Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance: What I Wish I Had Known (Book #1)
Why didn’t anyone tell me? Ballroom dancing is fun, magical and, most of all, life-changing. When I first started learning ballroom though, I fumbled around awkwardly and sometimes painfully, figuring things out as I went along. Certain things weren’t explained or just never came up in conversation. From what to expect in class to how to find the right teacher or dance partner to how much ballroom really costs, Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance covers the things that I wish I had known when I first started learning ballroom. This quick read is your cheat sheet to help you get the most out of your ballroom experience.
Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting: How I Afford to Dance (Book #2)
Anyone who tries ballroom dancing quickly learns how expensive it can be. From private lessons to competition fees, the monetary cost of being a ballroom student can quickly skyrocket. In my experience, the high cost is the most frequently cited reason for quitting dance. It shouldn’t be that way!
I live paycheck to paycheck, carry credit card debt, and still dance and compete in pro-am ballroom. In my first two years as a pro-am competitive ballroom dancer, I entered five competitions, had the money reserved for two additional events, and, at the same time, reduced my credit card debt by almost 50%!
I wrote this second book in my Dance Diaries series out of a desire to help my fellow struggling dancers do the same thing. From budgeting basics to specific tips on how to save on ballroom dancing, in Ballroom Budgeting, I share exactly how I dance and compete in ballroom while living paycheck to paycheck AND reducing debt! I even provide the tools I use to help you start organizing your own ballroom budget right away! Stop stressing over the cost and focus on what is important – the dancing!
Katie is known as the Girl with the Tree Tattoo because of the tree of life tattoo that covers her entire back. She has been taking ballroom dancing lessons since December 2012 and competing in pro-am ballroom competitions since April 2014. It was through ballroom dance that Katie started to discover who she really was and what she was capable of, despite the demons of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety that live in her head. Through sharing her own experiences, Katie hopes to lead others to experience the amazing effect ballroom dancing can have on a life.
YOUTUBE: Watch The Girl With the Tree Tattoo dance gracefully in competition!
Guest Post by The Girl With the Tree Tattoo, author of the Dance Diaries
Compare with Caution
I’ve started and restarted this guest post about four times. It’s coming to you at the end of the Dance Diaries book tour, and I really want it to be good. But the creative process has been a struggle. I considered writing about how I’ve learned to act as my own fairy godmother in making many of my ballroom dreams come true. I tried writing about the development of the Dance Diaries books. The words just weren’t flowing. Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting would give you the inside scoop on the sacrifices I make to get myself to the ball. I think the author interviews from this tour adequately covered how the Dance Diaries books came to be. So what could I share with you that you couldn’t find elsewhere?
While searching for inspiration, I watched Dancing with the Stars. I loved watching the contestants who just put everything out there when they performed. I also felt a slight pang of jealousy as I thought about my own struggles and failures in the emotional expression aspect of ballroom. Later, after I had already thrown out two versions of this article, I was chatting with a friend and fellow ballroom dancer and still searching for the right topic. As he told me the latest news in his dancing adventures, I was happy to hear how well things were going for him. At the same time, I felt a shadow of self-pity creep over me as I thought about how all of my ballroom goals were on hold. But there was a tiny bright light – my inspiration!
The dark spots on what should have been positive moments were the result of me comparing myself to others, and judging myself on what I lacked in that comparison. I can’t perform like they do on Dancing with the Stars. I don’t get to compete as much or take as many lessons as my ballroom friend. I do the same thing when it comes to being a writer. I find other writers who have more followers on their blog than I do, or who have been more widely published. I look at my sales rank on Amazon and, when it falls, I feel like I’m somehow a worse writer than I was the day before. The comparison trap is what I want to write to you about. It’s a dangerous trap that I fall into over and over.
When you fall into the comparison trap, your flaws and shortcomings become magnified 100 times and your talents and triumphs become microscopic. You focus on what others have that you don’t or what they’ve accomplished that you haven’t. If you stay too long, your motivation and drive can be smothered by an overwhelming feeling of “why bother?”
