You’re Invited (IMPORTANT SUBSCRIBERS)

You're Invited

Graphic courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First and foremost, Happy New Year! Make 2015 a year to remember. I am. Like I shared in my last post “Looking Ahead to 2015,” I’m working on some major projects for this year. Certainly exciting times for me and I want to invite you along on the voyage!

That invite begins with heading over to the brand new zacharyfenell.com and subscribing there. Moving forward I will blog from said domain. Meanwhile this site will become static, transitioning to a virtual archive. To stay updated on my writing and life endeavors, please subscribe to zacharyfenell.com (scroll down to the bottom left corner).

Know your subscription means a lot to me. Without you my typed words only add litter to the already content polluted Internet. You give my blog meaning! Hopefully I will see your names as WordPress floods my inbox with new subscription notifications.

Thank you for your readership. The past three plus years, blogging here provided me many proud memories. Proud memories I value and appreciate. In fact my first blog post under the new zacharyfenell.com spotlights those memories. Come take a look, “Predecessor’s Most Memorable Posts.”

Again I hope you subscribe to the new site (remember scroll to the bottom left corner). Subscribing will guarantee you first knowledge on my new book project plus so much more! I’m really excited about what the future holds and I want to share the excitement with you.

Advertisements

Looking Ahead to 2015

In my post last weekend I mentioned turning my focus towards 2015 and then proceeded to share a very honest look back at 2014. With only three days now left before next year arrives I wanted to use my final 2014 post to reveal what you can expect from me come 2015. Below you will find three major projects I’m actively working on.

Zachary Fenell's before home page

My website’s home page before I begin a complete makeover.

New Website
Over the last two weeks I conducted diligent research seeking a new web host for zacharyfenell.com (currently hosted and built through Homestead Technologies). I’m planning a complete makeover, involving integrating this blog into zacharyfenell.com. By combining the two I’m aiming to establish a singular online hub for potential freelance clients and my readers alike to learn more about me.

Following careful deliberation I’m all but officially decided to use DreamHost’s DreamPress. Before 2014 closes I hope I can remove “all but” from the previous sentence.

My Next Book
Yes, I’m working on another book. Calm down though Off Balanced readers. The sequel to my teenage memoir some expressed interest in still proves far off. After all I’m currently living the experiences which will eventually become that sequel.

However, my next book will stay in the non-fiction realm. Outside that I am unwilling to delve into details. I know I’m a tease. 🙂 Expect details within the next couple months.

A Refreshed #CPChatNow
Finally, I’m working with Reaching for the Stars Student Ambassador Blake Henry to refresh and stir new excitement around the live weekly Twitter chat #CPChatNow (Wednesdays 8pm EST). John W. Quinn, Handicap This’ Tim Wambach, and I started the chat in December 2013. Busy schedules caused both John and Tim to step back from #CPChatNow in 2014.

#CPChatNow kept on but gradually started to lose participation and the early 2014 enthusiasm slowed too. Determined to re-energize #CPChatNow I asked Blake to step in as my new co-host. On Thursday, December 18th we held a Google Hangout with our fellow #CPChatNow kin. Blake and I gathered essential feedback from the Hangout which we will use to better #CPChatNow in the New Year.

If you live with cerebral palsy or want to gain insight about CP from those with the condition, please join us. Start by liking the #CPChatNow Facebook Fan Page.

Your turn! Comment and tell what you plan to accomplish in 2015. Happy New Year!

2014 Year in Review

This past week I turned my focus to 2015. Yes, I know 10 days remain in 2014. I’m using those final days to position me towards a successful 2015. Given so, I thought today marked an ideal time to look back on the past 355 days.

Up until last month I viewed 2014 with a negative cogitation. Early heartbreak weighed heavily on me. In January my incredibly supportive aunt received a grim leukemia diagnosis, beginning a 10-month emotional rollercoaster ending with her passing away in October.

Then on February 1st I lost a good friend to suicide, something which caught me completely by surprise. The aforementioned grief understandably halted my typical production rate with putting out content, whether to my blog, vlog, or to freelance clients. As time passed though, I found my production rate staying stifled.

