Categories
Folk Guitar Music Poetry

Enough of the Night

Bleak night. Nightlife. After Hours District. Red Light District.

I’m a huge Jackson Browne fan. Here’s my version of one of his classic songs, “Enough of the Night.” In addition to his musical artistry, Browne is an extraordinary poet.

I’ve posted my rendition of another Jackson Browne tune on my other blog: www.davidgittlin.net It’s the title song from his 1993 album “I’m Alive.”

And, last but not least; the song is relevant to current events. We’ve had enough of the night. Elect Joe Biden.

Categories
humor Novels

The Aftermath

Three Days to Darkness Novel by David Gittlin

Excerpt from Three days to Darkness, Copyright 2009 by David B. Gittlin.

Hiram Fyrum stared at the Mamongen Pharmaceuticals Building through the one-way front windshield of Joseph Mamon’s bullet proof Rolls Royce.  The majestic skyscraper had been reduced to a modern version of the Leaning Tower of Pizza silhouetted against the rising morning sun.

Police cars surrounded the ruptured base of the building.  Portable barricades and a line of Policemen prevented pedestrians and traffic from coming within a thousand yards of the ominous slanting edifice.

Hiram had been up all night, mostly trying to figure out what he was going to say to Joseph Mamon, the ninety year old Chairman and Founder of Mamongen Pharmaceuticals.  His stubby legs ached from climbing down fifty floors of emergency stairs from his twenty thousand square foot Penthouse to the ground floor.  Hiram had spent the major portion of this middle of the night journey screaming into his cell phone at various members of the Mamongen Engineering Staff.  The rest of the time he had spent catching his breath.  Needless to say, Hiram Fyrum was not in the best of shape at the moment for the task at hand.  He was, on the other hand, determined as ever to do what he always did in a crisis.  He would rise victoriously to the occasion.

“I’m beginning to see an opportunity here, Joseph.  What if we left the building tilted like that, reinforced with polished steel supports.  We remodel all the interiors to fit the new structure.  Stay with me now.  The building becomes the company’s new logo.  The tag line goes: ‘Mamongen Pharmaceuticals — Taking an Innovative Direction into the Future.’  The building becomes a statement, like a modern art sculpture.  Think of it, Joseph.  It’s what we’re all about.”

Hiram sat back confidently in the rear compartment of the Chairman’s fortress of a car.  His mind automatically began to compute the logistics of the plan he had just proposed.  The more he thought about it, the more he liked it.

“We’re going to play the cards we’ve been dealt,” Hiram added.  “We’re going to turn adversity into an opportunity.”

He turned to Joseph Mamon in the seat next to him.  Hiram’s confidence was now in full flight.  He was suddenly bubbling with energy despite a sleepless night and no morning coffee.

Joseph Mamon stared morosely out at the spectacle that now loomed in a sadly comic fashion amidst the other sterling examples of Corporate Wellness standing straight and tall beside it.  He coughed into his oxygen mask.

“Come on, Joseph.  Say something.”

“I’m looking at what’s left of my life’s work,” the old man said.

“You’re looking at a new beginning, that’s what you’re looking at,” Hiram said.

The old man turned to him. “I’m looking at the biggest putz in the entire world.”

“I’m not offended, Joseph.  This is an emotional time.  I know you don’t mean that.”

“I’m the guy who hired you, which means only one thing:  I’m getting senile.”

The old man broke into a coughing fit.  Hiram patted him on the back.  The coughing finally stopped.

“I’m going to dismantle the company and sell it off in little pieces.”

“Let’s not make any rash decisions.  Let’s give the situation a little breathing room.  Let’s also keep in mind that your passion built this company and our passion can keep it going.”

The old man looked at him with big, rheumy eyes.  “Get out of my car.”  He blinked several times.  “I never want to see you again.”

“You’re firing me?”

“Only because there are laws against killing you.”

 

Categories
dreams inspiration Poetry self-discovery

Do Dreams Come True?