As a woman who lives essentially paycheck to paycheck, it is incredibly easy for me to fall into the comparison trap when it comes to ballroom. This passion ain’t cheap, and I am surrounded by students who don’t even flinch at shelling out thousands of dollars every month to take more private lessons and go to more competitions than I can afford. I have fought the urge to just give up every time I watch others go off to a competition without me. I miss out on a lot of events simply because I can’t pay.
I keep pulling myself back out of the trap though. I remind myself that I am on my own path, not anyone else’s. This is important for anyone pursuing a passion. You will meet others with the same dreams, but you will not go after them in the same way. I wanted to become a ballroom dancer, but I had to choose the path that felt right for me. I definitely don’t fit the look of a traditional ballroom dancer (see the tree tattoo displayed proudly on my back!). I also couldn’t follow in other competitive students’ footsteps by taking hours of private lessons every week and entering competitions every couple months; my budget wouldn’t allow it. So I forged my own path with the resources available to me.
That path has also included a parallel path for pursuing my writing passion. While other students went to competitions I couldn’t afford, I published two books! I could have taken the time, energy and money spent on my books and put them into ballroom instead. But growing both passions together was the right choice for me.
Of course, the one serious consequence to trailblazing is I do not reach the same milestones as others, whether in ballroom or writing, at the same time, if at all. So I will always be lacking something if I compare my journey’s progress to theirs. But it’s not an apples to apples comparison. They will also be lacking something I have, because I am reaching different milestones.
It’s so easy to compare, I often find myself doing it without thinking. So I try to remember to compare with caution. I can look to another’s journey for inspiration or lessons (i.e, what not to do), but I shouldn’t look to determine my own progress. My path has its own unique set of twists and turns, just like anyone’s, and the best way for me to know how far I’ve come is to look behind me.
In whatever passion you’re pursuing, there is a great chance you will not be able to avoid the comparison trap. That’s ok! There will always be a gap between you and the stronger, faster, richer, or more advanced. As soon as you start closing one gap, another will appear. So don’t worry so much about how far along others are on their journey. You are not on the same path, so it’s best to just focus on the trail ahead of you.
Win a copy of the Dance Diaries and learn ballroom dancing – one winner also wins a $20 Amazon Gift Card (7 winners total – open int’l) – ends Oct 22
Sept 26 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – book spotlight / guest post
Sept 26 – XoXo Book Blog – book spotlight
Sept 26 – Books, Dreams, Life – book spotlight
Sept 27 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Dance Diaries #1/ author interview/giveaway
Sept 27 – Writers and Authors – book spotlight / author interview
Sept 27 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Sept 28 – Book reviews nature photos – review of Dance Diaries #1
Sept 28 – The Autistic Gamer – review of Dance Diaries #1
Sept 28 – The Dance Bible – review of Dance Diaries #1 / author interview
Sept 29 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Dance Diaries #1 / giveaway
Sept 29 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Dance Diaries #2 /giveaway
Sept 30 – Northernmsw – review of Dance Diaries #1 / author interview
Sept 30 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 3 – The Autistic Gamer – review of Dance Diaries #2
Oct 3 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 4 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Dance Diaries #2 / giveaway
Oct 4 – Deal Sharing Aunt – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 5 – Bookworm for Kids – review of Dance Diaries #1 / giveaway
Oct 6 – Book reviews nature photos – review of Dance Diaries #2
Oct 6 – The All Night Library – review of Dance Diaries #1
Oct 6 – The Dance Bible – review of Dance Diaries #2
Oct 7 – Northernmsw – review of Dance Diaries #2
Oct 7 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 11 – Readers Muse – review of Dance Diaries #1
Oct 12 – Bookworm for Kids – review of Dance Diaries #2 / giveaway
Oct 13 – The All Night Library – review of Dance Diaries #2 / guest post
Oct 13 – Book Lover in Florida – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 14 – Readers Muse – review of Dance Diaries #2