Monday, October 5, 2015

The Joy of New Pursuits

I can't claim to be a technology whiz. I've been dragged by necessity, whining and protesting, into the 21st century of social media phenomenon. Five years ago this month, I was biting my nails through an intensive course in Blogging 101 by Dan Blank, not realizing at the time just what a joy this new pursuit, this blogging thing, would turn out to be.

I faced new challenges this summer.

Before she agreed to sign me as a client, my new literary agent Stephany Evans told me quite frankly that I needed to revitalize my "platform."

Book authors, particularly non-celebrity non-fiction writers, need to have platforms that demonstrate an ability to connect with the reading public. This might mean having public speaking skills and experience or a newspaper column or frequent articles in national magazines. It can include blogging or podcasting or creating You Tube videos. It means having the energy and imagination to reach out in many ways to potential readers and a willingness to take the initiative in promoting one's  books at bookstore signings and special events as well as via media contacts.

I knew Stephany was right. My platform needed a major overhaul. Yet part of me wanted to whine "But I just want to write!"

That's not how it is these days.

Stephany suggested that I check out media consultants and she highly recommended that June Clark ( should be among those.

When I had finished checking possible media experts, June was the standout. I met with both June and Stephany when I was in New York for the Davy Jones tribute in early summer. Their encouragement was energizing. And when June and I started working together in early July on my platform overhaul, things started moving even faster.

June mapped out my areas of expertise and strengths along with a plan to utilize all of my skills and to develop some new ones as well. As she built a totally new interactive website, she made numerous suggestions that kept me busy all summer.

The new website:

She pushed me to learn all I could about major social media and start using them. I'm working on getting comfortable with Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Twitter.

She insisted that I become active with HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and make myself available for interviews in areas of my expertise. About a dozen reporters took me up on my offers to help, including some from U.S. News and World Report, and CBS News.

I reactivated my California license as a psychotherapist -- finding that I had missed doing therapy and that being an active therapist rather than a retired one added vitality to my platform. After completing the required 36 units of continuing education to reactivate my license, I signed up to do virtual therapy for California clients via

VirtualTherapyConnect unique URL:

I wrote a free mini e-book "Seven Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Adult Child", available for the asking in PDF form on the home page of my new website.

I took a six-week class in Podcasting (from Media Bistro taught by the wonderful Maurice Cherry) so that I could link a podcast with this blog. The "Living Fully with Dr. Kathy McCoy" podcast is now available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, InTune and on my new website as well. Initially, the podcast is featuring audio versions of some of my blog posts most popular with readers, but eventually there will be all-new topics covered. A new episode appears each Monday and can be found on the following links.


Stitcher Radio


Looking back on this busy summer, I'm amazed and delighted.

At the beginning, I felt overwhelmed and fearful of learning new technology. I whined about Twitter (even after a kind tutorial from my social media savvy next door neighbor Judith). I was afraid no one from HARO would want to talk with me. I worried over my weekly homework for the Podcasting class. I dreaded having new professional pictures taken.

But with continuing encouragement from June and Stephany, I learned some new skills and took some risks and ventured outside my comfort zone.

And it feels good! Not just to have a new platform, but to learn, to grow and to have this lead to new experiences -- like a conversation I had with a 20-year-old male medical assistant/aspiring rock singer in my doctor's office recently.

I told him I was trying to stay mentally sharp by mastering Audacity, a recording software. His face brightened. "No way!! Really???" he said, looking at me with new interest. "You're recording with Audacity??? My band and I use that! It's so cool that you're learning it, too!" I asked him to explain some technicalities to me and he happily did so.

My doctor -- Scott Finkbeiner -- came in the room while we were talking tech and he smiled broadly. "That's what I love to see!" he said. "Keep learning, keep engaging with life! That's a prescription for good health!"

Dr. Finkbeiner said that the patients who worry him are those who sit around all day watching television and focusing on their aches and pains - rather than exploring new ideas, new skills and new ways to connect with others.

In the wake of all these learning experiences, I feel hope. I feel energized. I feel elated to be learning something new, to be conquering my fears and chipping away at my ongoing tech phobia and to be embracing, little by little, more of the wonders of 21st century technology!


  1. I love hearing this, Kathy! I've known a bit about your journey, of course, but when you put it all together, it really is quite comprehensive! Adding the tech to it and the podcast recording -- whew! One of the things that I think must make you a most remarkable therapist is that you seem to be a lifelong learner, a student of life and whatever it throws in your path.

