Building a Storyboard Part 1

Building a Storyboard Part 1

I finally ordered the parts I need to complete my storyboard. I’ll do a video on storyboarding in the near future, but I can’t even begin to express how stoked I am to have a permanent storyboard.

I haven’t had a real spread in over a decade, and all the boards I’ve used since were temporary, often in very small spaces or locations I couldn’t freely put up all the notes because I was in a shared space. I’ve used walls covered in butcher paper for many years, now I finally have a room with a big enough wall to build the board out, make it the colors I want, and map the full arc of this series in one location. I got the first layers of paint on yesterday then just sat, staring and grinning.

Since making the choice to jump both feet and no net I’ve been able to enjoy some of the things I’ve always wanted to do as a writer for my craft and continuous learning. It’s silly, but I struggled to justify some of these needs while I was working full time for others because those immediate demands and unnecessary dramas superseded my energy.

So, why a storyboard?

Storyboarding is a visual and easy way to see the points and rhythm, the chain of collapsing events, and the pacing in your novel. (It’s a project management tool to help stay timely, organized, and story relevant) Not everyone needs a visual, but I find it incredibly helpful to monitoring pacing, reveals, snags, and hitch points. It’s a method that works for me. It helps me stay in tune with my theme so I don’t wander off track, and offers a place to collect visual elements for atmosphere and story details.

Now that my series is breaking into a wider scope, essentially, all hell is breaking loose and the character list is tripling, the conflicts are escalating and the pacing is erratic as I jump from Muse to Muse in the story: a storyboard is imperative for my work to continue without something getting lost in the shuffle of notes.

One or two books with temporary boards has worked, but now I have several storylines, several locations, and multiple arcs that need to pace in a way they weave in and out of each other with a story-logic pattern. As much as I like to think I can do a lot in my head, now that I have the space, I shouldn’t have to keep it in my head. I can let it stretch out, and breathe.

Even as I painted the wall yesterday, I began to think…maybe two walls?

It’s a work in progress, a gift to my craft after the Sinnet of Dragons launch, and a promise to keep working, keep writing, keep building. This storyboard has been made possible by donations from my Patrons. Thank you, Patrons, for giving me a tool I need to keep working!

Here’s the before picture. More to come when everything is completed.

Storyboard wall before.

In progress storyboard.

Riesling Sangria Recipe

Riesling Sangria Recipe

Riesling Sangria

  • One bottle of sweet Riesling ( I used St. Chappelle’s Special Harvest)

  • ½ cup Kirsch

  • 1 cup ginger ale

  • 1 cup strawberries

  • 1 cup chopped mango

  1. Combine your ingredients in a pitcher and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

  2. Serve and enjoy!

Mid-June Update 2017

Mid-June Update 2017

Sinnet of Dragons launched June 1st, 2017. It’s been on the shelf for a couple of weeks and I’m already through the first third of the next book. I’m hoping to have Scold of Jays completed for beta by September, and full round edits by December.

The first two weeks on the Amazon charts SOD climbed halfway up the ranking, which isn’t bad for such a small marketing budget. I’ll keep pushing it and hope more reviews help boost sales and get some notice.

The Sinnet of Dragons official launch party at Another Read Through was a tremendous success! Many familiar faces turned up for the reading and launch. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude I feel for so much support and encouragement. I spoke for a while about creativity and the impetus for the series, The Pillars of Dawn. To my delight, there were many questions about creativity in general and several great conversations after the reading about the need for more creativity in our world. I drove home from Portland with a ridiculous smile I just couldn’t shed.

Along the same note, my first Creativity Boosting Session was more successful than I anticipated. With eight exercises, and three new recipes to promote, I have finally narrowed down the activities and most useful tools to start putting on the workshop and teaching circuit.

