bring it.

Just like in Weirton, the lucky sevens were in my corner and clients (and money) fell into my lap. All I had to do was train them with passion and retain them.

Wait, what was that?

Train them with what?


Give what to the gym?


Give what to my place of work?


Be a passionate trainer and be passionate about my job, just as I was with writing.


The End of an Era

I published Swords of Destiny shortly after leaving the fitness industry.

It was then I’d reached the end of an era. My income tanked. My training hours tanked. The manager would get annoyed with me after stating he’d just set up a new member who’d just signed up to change their life a fitness consultation with me….only to state I’d rather workout at that time as I’d planned on doing so.

I didn’t just do this once.

I did it a few times.

Again, he should’ve just let me go without even consulting the owner. I would’ve let myself go at this point.

But he didn’t.

Where was the passion?


Where was the trainer from Weirton?


You know what the NFL Network said about Antonio Brown, the former sixth-round pick who chose to wear eighty-four because 8 * 4 = 32, in other words, thirty-two NFL teams passing on him and he wanted to remember it?

He had to go back to being that guy.

That humble guy instead of the smug prick he became.

I can relate.

And I’m no longer in the fitness industry.

As my writing continues to improve and this blog, that’s if my story didn’t scare you all away, I long to return to the field. Return to working in the gym. Return to the fitness scene. Become the trainer I was once upon a time.


Me Today

Know what this post is saying?

1. Be passionate in your approach to pursue your own writing passion.

2. But if your current job is or was a passion, continue to be passionate about it.

I’m living proof in stating that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

If only I’d played my cards better and took real advantage of a real opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, I still would’ve pursued writing 100%, but to do so while on the work clock was just plain wrong. To know when the owner was coming in and lying to them if they did happen to come in, stating that I just preferred a laptop over a desktop computer to “work.”

And what did I do?

I told everyone who the bad guy was.

I said it was him, and not me, that I was innocent and mistreated.

I wasn’t mistreated. I did the mistreating, and I made a massive mistake.

And now, as I toiled away in side gigs, the desire to return to my home gig, the job that I once loved, once couldn’t wait to get to, day in and day out (how many of us in our early to mid-20s can say this?) and looked forward to every single shift….a split shift!

And it hit me hard back in November-December, which is why I’m writing this kind of non-typical post right now. Because I feel the time is right to come clean with something, and hope that I can help one of you, reading this article right now, and stop you from making a giant error.

I just want to get back to doing what I love for a living, and this time refrain from cutting corners, while doing what I love in the meantime to build into an empire, and perhaps perform both gigs on a full-time basis, each, someday.

This article has documented my fallback, now I’m going to write a Part II, either one or two years from today, in January 2020 or 2021, where I’ll document the Great Comeback.

Authors, Start Awakening Your Life’s Purpose

People who are considered successful get a job, make ends meet, get paid time off, benefits, the whole nine yards, but they’re abysmal at awakening their life’s purpose.

I read an article today about the number one thing retired Americans regret.

It came from, of all places, but it’s something many of us authors, aspiring authors, and writers can relate to.

The number one thing most retired American’s regret is failing to fulfill their life’s purpose.

They instead fulfill their ought to purpose, which is getting a job to pay the bills and acquire benefits.

Don’t let this be you.


My Story

I hate talking about myself on my blog but let me give you a little rundown on how my last two years have gone while discovering my life’s purpose.

*I’ve made a grand total of $40,000, less than half of what some make in a year.

*I escaped my fitness day job in search of discovering my purpose, something I’ve loved and cherished for six years. While I’m looking to get back into fitness, I had to take a step back to help myself discover my purpose: writing and teaching others about personal freedom. Personal, individual freedom.

*I’ve bounced around from day job to day job, five in the last two years alone.

*I’ve been forced (by choice) to downgrade my entire lifestyle from my lavish living during the peak of my training days to budgeting everything.

*I’ve started my author business and published two novels in my series, the second of which was published last Saturday but there is still a long way to go in that avenue.