 

Dream Lovers Embracing

It could be the cover of a Romance Novel minus the photo shopping.

It could be a sexy man attempting to kiss a woman for the first time.

It could be a dream come true for both partners.

It could be anything, really, even a metaphor for life itself.

Is life a dream that all of us are dreaming?

Are we dreaming our own unique dreams within the big dream?

I think the answer is “yes.”

Do dreams come true?

I believe it depends upon the dreamer.  Does he or she believe the universe is a loving grantor of dreams?

Does he or she believe the universe will grant the dreams that come from the heart of all Being?

What price must we pay to realize our dreams?

The bigger the dream, the higher the price.

Is that the way it works?

Does there have to be a price?

How much talent is required?

Can it be simple?

Or does it have to be complicated?

Do we create our own reality?

Yes, I believe we do.

Consciously or unconsciously.

What happens when a dream is realized?

There is one simple answer.

It’s not rocket science.

When the dream is realized

We can enjoy it

Then

We must dream again.

 

Categories
inspiration Poetry

What Lies Deep Within?

Exploring an Underwater Cave

Go beyond the mundane mutterings of mind

I tell myself

Into a broader perspective

Into a deeper reservoir of peace and love within

Dive

Explore

I tell myself

It’s there

It is really there

Deep within

I’m told there is no end to the depths

Yet, here I am

Standing on the shore

Barely scratching the surface

Despite all of my sanctimonious efforts

I’m okay with it

I tell myself

Better to taste the drop

Than to taste nothing at all

Exploring an Underwater Cave

Categories
Marketing Novels Online Marketing

How Do I Cost Effectively Market My Book Online?

Online Marketing for Self-Published Books

Comparatively speaking, writing a novel is the fun, easy, first step of the self-publishing process.  The second step, creating an attention-getting book cover, offers its own unique set of challenges.  However, the most intimidating and difficult undertaking, to most authors, is the third step—Online Marketing.  These words strike terror in many authors’ sensitive little hearts because they want as little to do with the outside world as possible.

The most intimidating marketing question is: “Where do I begin?”  In this blog, I’ll let you in on some of the advertising methods I’ve tried and the results I’ve had.  I’ll save you time and money.  I’ll guide you through the marketing process from the completion of your manuscript to the final strokes of your marketing plan.

Before we begin, bear in mind that more than a million books are published every year.  Therefore, we have to be good at marketing.  Damn good!

After completing your final rewrite and the inevitable tweaks that come afterwards, it’s finally time to upload your book to online retailers.  Next, you announce it on your blog, your author website, your Facebook page, and your YouTube channel (optional).

Now what? Gulp…

This is the seriously hard part—driving people to these outposts in cyberspace.

Let’s take a look at what has worked for me and what hasn’t.

Upset young beautiful woman writer mad at slow work of software and computer. Charming young student was upset because of poor grades on test. Gadgets and Technology Concept. Difficulties and troubles

Book Covers

The first step in marketing your book online or ANYWHERE is to create a relatable, attention-getting cover.  We’re taught  not to judge a book by its cover.  Ironically, this principle doesn’t apply to actual books.

I’ve read that the cover of a book needs to be genre specific.  By this I mean your reader can quickly identify the subject matter inside, whether it be Romance, Action/Suspense/Adventure/ Thriller, Espionage, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and so on.  The trick is to make your book genre specific without making it look like every other book in the space.  The idea is to stand out from the crowd, not get lost in it.  If you are an accomplished graphic artist, go ahead and do it yourself.  Just be sure that you follow the specifications of your print on demand supplier.  If you are not a great graphic artist, like me, go ahead and shop for an artist who can turn your cover vision into a commercially viable package.

Please choose an artist with a specialization in book cover design.  This person can have other specialties, but they must also be fully versed in the art of book cover design.  If you are creating the book cover, make sure to research the subject.  There are many pitfalls, just as there are with writing a book.

