From Blogging To Getting Published - Ask Me Anything!

Caroline Topperman
Apr 11, 2018

I hold a degree in screenwriting and I am currently working as a blogger and writer. I have worked in many industries including fashion, fitness and beauty. From owning a Pilates studio which was frequented by professional athletes and Hollywood celebrities to working with international fashion brands, I feel like I’ve done it all and I’m lucky to be able to draw on all of these rich experiences when it comes to my writing. My book, FitWise: Straight Talk On Being Fit & Healthy is my first foray into a full length work and I am excited to have completed a self-help memoir that has been accepted for publishing. 

For the past few years I have been steadily building my writing portfolio by writing copy for websites as well as being a regular (monthly) commissioned contributor to Huffington Post Canada.  In addition, I was brought on board to a British fashion and lifestyle magazine as the beauty and fitness editor to help grow the magazine and to take it from an online monthly to a print edition.

Please ask me anything about writing, pitching and getting published.

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What is the most enjoyable exercise one can do to stay fit?
Apr 16, 10:28AM EDT0

Well it's whatever you enjoy! There's no one answer I can give you. If you have fun walking then that's what you do, if you like weight lifting then go for it! The secret is to do something where you don't feel like you are exercising.

Apr 16, 2:48PM EDT0
For one looking to become a blogger, what piece of advice can you give to them?
Apr 14, 10:05PM EDT0

To just do it. Just start. The hardest part is always getting those first posts out there into the world. Don't stress about the platform and about making it perfect. Write a post and hit publish then you can start worrying about all the details.

Apr 15, 1:42PM EDT0
What are some things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Apr 14, 1:07PM EDT0

Travel, even if it's just a short road trip somewhere. I love discovering small towns. Hiking is also a favourite passtime of mine. There's nothing like disappearing for a few hours and surrounding yourself in nature. Of course hiding away and reading a good book is great option too. 

Apr 14, 2:51PM EDT0
What have been some of the most embarrassing situations you have encountered whilst being a pilates instructor?
Apr 14, 6:09AM EDT0

Ha! No good dirt for you here. I honestly can't think of any embarrassing situations that I've had as a Pilates instructor.

Apr 14, 2:03PM EDT0
How often do you post on your blog? Is it everday?
Apr 13, 9:22AM EDT0

I used to post everyday. I did that for several years actually but then I realized that my writing was not at its best and I fell into the trap of posting for the sake of posting. As the blog matured I started posting 3 times a week and that worked really well. I've since started posting 1-2 times a week. I find that for now its the perfect amount. I can put out quality content and still have mental time for other projects.

Apr 13, 12:17PM EDT0
Do you think you will have another book in line by the end of this year? Anything you have thought of?
Apr 13, 6:09AM EDT0

I certainly hope so! I'm actually working on something new at the moment. It's still in the beginning stages but it revolves around travel......

Apr 13, 12:15PM EDT0
How well have you adapted to the changes in all three industries in last 5 years?
Apr 13, 5:59AM EDT0
What encouraged you to get into this blogging industry and then move to fitness and writing and what was your route into it?
Apr 12, 11:46AM EDT0

So I actually started out in film school with a specialization in screenwriting. Writing was always something I was passionate about. I also danced from a young age. At some point I decided to pursue dancing since I knew it was a career that I wouldn't realistically continue forever. After a few years of dancing I started slowly transitioning into the fitness industry. At that point dance became more of a hobby and teaching Pilates became my full time work. After a number of years I started to burnout (which is actually quite common in the fitness industry) and I naturally gravitated back to writing. I never completely left dance or fitness though. My blog deals a lot with fitness and staying healthy so I draw on all my previous experiences in my writing. 

Apr 12, 12:09PM EDT0
In what ways is blogging more difficult than writing a novel?
Apr 12, 11:44AM EDT0

I'm not sure that blogging is more difficult that writing a novel, it's just different and maybe there are more aspects to consider with every post you publish.  With a blog you have to constantly be thinking of new posts to write and planning your editorial calendar sometimes as far into the future as 5 or 6 months. Posts are relatively short and need to quickly convey your point in a way that captures a readers attention. You also have to become proficient at online marketing and SEO if you want anyone to see your posts.  Furthermore, blogs are inherently visual, you need to consider the theme that you are using as well as the photographs you are using.  They are a very important factor of your overall content. If you take your own photos they need to have a professional feel to them.  So to have a blog you are not only a writer but a photographer, a designer to a certain extent and an online marketer. Sitting down to write a novel you have the opportunity to delve into a world that you get to create, with characters that in a way become your family. Like I said, I'm not sure that it's easier. Writing my book was an extremely emotional process that I've never experienced with my blog. 

