“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?

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.