I used three different artists to create the covers for the three novels I published.  Besides the fact  that I get bored easily, there may have been a method to my madness.  Each of my novels is in a different genre.  Some artists have genre preferences and do better work in those genres.  There is no set rule.  Some artists are good in any genre.  They may be more talented and expensive than others, but you won’t have to go through the angst of breaking in new ones.  And you may get a better overall result.  Or not.  Choose carefully.

If you have an idea of what you want in your book cover, great.  If you don’t, that’s okay.  Just be sure you choose a capable artist who you can communicate with.  Don’t be guided solely by cost.  Choose someone who knows what they are doing; who inspires your confidence, and “gets you.

Blogging

Blogging is a great way to get yourself and your work “out there.” It’s not hard to create a blog, even for graphically challenged people like me.  WordPress and Wix are two of the most popular sites now.  You don’t have to be an expert at coding to make a nice looking blog.  You can also choose an upgrade plan that will give you more customizing options.  I believe the upgrade plans are worth it.  WordPress has a premium plan for only $99 per year.

Once your blog is created, don’t let it just sit in Cyberspace. Take a little time each day to read and comment on blogs by folks who write about subjects that interest you. Those people will then read and follow your blog if your content is good.

Take note of how other people promote their work on their blogs.  I’ve found that the subtle approach is the best way to do it.  Keep in mind that content is king.  What you have to say and how you express it will ultimately determine your degree of success.  Andmake sure the template you use to create your blog is Smart Phone Friendly.  I finally woke up to the fact that most people read blogs on their phones. Duh. I dumped my old templates and replaced them with new, easy to read, phone-friendly ones. Now,  I’m attracting more followers than ever before, and I’m making many new friends.

Facebook Ads

I’ve experimented with ads on Facebook.  I’ve racked up tons of likes and very few sales.  In my humble opinion, paying for ads on Facebook is a total waste of time and money for self-published authors.  I have an author friend who is running great ads on Facebook, but he’s not selling any books.  I’m not saying ads in general don’t work on Facebook.  They do.  But you are an up-and-coming author struggling to find an audience.  You aren’t Macy’s.  You aren’t selling specialty items currently in demand like face masks.  See what I mean?

Facebook Pages

A Facebook page isn’t essential, but I strongly suggest that you put some time and effort into making a good one.  If nothing else, FB pages add credibility and overall impact to your marketing campaign.  And they are FREE.  You might even sell some books from your page using the SHOP NOW button.  Pick a glowing book review and pin it at the top of your posts column.  This little maneuver has increased views and engagements on all three of my Facebook pages.

Instagram

Upload a JPEG of your book cover with a link to your Facebook page.  If you have lots of friends who spend half of their lives on Instagram, you might get lucky.  I don’t use Instagram.  Don’t ask me why.

Press Releases

I’ve created and distributed press releases on PR Web with a target audience of 30,000 journalists and bloggers. The idea is to drive traffic to your websites and generate publicity on major news sites and search engines.  You can participate at various cost levels starting at $99.  The more you spend, the bigger the audience.  I participated at the second highest level at a cost of $289 per release.  (The highest level currently costs $389).  To add interest to the releases, I created a book trailer video. (A simple book trailer without actors will cost anywhere from $250 to $300 from a reputable company).

Bottom line: I could not relate any book sales to my press release adventures.  Save your money.

Book Trailers

Book trailers are nice to have but they aren’t essential to your marketing campaign.  When I first started marketing my books twelve years ago, the pundits all said that you were dead in the water if you didn’t have a book trailer.  As it turns out, this is baloney.  Book trailers are a nice addition to your marketing package, but they aren’t powerful generators of sales.  I made trailers for my first novel, Three Days to Darkness, and my second one, Scarlet Ambrosia–Blood is the Nectar of Life.  I had fun making them and they didn’t cost too much. Recently, I used the first trailer I made as the cover photo on my Facebook page. (Note: The video has to be two minutes or less to be uploaded to the cover section). To my amazement it worked. More than a thousand people visited my Three Days to Darkness page in the span of two weeks. I made some book sales at the rate of two percent of the visits. I’m still getting views.  But here’s the thing: if you have a limited budget, use it where it will do the most good.  I’m getting to that.  Stay with me.