Another success this month was the seasonal launch of the Tillamook Farmer’s Market. Every other week I’ll be sharing a booth with MB Botanicals at the market. This last weekend was our first setup. I sold out of Sinnet of Dragons stock, and had only a couple of Murder of Crows left. The greatest surprise of the day was a visit from two people who seemed familiar who saw the signs and came over to tell me they’d read Murder of Crows and they loved it. They wanted a copy of Sinnet. When I asked who I should sign the book to, it turned out to be a couple I met five years earlier. They remembered that several years earlier I was considering giving up on writing altogether, and said they were happy I decided to continue.

I’m pretty sure I blushed and stammered, “Actually, I just quit my full-time job to become a full-time writer.” How things have changed in five years.

In other news: in the last few weeks I’ve been preparing the next rounds of deliverables for my patrons. This month I posted the recipes for Sangria; Blue Cheese Bacon Mac & Cheese; and Bruschetta. As well as a woodburning video of the first project I made as I start learning a new medium for a larger mural.

I’m working on uploading the articles and creative content for this month related to process, and still working on the first audio chapter for Sinnet of Dragons. And since we’re only $164 away from the next milestone on Patreon, I’ve begun putting the packages together so I ship them out as soon as we reach the $500 mark on my site. To bump us along further, please join here! (Become a patron and get rewards, project ideas, early book news, and other goodies!)

Aside from being in a fabulous creative zone these last few weeks, I’ve been exploring more of the forest around my house, enjoying the first garden I’ve had in several years, and spending time near the water. Here are a few photos of my exploration. I don’t mind admitting that on my hunt for wild mushrooms, I discovered a patch of salmonberries, and squealed with happiness!  It seems early for salmonberries, and I didn’t even know they grew in the area. So delighted!

I keep waiting for the panic to strike, for the fear of having made such a wild leap to keep me up at night. But seven weeks into the creative life adventure and I’m still happy, excited, and full of energy. Sometimes I crawl into bed wiped out from a day of projects, but I can’t stop grinning. Which is likely one of the best signs that it was simply time.

Here’s to a lovely summer writing, building projects, setting up workshops, exploring, and cooking. I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer.

Your monthly creativity exercise, should you choose to accept it:

Write a thank you note to your younger self. Make it fancy! Pick a nice paper or card, and write out your gratitude to a younger you. Five years younger, or ten years younger, what kudos would you give yourself?

Creativity Boosting Workshop Success!

Creativity Boosting Workshop Success!

The kickoff for the Creativity Boosting workshop series was a tremendous success! I had a small tester class, and we made it through all the exercises for beginner boosting, and creative invigoration.

I’ll check back with the students in a week or so to see what worked the best for them, and if they were able to get a charge from the exercises. The exercises with the most potential will become the core workshop pieces for my series that I’ll be offering around the coast and in Portland.

The best part about it for me was probably the week of cooking and testing recipes prior. The menu included food and drinks throughout the day, and I wanted at least one dish to have an unusual flavor and ingredient that we could talk about while discussing diversity of sensory cataloging and lexicons, and how we can break out of patterned production ruts.

The resulting recipe is available for my patrons: Blue Cheese & Bacon Macaroni & Cheese. If you’d like the recipe, please consider becoming a monthly patron! More recipes, articles and projects posted regularly for folks on my feed.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to what I hope is a long stretch of creative coaching. Getting back in I felt a little rusty, it’s been about ten years since I coached and taught, but it felt good to be getting back in the saddle.

Here’s to many more! Monthly immersion day workshops will be available starting next month. Stay tuned for more information.

Happy Book Release Day!!

Happy Book Release Day!!

I drove to town to make sure all the digital sales released on schedule, and the print orders shipped on time.

It’s official! Sinnet of Dragons is in reader hands! Now I can pass out. Nothing like a launch prep to run you ragged and strain all the zen right from your sanity.

I believe this deserves a toast! 

Pre-Launch Jitters

Pre-Launch Jitters

It’s the day before launch, and I couldn’t sleep last night. I suspect this will get easier with more books, but three down and I’m still a nervous flutter bug before the big day. There’s a lot riding on this one. It’s an unfair pressure to put on a little book, but it’s there.

