With the current pandemic keeping many of us cooped up in our homes for the foreseeable future, this week I figured I’d take a little break from talking about writing to do the next best thing: talk about myself!
I kid, of course. I’ve never really been one to toot my own horn, which is part of why I have such trouble marketing my work effectively. But especially right now, I think it’s important to get any kind of human contact we can and put a softer face on my usually professional and somewhat more reserved writer self to give you a closer look at who exactly you’re reading about every week. Specifically, I wanted to talk about what some of my other interests are and what you can find me doing when I’m not writing!
So what kinds of things occupy my time, outside my fictional endeavors? Well, I work, of course. Right now I’m a content and social media manager at The American College of Financial Services in the Philadelphia area, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., doing all kinds of marketing-related work in pushing out new content for financial advisors and corporate communications. It’s not something I thought I’d be doing, especially since I graduated with a journalism degree and never loved dealing with numbers, but it’s a great job and I love working there!
Outside of work, I’m also an ongoing graduate student at Rosemont College, studying for a dual master’s degree in creative writing and publishing. I’ve always liked being in a classroom setting with people with similar interests and discussing writing with fellow creative people, and going back to school to pursue my passion two years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I probably have another year or two as part of the program, but I’m in no rush. It’s been hugely beneficial to my growth as a writer and a person overall.
Speaking of personal growth, the most important thing in my life outside of school and work is my training in the martial arts. Specifically, I study Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art, but mostly I just shorthand it to “karate” so people know what I’m talking about. I started Tang Soo Do at my local YMCA when I was maybe 15 or 16 years old because I wanted to learn how to defend myself, get in shape, and gain self-confidence. It took my parents by surprise because I was never a very physical kid, but they supported me as I joined and here I am, 12 years later, still doing it! I took classes all the way through college and moving away to a different state for a few years, and just recently earned my second-degree black belt. I currently help with teaching younger students in several classes (even digitally through Zoom!) in addition to my normal training routine. I honestly can’t overstate what a wonderful influence karate has been on my life and how much it’s helped me become the person I am today. My instructors and fellow students are like a second family to me, and the discipline, self-control, and confidence karate has given me is something I think is invaluable in this day and age.
On the subject of physical activity, I also love (when the weather cooperates, of course) to get out and hike! Long walks either solo or with others through some remote wilderness area are one of my favorite pastimes, and traveling to new places to do it is even better! A few years back, I actually went backpacking alone across the Irish countryside for two weeks, walking 8-10 hours a day and staying in B&Bs overnight. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done and I’m dying to go back and do it again. I’ve been to over a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, and most recently to Morocco for a grad school writing retreat. Experiencing new places and cultures is something I’ve been doing with my parents since I was little, and I think it’s given me a much broader perspective than a lot of people have: something I’m immensely grateful for.
In my down time, I’m an avid gamer of all kinds: board games, card games, video games, you name it! I can be more than a little competitive, I’ll admit, but anything that involves testing my wits and skills against other people is something I can’t live without. For whatever reason, I can’t play games solo though. I know lots of people who can spend hours and hours in some kind of enormous open-world video game, but for me, that kind of thing gets old after an hour or so. I can’t really explain why, but video gaming especially is a social thing for me and I can’t get into it unless other people are actually in the room playing with me.
Finally, as many of you may know from following me on social media, I’m super into music as influence for my writing: most of my works have soundtracks I’ve created for them, and I just like good music in general. Back in middle and high school I used to be heavily involved with both music and theater in my spare time, and while theater eventually phased out of my life, I stuck with music, including piano and guitar playing and vocal performance, well into my college years before I realized, well, I wasn’t actually that great at it. That said, I still belt out my favorite songs loudly in the car where no one can hear me, and I’m getting more comfortable with singing and playing along on the guitar. Stay tuned (no pun intended) for some fun videos where you’ll get to see me “let my hair down,” as it were.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little get-to-know-me session, and I’d love to get to know you as well! If you’d like to talk writing, music, travel, or really anything else, the most reliable place to find me for some conversation is on Twitter @krobnovelist.
Till next time, stay safe out there!