Audio Books

If you can swing the cost, make an audio version of your book.  As you are no doubt aware, people don’t read as many books as they used to.  Audio books are getting more popular every day.  I used ACX to make the audio book for my third novel, Micromium: Clean Energy from Mars.  I liked using ACX and they are part of Amazon.  I signed an exclusive agreement with them, which means I get a bigger royalty (70%) on each audio book sale.  With this agreement, your book is automatically uploaded to Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.  The downside is, you don’t get exposure on sites like Hoopla, Overdrive, and Bibliotheca, which serve libraries.  If you don’t go exclusive, ACX offers a non-exclusive agreement wherein you can distribute to any platform and get a 25% royalty.

If you hire a narrator for your audio book, which you can do through ACX, a good one will probably cost you between $100 and $150 per finished hour.  Your narrator does the narration and all of the production work.  You direct them and approve the finished product.  I had a great time making my audio book with an amazing woman who did a fabulous job.  I’ve done reasonably well with my audio book.  I’ve noticed that having an audio version available has increased my overall book sales.

Paid Reviews

When you launch your book, you want to have a sufficient number of positive reader and editorial reviews available on retail sites and Goodreads to convert browsers into buyers.  Unless you have twenty friends and a handful of book critics ready, willing, and able to post glowing reviews, it makes sense to purchase a few of these.

There are a number of sites available for these services.  I have found the best and most reliable site for reader and editorial reviews to be indiereader.com.  Check out their website.  I bought reader reviews and an editorial review from them. I’m 100% satisfied with their service, reliability, and results.  I’ve also used midwestbookreview.com for fair, reliable, and less expensive editorial reviews. Readers Favorite is an excellent site for FREE reviews. Check it out.

Amazon Advertising

Sponsored ads on Amazon.com are the most effective marketing tool I’ve used so far.  If you have a limited budget, this is where to spend it.  The ads are easy to create. You set your daily budget, write your copy, set your campaign dates, and off you go.  If the ad doesn’t work, you can scrap it and try different keywords.  You can see which keywords are working and which are not and adjust accordingly.  Best of all, you can see how many books you’ve sold and how much it has cost you to sell those books.  There’s no baloney and no guesswork.  And, let’s face it, most of the books people buy are sold on Amazon.  To create a campaign, sign in to your KDP account, select the book you want to advertise, click on the three dots to the far right of the book, and select promote and advertise.

I hope you will find these tips helpful.  I wish you all the success in the world, and keep writing.

Writing Fiction as a Profession

Categories
inspiration Making Changes self-discovery

The End Is The Beginning

Choosing a new direction into the unknown.

If You Find Yourself at the End of Your Rope…It Might Be a Good Thing

The word I hear bandied about is “surrender.” Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of surrendering. I’m not really sure what that word means in relation to the path of awakening. I’ll have to fumble forward to find my own way of “letting go.”

Once every seven years or so, I get to the point where I just want to scream obscene epithets from my terrace railing. Since I’m not a big fan of being arrested, I’m able to contain myself.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t keep the dam of frustrated emotions from spilling into the lap of some innocent bystander. I feel like I’ve done everything that can be done to accomplish my goals and my efforts are bogged down like German Panzer tanks in the snow on the Russian front.

The funny thing is,unlike the German Army in 1942, I find it possible to actually get somewhere when I reach this point. In one sense, it’s a scary place, a place of desperation, a feeling of being at the end of my rope. But I’ve found it can also be the beginning of something better than the orbit I was in. You might call it a breakthrough to a higher altitude, if you don’t mind pedestrian metaphors.

When I have looked in every crevice and corner and turned over every stone in search of the faintest glimmer of light—the light is usually not very far away.

There comes a time when human effort is met by something that looks like chance, but it is not chance. Some people call it Grace. Some people call it luck. I call it proof positive that persistent effort, and faith in myself and the universe, will unlock the door to whatever my heart truly desires.

