“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”
~ Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)
Do you ever feel you have TOO MANY ideas? Sometimes it seems like having too many things swirling around in my head at once leads either to a sense of being frozen in place or heading off in a million directions at once, and that perhaps the energy of my mind has created a logjam preventing me from fulfilling the essence of my life.
How do I know what to start–or finish? What do I focus on? How do I determine which ideas have immediate, intermediate or long-term pay-offs? Which ideas really stink? Which ideas need validation and from whom? I turn 51 in a few weeks and life is half over…how can I possibly get everything accomplished?
As a writer, I’ve started outlining the sequel to ORACLES OF DELPHI and I’m getting excited about where the story is going. I also showed parts of a long-shelved literary fiction novel to a friend and she loved it and said, “That’s the book that you need to write,” and then, after my ego was sufficiently stroked and my confidence up, I showed it to my writers group and at least one member of the group heartily agreed that it is well worth pursuing. But, I’ve got another long-shelved novel–about a group of fiction writers/poets who live a “Bohemian” lifestyle on the in late 19th century rural America that is loosely based on my great aunt–that has also been whispering in my ear lately.
As a publisher/editor, I’ve started editing Blank Slate Press’s third novel, DAYBREAK,–a historical about a love triangle set in a utopian society founded in southern Missouri just before the outbreak of the Civil War. (It’s going to be GREAT, by the way.) I’m also editing and helping a mental health consultant/writer get his book, (AN AMERICAN RESURRECTION: ONE MAN’S JOURNEY FROM CHILDHOOD ABUSE AND MENTAL ILLNESS TO REBIRTH AND LITERARY COMMUNION), on his journey through child abuse and mental illness published. And I’ve been working with a Vietnam veteran on telling his story. Plus, I’m interested in pursuing what I’m calling my Treehouse Writers Cooperative (TWC) idea. (See my BSP blog post on this here.)
The TWC idea is very attractive for me as an entrepreneur. My husband and I have been running our own consulting business (he consults and I do marketing/back-office) for 11 years and we started Blank Slate Press together. I like having control of my destiny and, although I am actively looking for an agent for Oracles of Delphi, I have to admit I am more than a little intrigued by the idea of getting a bunch of writers together to “curate” our own work and publish it under the TWC imprint.
The rapidly changing technology enabling POD and eBooks, along with the changes in attitude toward self-publishing makes forging a “middle way” in curated group publishing very exciting. Call it a writer-owned/controlled imprint or cooperative self-publishing or Hogarth Press revisited or whatever…
Often, when people find out that I’m both a publisher and a writer and that I’m actively looking for an agent for my own work, they ask, “Why don’t you publish your own work?” And I answer, it’s not that simple. Yes, since publishing two books through Blank Slate Press (and editing many others as a subcontractor/editor) and working closely with a talented book designer, I know how to get a book “out there.” (I am in the market for a really, really, really good proofreader, though, because I su*k at doing the final copy/proofing and the last one I hired, while admittedly much better than I am, still missed typos that shouldn’t have been missed.) But, I love the success we’ve had with our first two Blank Slate Press authors (Fred Venturini and Anene Tressler) and we’re so excited about our next author (to be revealed soon!) that I want to keep BSP “pure” so to speak…no work by any of the BSP principals will be published through BSP itself.
So, that leaves the divergent paths of either self-publishing or continuing the work of trying to get an agent. Right now, I’m focused on the agent path…but I’ve got so many other things going on and there are so many new publishing possibilities that working hard to get an agent’s attention–and waiting, waiting, waiting for a response–might get real frustrating real fast.
Anyway, somehow I got off topic … which is exactly my problem! Gah! Too many things going on! And yet, after all this interesting discussion about writing and publishing, I must sign off and get back to the electricity industry–which pays the rent. But, before I go, I’m interested in finding out how you balance it all? How do you prioritize your work? How do you keep yourself sane in the face of competing interests and demands so that the energy of your mind allows you to fulfill rather than impede the essence of your life?