*In short, I’ve lived on a prayer, and a massive prayer, since May 2018, when my earnings plummeted.


Inspiration in Others

I don’t admire those people who just get a job. If you’re a worker who’s gained respect from your friends and family by getting a job to make ends meet that you can stay at and retire in thirty years from now you didn’t succeed; you failed.


Because in many cases those people just gave up their life’s purpose and settled. They settled for less, thinking those of us who took the time to pay our dues and take multiple steps back are so insane if they had it their way we’d enter a psychiatric ward tomorrow.

But you know what?

I find inspiration in others who’ve lived the way I have the last two years and in some cases, had it much worse.

Sylvester Stallone slept in a bus station for three weeks, facing eviction and homelessness before writing the script for Rocky.

Simon Cowell was bankrupt at age thirty-one, his music career hanging by a thread.

Oprah was demoted from her job as a news anchor in her early career.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team as a sophomore.

What if these icons gave up and went the ‘ought to’ way?

They didn’t, and each are worth millions, some billions.

Do you writers think for a single second you’ll always be where you are today?

I would hope not.

Hey, in January 2018 I didn’t have a book out; they were all still in the works.

Here in December, I have two out in the same series. TWO in one series, with Book Three on the way.

With at least four more after Book Three.

Look at 2019, and think of where you can be, where you will be, this time next December.


Set Goals

Okay, writers, it’s time to do what we do best and write down our goals.

Give me twelve monthly goals, three quarterly goals, two half-year goals, and one annual goal.

Let me help you out:

January: Start one new blog while increasing traffic on my current two blogs.

February: Add affiliate marketing and ads to each blog.

March: Increase traffic for all three blogs using Google Analytics while starting to make a small income off my book sales.

Quarterly Goal #1: Release Book III in the Lord of Columbia Series, working title Missing in Columbia.

April: Successfully get my paperback versions stocked in a local bookstore.

May: Create and sell box sets of the first trilogy of the Lord of Columbia Series.

June: Monetize all three blogs and slowly see an increase in income from my blogs.

Quarterly Goal #2: Finish the first draft of Book V in Lord of Columbia Series while advancing to the final editing stage of Book IV.

Six-Month Goal: Hold a promotion for the first four books in Lord of Columbia Series and promote the first four books simultaneously, looking to find a fresh readership.

July: Finish editing Book IV and publish by August 1st.

August: Start an internet marketing blog as my first three blogs mature and gain steady traffic.

September: Start writing Book VI.

Quarterly Goal #3: Advance to the final editing stages of Book V.

October: Celebrate my One Year Anniversary at Wealthy Affiliate and advance into the Top 100 on the Wealthy Affiliate Site, current rank as of today is 436 out of over 1,000,000 users.

November: Release Book V and plan for the release of Book VI in early 2020 while also preparing for a (planned) series rebrand.

December: Evaluate my progress from December 2018 to December 2019 and tie up loose ends in accomplishing my yearly goals.

Quarterly Goal #4: Hold my very first ‘series sale’ during the Week of Christmas and plan to sell a lot of copies that day.

Six-Month Goal: Increase both book sales and blog traffic simultaneously from July to December.

Yearly Goal: Have the first five books in the Lord of Columbia Series published on Amazon.

Now it’s your turn; follow my template and pursue your goals.


Why it Matters

I’ve written a post in the past regarding goals and what you see above is an updated version of my goals.

While they haven’t changed, it’s okay to update as the year gets closer.

What this post is saying though is that to fulfill our life’s purpose, we must separate our ‘ought to’ lives from our life’s fulfillment.

Many of us try to fulfill our lives without setting goals and we fade off into ‘ought to’ mode, never to return to our fulfilling lives and living the remainder of our existence in regret.

I don’t want anyone to end up like this in thirty, forty, or fifty years, writers and anyone else looking to rise above the masses in passion pursuit.

So, do what’s necessary to pursue your life’s fulfillment, even if it means downgrading, even if it means giving up luxuries and instant gratification.

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