Sometimes I think I want something that turns out to be only a construct of my mind.  I’m chasing a phantom with no real substance. Sometimes I overestimate my abilities, and I set unrealistic goals. However, if what I want comes from deep within my heart, I believe nothing can stop me from attaining my heart’s desire.

One of the good things about advancing age is that it makes it easier to focus on priorities. I mean real priorities—the meaningful stuff, because the clock is ticking, louder and louder. There simply isn’t time to screw around with trivialities and dead ends. I’ve been everywhere, done everything, made a fool of myself, and accomplished a few goals. You might say I’ve grown weary of missing the point. I want the real thing—the beauty within my heart—and I know it can’t be far away.

To illustrate my point, I’m reminded of a crossroads I reached earlier in life.

The Easiest and the Hardest Step in Breaking Out of Old Patterns

Walking Towards an Unknown Destination

It’s one of the most frightening passages life confronts us with. What we’ve been doing doesn’t work anymore. We’ve come to a fork in the road. One fork leads to the known. The other one leads to the unknown.

I had spent my entire career working in a family business. My father and my uncle built the business. They passed away, leaving the next generation in charge. My father and uncle expected me and my two cousins to continue where they left off. In theory, my cousins and I had the education and the experience to handle the transition seamlessly. Except we didn’t share a vision for the future, and I frankly couldn’t stand one of my cousins.

After several futile attempts to carry on as expected, I saw the handwriting on the wall. I did not foresee the business flourishing with the three of us at the helm. I decided to sell my share of the business to my cousins. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.

Up until this fork in the road, my life had been structured from the outside in. I had done what was expected of me. Now, it was up to me to structure my life from the inside out.

I have found this wise old saying to be very true. “When one door closes, another opens.”  To express it another way, letting go of one thing leaves room for another. The scary part of navigating this passage is enduring the empty space left behind in the wake of releasing the known. We are normally left with only a tiny kernel of an idea; a faint voice whispering beneath the clatter of every day life.

I had always dreamed of writing fiction. From a solid background in marketing communications, I began writing short stories in my forties. While still employed in the family business, I took online courses in screenwriting at UCLA. I learned the basics of character development, drama, conflict, and plotting. I used screenwriting as a bridge to my main goal: Writing novels. After selling my share of the business, I now had the time and the freedom to pursue the dream.

Part of me thought I had gone mad.  That part turned out to be dead right. Logically, what were the odds of finding an agent and a publisher? It’s not something to think about when writing a first novel. Trust me.

I discovered that writing a novel is a very lonely process. I was accustomed to interfacing with all kinds of people in business. Now, except for a few friends, wife, daughter, and mother-in-law, I was completely alone. Doubts and fears assaulted me. I figured real novelists enjoyed their solitude. I kept thinking, real novelists are self- sufficient artists. They can take or leave people. All they need is their cats or dogs. Maybe this is true.  All I know is I’ve managed to write three good screenplays and three good novels since taking the fork in the road that leads to the unknown.

There are certainly ups and downs mucking about in the unknown. I have to say, though, that it’s more interesting and rewarding than steady doses of the known. It’s actually fun to travel back and forth between the worlds of the unknown and the known.

Let’s take writing this article to illustrate my point. When I began, I only had a vague idea of what it would be about. I did, however, have the definite intention of writing something that would be of interest and benefit to you and me. So, what is my point? Here it is: Nothing happens if you don’t take the first step. You’ll stay stuck in the same rut, and that’s no fun. Have the courage to adventure into the unknown. Trust yourself and the talents you’ve been given. Nobody gets rich, creates anything meaningful, or finds a deeper source of happiness following the crowd.

 

Categories
Poetry self-discovery

What If We Made Life Simpler and Less of a Struggle?

Out of Your Mind Science series. Background of spiral of human silhouette face line and abstract elements on the subject of consciousness, the mind, artificial intelligence and technology

What if consciousness became curious and created this world, including you and me, simply to have the pleasure of experiencing itself?