    What I really love is that you have started a new part of your life at 70, expanded your universe by learning new things, taking on new challenges, expanding what you do so well to do even more. I admire that more than I can say and find that a grand personal inspiration.

  2. Oh my goodness, you have been busy. I cannot tell you how I admire what you are doing.

    I just read a comment you made over at Sightings over 60 on finding happiness. It struck me that most of the people that I talk to or read (including myself) had the same experience as you. When we give up our "working life" and life long friendships to move to that dream retirement location, it is very like beginning life all over again. The fact that you said you were happy is wonderful.

    All this learning you are doing makes me hungry for new experiences. Thank you! Here I go!

  3. I'm with Jeanie in that you're an inspiration. I think we have our own paths to follow. I'm doing it through Neighborhood Watch and my speech awareness pursuits with spasmodic dysphonia. As we age we have a lot to offer and should remain active as you've stated. Bravo for all that you do.

  4. My compliments and admiration. You've had a remarkable summer.

  5. WOW---I am SO SO SO proud of you.. You now have a new book about to be written --just about yourself and your life-changes, helping us Seniors to stay as active and vital as possible as we live out our later years... I see WAY too many of 'us' sitting around complaining about our aches and pain and just waiting for death to hit us in the face...

    George and I both are working very hard at staying as 'young' and 'up-to-date' as possible as we age... We try to stay 'up' with technology --but it's not easy!!!!! Having tech-savy kids and grandkids helps--but there are still many, many things we have not tackled.

    Right now, our new 'toys' are our FITBITS (which we wear constantly --and which record our sleep habits, heart rates, steps--all exercise, etc.).... We even have a Wifi Scale--which sends our weight including body fat/lean to the website whenever we get on the scale.... AND--we use My Fitness Pal (online) for recording what we eat --and that program will sync with FITBIT.... SO---we have lots of help and startling facts when it comes to getting and staying healthy....

    Well--this ole 'wordy' woman --who loves to write has said enough today... BUT--I'm just so excited and proud of YOU... If you ever get to Tennessee (for a talk/speech/book-signing, etc.)--let us know. We'd love to meet the NEW Dr. Kathy McCoy.


  6. I so admire how you have bravely jumped into the media waters and are not only afloat but thriving. I'm still sitting on the couch too much and concentrating on my aches and pains. Thanks for the shake up--I really will try to do better. Pretty sure my aches and pains would go away if I just got up and became more involved. Thank you..

  7. Wow! I'm impressed. You've accomplished a lot in a short time. I love new technology, but there's just so much of it that I can't keep up. You have some great suggestions in this post for those who want to move from blogging to the next level...and the new profile picture is lovely!

  8. Wow. Just reading about your many new pursuits wore me out. Good for you; and yes, indeed, getting off our comfort zone and pursuing new skills and opportunities will definitely revamp your entire body and soul.

  9. Dear Kathy, what you've done these past few moments is impressive. To me, really, it's mind-boggling. I wish you ever success with your new adventures and explorations. All this is surely branching your dendrites, which is essential throughout our lives.

    The design of your new blog invites readers in. The colors, the type size and faces, the text--everything works together to say, "Here's a savvy writer." Congratulations. Peace.

  10. Wow Kathy! I'm blown away -- you really accomplished a lot and I'm excited to see what the next steps will be. Thanks for being such a star student!

  11. Good for you, but I seem to have missed your Twitter handle. I would be quite happy to follow you on Twitter.

  12. As always, your words and experiences are inspiring and full of wisdom! Much congratulations to you and happiness for you as you mastered all of these challenges this summer, and ended up enjoying them!

  13. This is just fabulous. Good for me. You inspire me. I try to learn all of this on my own. I like the idea of getting a "coach" to help one out. I think you are following a pattern you have always followed. You are a leader and you are stepping out. You go girl!

  14. I am skeptical about the value of Facebook and Twitter in general, and wish that the writing and publishing of books did not depend on authors being forced to use them. Be that as it may, learning new technology is definitely something that revs up the brain and that, in and of itself, is a very good thing! I love your new professional photo :)

  15. Good for you! Keeps our minds active and healthy, all these new learnings.

  16. Wow! Good luck with everything and congratulations on all your hard work and venturing into the 'new world'.