In my November video “Happy Thanksgiving from Author Zachary Fenell” I refer to dealing with “entrepreneur burnout,” admittedly self-diagnosed following deep reflection on my effort put forth into my freelance business.

2014 marked my fifth year since graduating Notre Dame College with my BA, alas also my fifth year freelancing. There exists a glaring gap between where I am after five years freelancing (still living with my parents and bringing in a weak income) and where I believe I should stand (fiscally independent with a viable business).

Certainly mistakes made during my first few years freelancing helped lead me to my current situation. Lacking self-discipline and ineffective time management sure played a role too. Put bluntly, I’m failing as a freelancer. That reality overwhelmed me, causing my burnout.

Thankfully I’m an optimist at heart! Last month I forced myself to counter each negative from 2014 with a positive from the year. Over the last six months I established and maintained a regular exercise regimen, leaving me feeling my best physically since I stopped receiving weekly physical therapy (a nine-year period).

Finally taking my goal to walk a half marathon seriously aided my ambition to maintain my exercising routines. Actually I planned to walk my first 5k (a short-term goal within my long-term half marathon goal) in September 2014. Unfortunately minimal registration led to the race getting cancelled. A delay in receiving my refund and my tight budget prevented me from registering for another race before winter arrived. Now I’m eyeing spring 2015 for my first 5k.

Plus despite my lackluster freelancing efforts I enjoyed professional wins throughout 2014. Handicap This Productions (HTP) promoted me from Guest Blog Coordinator to Online Relationship Manager. With Think Inclusive I received a pay increase. Podcasters inquired me about coming onto their shows. For instance, The Inclusive Class and Sarah Sweeney’s Differently Abled. Obviously for all my business mishaps, I too did some things right.

Most importantly yet, I continue to better understand the person I am. Emotional investment in people proves more important to me than my financial bottom line. Financial standing bothers me merely because society necessities so.

Mannozzi Ceremony Reading

I honor Mike’s father’s memory at his wedding with a reading Photo: Howard Reese

Flying out to Arizona and making final in-person memories with my aunt means more to me than a viable business. Witnessing my good buddy James (described in my memoir Off Balanced as the “real life Zack Morris”) get married to his “Kelly Kapowski” provided me value. Same with serving as best man for my best friend Mike Mannozzi back on October 10th when he wedded the wonderful Jemema. Their happiness brings me happiness.

Surely, to progress in society I need to learn to balance what I find important with honing greater business skills. Earlier I stated “I’m failing at freelancing,” but I’m no failure! In fact thanks to my 2014 I’m stronger, more likely to succeed. In 2014 I reached a new low. Considering my difficulties with time management and self-discipline I could justifiably quit on my pursuit to make a living freelancing. Internally say “I don’t have the right attributes to be successful at this.”

Instead I feel determined, and determination trumps all. Enough determination makes any task possible. 2014 I persevered through, surviving, growing tougher. That can only bode well for my 2015.

What about you? Leave a comment sharing how you fared in 2014. Happy Holidays!

 

Resuming Regular Posting- Take Two

Clapperboard, take two!

Resuming regular posting at Off Balanced, take two!

Good news! After failing to resume regular posting here in April I’m back for take number two. This time I feel more confident I will enjoy success. My confidence stems from my ability getting back on track the past few months with my Youtube video blog posts.

Longtime readers should recall last year I began publishing two video blog posts to Youtube a month. Due to various issues I managed to post only one video the first 84 days in 2014. Since though, I returned full force. Now I’m looking to resume my regular weekly WordPress posting schedule.

Scheduling change to note, my posts will go up weekly early Saturday evenings. Until next Saturday I leave you a few recent vlog posts to satisfy your viewing pleasure.

“Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse with Cerebral Palsy”

“Would I Take a Magic Pill to Cure My Disability?”

“Laughing at Your Cerebral Palsy”

Life Update

Six Fridays without a post, time can sure move rapidly sometimes. Yet ironically enough the past six weeks felt like months. Hard to believe just one month ago I tagged along with my uncle to fly out to Tucson, AZ to visit family, specifically my aunt. Touched by Aunt Ellen’s dedicated support for my writing the last five years, I wished to reciprocate the support via visiting her as she bravely battles leukemia.