What if consciousness had already created millions of worlds and dimensions before this one for the same simple purpose?

In other words, what if we owed our existence to the natural tendency of consciousness to expand and play?

If this is true, then why do we take ourselves so seriously?

If consciousness wants to have pleasure and play through us, then why is there so much destruction and suffering in the world? Do we bring most of it upon ourselves? It seems the answer is self-evident?

What if we found a way to make life less of a struggle?

If we opened ourselves to the love and joy that must exist somewhere within us, what do you think would happen?

Categories
Poetry

Radiant Flower

Meditation Lotus Tranquility Peace Beauty Radiance Joy

Flowing through my heart

the sounds of life everlasting

Pieces of Truth

I am unaware of

The thief steals my joy

and I am alone

to face the stars

and the consequences of my life

Why does this happen

in crazy spirals

over and over?

Things could be so much easier

if I would only let them be

Where are you Radiant Flower?

I ask my heart for the answers

and they do not come

Then, without notice,

the answers come in torrents

like waves crashing on the shore

Later, I am alone again

without the armor of love to protect me

And then, I remember

The Radiant Flower blooms

when I want it to

with every cell of my being

And then, to my surprise,

I see the Radiant Flower has bloomed

once again

Categories
Fitness Folk Guitar Health inspiration Music wellness

Is There a Silver Lining to Corona?

Silver Lining

Can there be an upside to something as horrible as the Coronavirus?

Well, maybe.

While I (we) can’t ignore the tragedies and hardships CV has visited upon so many of us, I think it helps to realize there have also been benefits that will accrue to everyone who makes it through these troubling times.

We all have goals of one kind or another. Some are easy to accomplish, like a “to do” list of daily errands. The ones that are higher on the food chain of goals are more challenging. They require more effort, perseverance and imagination.

What if I told you the CV pandemic made my higher goals easier to accomplish?

Grant me a few more paragraphs to explain.

Since the pandemic began, I’ve taken the mental pressure off of myself. I’ve cut way back on what I expect from myself. As a result, I’ve been more creative, more productive, and I’m having more fun.

In other words, the stay-at-home Covid lifestyle gave me the perfect excuse to slow down and relax. I’m guessing many of you have had a similar experience?

Here are a few examples of what I mean.

First of all, I’m not pursuing happiness with a vengeance. I don’t feel the self-imposed pressure of making myself or someone else happy. I’m just dealing with the Coronavirus situation one day at a time. I’m keeping it simple. I’m not forcing myself to be active. I’m not running around all over the place trying to “do something meaningful with my life.”

As a result, I’ve been working out more than I usually do. And I’m doing most of it at home rather than trekking to a gym somewhere. I’m saving time and energy. I’m in better shape. And guess what; I’m a lot happier than I’ve been in a long time.

Secondly, I’ve had a creative renaissance. I’ve dropped the “shoulds,” the “ought to’s” and the guilt. I’m not thrashing around thinking; What are you going to write today?  What, no ideas? How can you be so empty and lazy?

Instead, I’m not worried about writing anything. And voila. The ideas are coming to me spontaneously. The idea for this post came to me unbidden. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. But it wasn’t happening. Now, I’m enjoying writing this stuff. It’s not torture. Imagine that.

On to music. My music. Well, it’s not exactly my music. Plato said; ““Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” That’s a nice quote. I especially like the part about music giving life to everything. I feel the truth of it.

I enjoy singing and playing acoustic guitar songs by my favorite artists. When I get them down “just right,” I record and post them on my blog and on Facebook. I do it because I just plain like doing it. Since I’ve been happier lately, I’ve been doing it a lot more. And I’m downloading inexpensive tutorials to learn exactly how an artist like Cat Stevens plays a song I like. It’s fun and a good way to improve the old guitar technique.

I’m hoping some of this musical joy will rub off on my friends.