Apr 12, 12:32PM EDT0
If you were not a writer, blogger or a dance, what else can you think of doing with the same skills?
Apr 12, 10:39AM EDT0

I'd be working in the theater which is another passion of mine. I could easily see myself directing which, depending on the play, can be quite physically active and writing scripts which draws on all my writing experience. A great director once told me that to do the job you had to know a little bit about everything! 

Apr 12, 12:15PM EDT0
It's often said that we are what we become of our surroundings, so where are you currently based at and how inspiring is the city and what are your favourite places in the city?
Apr 12, 10:05AM EDT0

I agree 100% that our surroundings are extremely important. I've learned over the years that I need the energy of a big vibrant city. It keeps me inpsired and gives me the push I need to be creative.  I do like to get away to the country where I can recharge but I keep returning to big cities. Living in Warsaw Poland for the past 4 years was a great experience. There was always something going on and I was able to go to museums and art galleries whenever I wanted. The streets were full of people and we had all of Europe at our fingertips. In a matter of a couple of hours we could pretty much be anywhere. 

I've just moved to a small town (my other half was brought over for work) and I have to admit that I'm struggling.  I've only been here a month so I haven't discovered everything but I will say that I find the city very uninspiring and unmotivating. Right now my favourite place is the peace and quiet of my apartment which has an unobstructed view of the area. 

Apr 12, 12:02PM EDT0
What is your opinion on interpretative dance?
Apr 12, 8:46AM EDT0

Generally I'm for any kind of dance. I do think that it's worth studying the greats like Isadora Duncan. They are a big part of modern dance history and important to the future of dance. All of that being said, while it's fun to do it's probably the style that I'm least partial to actually watching on a stage. 

Apr 12, 11:56AM EDT0
In what ways are the physical abilities of a pilates instructor and a dancer similar?
Apr 12, 6:07AM EDT0

Both a Pilates instructor and a dancer have to focus on the finer muscles groups and because of this they have a lot of control over their bodies and how they move.  Of course a dancer has much greater physical abilities but the basics are similar. Both put a lot of focus on posture, on alignment (muscular and skeletal) and on proper breathing techniques. 

Apr 12, 11:52AM EDT0
If you decided to write a fictional piece, which genre would you choose and why?
Apr 12, 6:07AM EDT0

I haven't written fiction in a long time and truthfully most of what I write is at the very least based on real events. I'd probably gravitate to writing drama mixed with a hint of mythology. Those are the stories that I like to read so they would most probably be the ones influencing my book. I also love reading Faulkner, Kafka and Camus and I'm sure they would be a huge influence on my work.

Apr 12, 11:38AM EDT0
How do you incorporate the multiple niches of your interests into one cohesive blog?
Apr 12, 4:43AM EDT0

That hasn't always been easy but my aim it to find a common thread that runs through all of them. I've had to do some soul searching to really discover why these things are so important to me and where my passion comes from. 

Apr 12, 11:33AM EDT0
Which do you prefer, dancing alone or with a partner and what are the reasons for your answer?
Apr 11, 9:34PM EDT0

Both are fun but I do like a good solo because this way I only have to depend on myself. Working with a partner is fun because you have to constantly be paying attention to what the other person is doing so that presents a fun set of challenges. 

Apr 11, 9:38PM EDT0
What kind of dancing do you specialize in and what kind of music do you prefer to dance to?
Apr 11, 4:29PM EDT0

Most of my training is in ballet and modern although I did do a stint in ballroom.  I don't have a music preference as long as it's something that's easy to dance to.

Apr 11, 4:55PM EDT0
What specific movements and exercises are important for a dancer and why?
Apr 11, 5:27AM EDT0

The most important movements and exercises for a dancer are the ones that are done in class.  Each one  is  specifically designed to prepare a dancers body and mind for any choreography that they might come across.  Other workouts like Pilates, yoga, weight lifting area all great cross-training options.

Apr 11, 1:09PM EDT0
How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic? What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Apr 10, 11:50PM EDT0

I currently run ads on my blog as well as sponsored posts and links. I would say the usual advice applies to blog consistently and to focus on content but I would also add that it's important to build a community.  They are the ones that will be your best marketing and will buy from you. 

Apr 11, 11:32AM EDT0
Who are the people and professionals in your life that help you be your best self?
Apr 10, 5:05PM EDT0

I've worked really hard to surround myself with people who inspire me. Many started out as professionals I looked up to, like my editor, but have now become friends. Of course my husband is my number one supporter. I'm going to take this response one step further and say that sometimes it's the people you least expect who are the most supportive. On the flip side, sometimes the people you expect to be supportive don't really understand what you are doing, especially if you don't work at a traditional job. 

Apr 11, 10:36AM EDT0
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