So my trip out west held somber roots but the positive person I am left me determined to make the most from the situation. Rather than rescheduling my appearance on Sarah Sweeney’s online radio show Differently Abled, I planned around the live show. You can listen to the archived version here.

John W. Quinn & I

One of my #CPChatNow co-host and fellow author (Someone Like Me) John W. Quinn

Additionally I met John W. Quinn in the flesh, complete with a tour around his office containing the memorabilia one collects serving in the Navy 20 years. Even better I enjoyed the sunny Tucson winters John likes to quip about on social media. In fact between the weather and Aunt Ellen’s uncertain future, I possessed little desire to return to Cleveland.

Finally a week after my return I started regaining my normal day-to-day enthusiasm. Then I received a massively deflating phone call. My good friend Alex Dumas unexpectedly passed away Saturday, February 1st. Every single day the previous 20 days I found myself thinking about Alex. His friendship meant a lot to me. I hope you will take the time to read my Handicap This team blog post about him “A Friendship Transcended Abilities” and watch my video remembering him.

Back on the happy side I managed to begin working with a new client this month, Brilliant or Insane? Fun fact, I know the man behind the blog Mark Barnes because he taught my eighth grade English class, pretty cool right? I’m covering a Cleveland beat for his site. Checkout my first two pieces “Jim Thome Statue- Brilliant or a Shame?” and “Jason Aldean to Play Cleveland’s Progressive Field This Summer.”

Well now you know my whereabouts since January. I look forward to resuming my regular posting schedule. If you can relate to anything I mentioned in today’s post, feel free to share your insights by commenting below.

Check Me Out at Think Inclusive

Last month Think Inclusive blogger Tim Villegas and I came to an agreement leading me to become Tim’s first staff writer. Think Inclusive‘s general “About Us” section defines the website pretty well.

“Think Inclusive is an online resource that promotes the full and authentic inclusion of people with disabilities in their school and communities through education and advocacy.”

First off I must say how flattered I am Tim reached out to me about acquiring my services. Previously I wrote a guest post for Think Inclusive, “Exploring the Parent-Child Dynamic within the IEP Team.” We stayed in touch via social media and obviously I stood out to him.

Like I stated in my first staff writer post “First Day: Hello My Name is Zachary,” I consider Think Inclusive an opportunity to better understand special education. Gearing my writing towards educators, a key demographic for the site, will enable me to think about learning from a teacher’s perspective.

Think Inclusive

Visit the Think Inclusive website at www.thinkinclusive.us

Now adding me to the Think Inclusive payroll marks the start to the growth Tim envisions. More staff writers and a Think Inclusive editor will eventually come. A membership program remains the backbone to all these changes. To see what all a Think Inclusive membership entails please read Tim’s post “BREAKING NEWS: Think Inclusive is Expanding.”

Hopefully you’ll come check me out over at Think Inclusive. My posts will run every Monday.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Do You Want to “Like” Me on Facebook?

Allow me to ask, do you want to “like” me on Facebook? Many authors maintain author pages in addition to their personal profiles. To date I am without a Facebook author page. However, I’m very welcoming to accepting friend requests from readers. Obviously this post indicates I’m open to starting an author page though. Shall we begin our discussion?

Zachary Fenell on Facebook

My personal Facebook profile is located at www.facebook.com/zacharyfenell

First let me explain why I avoided setting up a Facebook author page so far. Besides Facebook you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. That’s four social media platforms I’m updating regularly! Creating a Facebook author page adds a fifth. Honestly I don’t think the content I might post on an author page will differ too much from my personal profile. Therefore I wonder, why add an extra social media page to man?

Plus I like the intimacy the Facebook friend relationship entails compared to a simple “like.” Anyone can like a page. Accepting a friend request holds increased meaning and facilitates two-way communication. You get to stay updated on my writing and my life. In return I stay updated on a reader’s life. I want to develop such two-fold connections.

Yet if people want me to also create a Facebook author page, I will. Thus speak up and let me know your thoughts. Vote in the following poll and/or leave a comment below. Fellow authors and writers please share your experiences with your Facebook author pages by commenting below too. I eagerly anticipate seeing everyone’s responses!