There are so many other silver lining stories like this one:

A personal trainer friend of mine told me she has increased her income and clientele by offering her coaching sessions online. She is no longer bound by geography. And she saves time, energy, and gas money with online sessions. Now that gyms have re-opened, she can do sessions online and in person.

I have to give some credit for my new-found happiness to the spiritual community I participate in. There are now nourishing online events I can attend almost every day of the week. It gives me the focus I want and it has helped me to be more grateful for what I have in my life. These community events, which started out as online support for the journey through CV, will now be extended beyond the Covid period.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” We are responding by developing creative solutions to the CV crisis, both individually and collectively. So hang in there, and find the silver lining shining through the clouds every day in your life.

 

Categories
Do-It Yourself Fitness Health welness

How to Easily and Inexpensively Create Your Home Gym

Nordic Track Recumbent Bike

In These Difficult Times It’s Essential to Give Yourself the Opportunity to Workout at Home

It’s surprisingly easy to set up a home gym. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to do it. Public gyms are not safe right now, and it might be awhile before you can work out in a public gym without risking your health and, let’s face it, your life. So here are some simple steps to help you create your in-home gym.

I’m talking about an affordable gym with just the basics.

The first thing you will need is a stationary bike. These obviously come in various shapes and sizes as well as price ranges. You might need a spinning bike. You might need a recumbent bike if you have back problems or if you desire more comfort than a standard bike can offer.

Prices for exercise bikes will range from $500 to $2,500. I bought a very good Nordic Track recumbent bike for $1,000. While this might seem expensive, I’m looking at it as a long-term investment. As well as protecting my health, I’m saving time and energy working out at home. And, it’s very likely I’ll need my home gym if there is a second wave of the virus during the summer or in the fall.

Be prepared to assemble the bike when it arrives in a carton. I found the hardest part about assembling mine was opening the shipping carton and getting the parts out. They sure don’t want those parts to break. If you buy an upper-end bike like a Peleton, chances are a team will come to assemble your bike free of charge.

If you can’t live without a treadmill, you will have to cough up at least $4,000 for a decent treadmill. Hopefully, you can live without one (unless you have big bucks).

The next item on your shopping list will be exercise and stretching mats. If you don’t have back problems, you can probably get by with a single padded mat or something like a Gaiam 5/8 inch thick Yoga mat. Gaiam is a trusted and reliable supplier. They make quality products. I’m not getting paid to say this. Honest.

The exercise mats I use are six-feet long and two-feet wide. I’m using a padded mat plus two Gaiam mats for reasons that will remain unspecified. The point is, you need to protect your body. Don’t be afraid to use extra padding. Your body will appreciate it and treat you better in return.

The Gaiam mats I mentioned sell for $17.00 each. It’s a great price for an outstanding product. The padded mat I bought cost $37.00. The Confidence Fitness Mat I bought to put under my bike cost $42.00.

You need a mat to go under your bike or treadmill to protect the equipment, your carpet or floor, and yourself from your wife’s ire over messing up the house. If you aren’t a married guy, you still need the mat.

Next, you’ll need some free weights. You don’t need many sizes, unless you happen to be a serious body builder. I bought a pair of 10 pound and 15 pound free weights. I have achieved better results by doing more reps with lighter weights. I discovered this by accident when my gym closed down. I couldn’t get heavier weights so I tried lighter ones. I’m never going back to heavy weights.

Heavy weights can cause all sorts of injuries and they aren’t a whole lot of fun to lift. If you’ve been lifting heavy weights for a while, I’m sure you have the aches and pains to corroborate what I’m saying.

If you like bulging muscles, you won’t agree with me. If you want good definition and reasonable musculature, I’d recommend using lighter weights. The two pairs of weights I bought cost $165.

Yes, good free weights are expensive. Read the reviews for any free weights you buy. Customer reviews helped me big time to buy the right weights.

And that’s it. You’ve achieved some independence by setting up your very own home gym. My gym cost a total of $1,245.00 USD. You can do it for less. If you like company and extra motivation, sign up for online spinning, full workout, and Yoga classes.

You’re good to go. Hope this helps.