If you wish to be a writer, write.*
~Epictetus (AD 55 – AD 135)

For at least 2,000 years, the best advice for aspiring writers was to just do it. Just write. Write every day. Like any other habit or exercise, the writer who writes daily will get better at his/her craft. And the writer who reads incessantly–and who reads great writers–will inevitably internalize what looks right on the page and learn what sounds right to the ear.

We all know we should write every day. The problem is not the want of writing, but making the time for writing (and/or blogging, tweeting, editing, marketing, promoting, working the day job, eating, sleeping, exercising)…. As I start looking over a long-neglected manuscript and filling in the outline for my next Aithera novel, I have to keep Epictetus’s advice in mind and know that if I want to be a writer, I must write. Period. No excuses.

* Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher who was born into slavery in Hierapolis, Phrygia which is present day Pamukkale, Turkey. He lived much of his life in Rome as a slave for a wealthy freedman (former slave) and secretary of Nero. His owner apparently encouraged his studies and eventually he gained his freedom and began to teach philosophy. Sometime around 93 AD, the Emperor Domitian banished all philosophers from Rome and, ultimately, from Italy. Epictetus left Rome and founded his own philosophical school in Nicopolis in Epirus, Greece. He believed philosophy is not merely a theoretical discipline to be studied, but a way of life to be lived.

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By words, the mind is winged.
– Aristophanes (446 BC – ca. 386 BC)

I started my first blog in 2007 as a sort of online journal in which I recorded my thoughts and reactions to current events, book reviews, some poetry (mostly bad), and song lyrics which, along with their basic chord patterns, were all less than good and all sounded like the same knock-off quasi-political protest songs I grew up with in the 1960s-1970s. Over time the blog grew more political and less about books and writing. After the 2008 election, I was exhausted and the blog fizzled out.

But now that I’m attempting to become a published author, I keep hearing that I should have a blog to promote my work. After all, that’s what I told my own authors. As a co-founder of Blank Slate Press, a small press devoted to discovering, nurturing, publishing and promoting new voices from the greater St. Louis area, I urged our debut authors (Fred Venturini and Anene Tressler) to not only blog, but to get Twitter accounts (@fredventurini and @AneneWrites – please follow them!) and to use them to connect to others in the writing community and to potential readers. So, it is seems only fair that I should take my own advice.

The problem is that, GAH!, I don’t want to add one more thing to my plate. I’m already behind at the Blank Slate Press blog and I’ve got manuscripts to read and edit, marketing for my authors, and I’ve got two novels of my own in progress. So…I’ve come up with a partial solution.

While I may blog here about writing, reading, publishing, and marketing, my main focus is going to be on Ancient Greece. I’ll include what I think are fascinating tidbits about the culture, the people, the myths, the wars, and whatever else about Greece that strikes my fancy. But most of all, I’ll be posting quotes and/or passages from the works of many of the greatest thinkers in the history of civilization. My aim will be to post quotes and passages that inspire, provoke or that serve as “food for thought.” So welcome, return often, and, above all, remember that “By words, the mind is winged.” So, let’s take flight together.