Tag Archives: writer

My Heart Almost Died.

I was always known to take chances, for following my dreams and being a free spirit. At times it was a little scary, but the thrill and pure joy of doing what I love outweighed that fear. It squashed the doubt inside too; all of those practical questions about money and the future didn’t matter. I was living in the moment, for “right now”, and I wasn’t going to grow up and let my “heart die” like Ally Sheedy claimed would happen in “The Breakfast Club”.

I spent my twenties finding myself, building my self-confidence and reaching for all of the exciting possibilities as a journalist and author. Money was not an obstacle; not because I had a ton of it, but because I could make almost anything work on very little.

I interviewed some of my favorite celebrities, could state I was the first person to interview Taylor Swift, made so many wonderful connections in the entertainment industry, and published 5 books all by the time I was 30. I even started seeing more money from book sales and actually got some paying gigs for articles.

I moved around a ton, leaving New York, my family, and some of my closest friends, always knowing they were there, cheering me on. To Nashville, back to New York, then to Anna Maria Island, and my 6 months of travel of the West Coast and New Orleans, and back to Nashville… something changed after that last move.

It wasn’t that money started to matter to me, but time did. I spent so much time running toward my next adventure. I gave so much of my time working as a barista even after it stopped supporting my free spirit lifestyle.

Suddenly, I was back in Nashville, where I had felt so alive just five years ago as I wrote “The Watch Dog”, but now I was stuck. Stuck being underpaid and overworked as a barista. Stuck doing digital marketing to create more income, and because I was trying to force myself to like it more since it was related to my chosen career path.

I always knew journalism wasn’t going to pay much, but times have really changed. With every high school and college kid blogging and writing articles, talent doesn’t mean as much as the time, energy and social media strategy you can bring to the table.

This past year, I have lacked in all of those departments. I’m fully aware I’m no longer 25. I don’t have the energy to run around behind an espresso bar for eight hours, write a chapter of my novel afterward, interview a singer-songwriter, write three articles, spend an hour on social media, cook dinner, and still have a social life.

Believe me, I used to do it all. I used to wake up at 4am and go to bed at midnight, and be at my best. I was bubbly about it all, too. Now, I’m a grumbly shift manager at one of the busiest Starbucks I’ve ever worked at, lucky if I write in my journal twice a week and my energy along with my spirit is depleted.

Ally Sheedy was right (or John Hughes rather)… I feel like my heart died a little. But I’m determined to get it beating again. What’s equally as bad as my dreams, or the energy to pursue those dreams, being on pause, is I miss home. I miss my brother, sisters, my niece and nephew. I hate watching them grow up so far away when I was there every day with them for so long.

It’s time to come home. I’ve spread my wings. I’ve left the nest. I soared. I fell. I got back up and soared again. And fell again. I’m tired now. Time is precious. I don’t want to waste that time working just to pay the bills. I am so drained and stagnant that I am not living.

When I move back to New York, I will be a nanny for my niece and nephew. There is nothing like being around children to awaken my creativity and remind me of all the excitement left in this crazy world. I will no longer have to waste all my energy at a job that underpays and overworks me. I will be making quality moments with people I care about, and when the little ones are off at school, I can focus on my writing.

I will encourage those kids to follow their dreams and that anything is possible. Along with their parents, I will try to help guide them with advice, but I know—and I hope—they won’t take all of it. Everyone needs to find their own way in life. There were tons of advice and warnings and discouragement thrown at me growing up.

Some of it was good advice, and maybe I should have taken it into consideration, but I wouldn’t have had this amazing journey with all of its ups, downs and wonderful surprises. My mother always said to me, “I don’t want you to get your hopes up”. To this day, I try to always get my hopes up. Sorry Mom, I know you didn’t want me to get hurt, but really, I’m fine!

Hope is one of the most important things. It’s our life line. Even if something didn’t work out, I never regretted the hope I felt beforehand. That feeling is magical; to allow yourself to get buzzed off of excitement and believe that anything can happen. I will always tell my niece and nephew to keep their hopes high. It’ll keep our hearts from dying.

Dreams DO Come True!

Throughout the years of being a “starving artist”, I must say I’ve always felt more fortunate rather than someone who struggles.  While yes, I am not the most known writer, and far from the richest, I AM A WRITER.  I AM A JOURNALIST.  I AM A DREAMER.

I have set so many goals for myself and have achieved them.  One of those goals was to meet and interview my idols and tell them what they’ve meant to me.  Growing up, I didn’t have good role models or male figures in my life.  Celebrities filled the void.

Backstreet Boys and me in 2008.
Backstreet Boys and me in 2008.

I am so thankful that the celebrities I was drawn to were relatively good people.  John Travolta, Backstreet Boys, Jared Leto, Adam Sandler, and 98 Degrees were my main loves.

I used to dream of meeting them and working with them in some way.  While being a fan was important, I wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry and be part of the art that’s created in some way.  I wanted to help these artists and others like them make their dreams come true.  I wanted to help others through my art of writing and marketing.

I took this photo as press of Jared Leto on stage in 2014.
I took this photo as press of Jared Leto on stage in 2014.

While I’m still waiting on my chance with Travolta, Sandler and Leto (came close to him many times), the Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees have been a part of my career story the past 13 years and I am so grateful they have lived up to my high expectations.  They could have been total asses for all I knew, but they’re all sweet men.

One of these guys, though, is definitely the sweetest.  Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees has been nothing short of a character out of one of my novels.  For years, we’d talk over the phone through long, interesting interviews, and never met in person until a couple of years ago.  But he was always interactive and complimentary to any of my projects — whether it was to congratulate me on a new writing venture, thank me for an article I wrote on him, or just say hi.  Probably one of the coolest things though was when he told me he read my novels.  Wait, what?!  He even tweeted about it!

Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees with his personal copy of the "Dream Catchers" Series collector's edition, which I autographed of course!
Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees with his personal copy of the “Dream Catchers” Series collector’s edition, which I autographed of course!

And then he actually wrote the forward for the special collector’s editor of the “Dream Catchers Series“.

WOW.

Yes, three years later and I’m still blown away by my teen idol reading an entire novel written by me!  I’ve written stories while listening to his music!

A couple of days ago, Jeff did a show at Webster Hall.  We, of course, set something up and it felt like friends getting together rather than an interview.  Later that night as Jeff sang “I Do (Cherish You)”, he came over and looked into my eyes and we sang the last note together.  I’ll admit I fangirled over that moment.  But looking back over this night, and my entire journey through my writing/journalism, I am reminded of all that I’ve set out to do and how I’m still going strong, and am doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing.

Jeff Timmons and me backstage on 2-26-2015.
Jeff Timmons and me backstage on 2-26-2015.

I was able to show my gratitude to my favorite member of 98 Degrees and hopefully help him in return by giving him some publicity.  Dreams DO come true… please remember that.  They do.  Do what you love and that passion will be your happiness through any rough time and will make you strive for bigger and better through the good times.

Check out the Half Full Magazine feature I wrote on Jeff Timmons here: http://halffullmagazine.com/2015/02/27/exclusive-jeff-timmons-talks-98-degrees-staying-humble-solo-album-more/