Timing and circumstances being what they are, it’s a struggle not to stress. I’ve been trying to distract myself with workshop planning, cleaning, and some quality Netflix, but it’s not holding my attention tight enough. I keep getting up to futz or putter around in the garden or, well, mostly in non-productive circles. Then I have some wine and chew my lip.

I’m making more trips to town to keep my marketing plans on schedule, and stay on top of the changes I need to make the branding shifts. My inbox is full and I’m behind on correspondence, likely won’t get caught up until after the launch party.

I remember this space from previous launches. It is what it is. Could use a pedicure and a deep tissue massage followed by a glass of scotch on the deck, actually. I’ll get on that.

Tomorrow five years of waiting and work hits the shelf. Five years of thinking I should just give it up, find an easier path than writing. Five years of self-doubt, frustration with the dream, hope of a better outcome, etc. The roller-coaster. Five years of working maddening corporate gigs to pay for living and publishing expenses.

It’s a relief to have Sinnet of Dragons off my desk. A relief that it’s now in the hands of readers and the public.

I guess the best medicine for the pre-launch jitters and the inevitable post-launch slump is to get busy on the next one. Time to pour a drink, celebrate, then get back to work.

A Painter, Poet, and Writer Walk into a Turkish Rug Shop

A Painter, Poet, and Writer Walk into a Turkish Rug Shop

Saturday afternoon I sat with Thomas Goodwin the painter, and Julius Jortner, the poet. Thomas’s art is dynamic, full of movement, mystery and intrigue. Julius’s poetry is full of longing, celebration, loss and emotional resonance.

Thomas hosts regular artist conversations and gatherings in his studio in Cloverdale, which is soon to be a Turkish rug shop, and I’ve found myself there on a couple of occasions. His couches overlook the river, and he plies with good company, pressing coffee or drinks into hands and asking deep questions about craft and meaning to get the conversation ball rolling.

We chatted easily about the why of character and motivations, then shifted into talk about the Muses and inspiration.

“I don’t own the paintings,” he said with an easy smile. “They just come through me.” He went on to say that there are painting out there, in the ether as it were, just looking for an artist.

I resonated. We talked about how I don’t really feel like I own anything once it leaves my desk. I got to have the experience of creating it, but once it leaves my hands it has a life of its own. As I writer, I was just the layover for that piece of work to stop, materialize and then move onward. Just passing through on its way to wherever it was headed. It does change me in the experience, though. It’s satisfying.

We spoke about compromise, the gigs we take to get paid. We spoke about the translucent, ephemeral feelings of creation. The vulnerability of being open to receiving inspiration.

Julius spoke about the stages of poetry and the amalgamation of learning, perspective and finding meaning in the aging process to connect with his work. His words chosen carefully, deliberately.

We passed around pretzels and spoke about the misconceptions of the publishing world, what publishers are saying to artists and audience about gender disparity and why it’s dangerous to authors and readers. I told them how I’d turned down publishing contracts and representation contracts because I refused to re-write my book from a male point of view, or take a gender-neutral pen name. Publisher’s claims being, “Men won’t read books written by women.”

They were surprised the publishing world has made these claims, and I was surprised they were surprised. We agreed the paradigm needs to shift somehow.

We moved to conversations about female voices. The topic of erotica came up. I told them about my other author name, and collection of erotica works.

“How do you define erotica?” Tom asked.

“For mer personally, everything can be erotic. Sensory experience, tension, release. It can be a great night of sex, or just a conversation with a stranger. It can be a really good mango, or an emotional experience.”

Tom said, “I think it has a lot to do with vulnerability.”

“For sure!” I agreed.

We talked about the vulnerability of erotica, and I realized vulnerability and release are interwind in the erotica concept for me…but also into the creation process.

Rounding full circle to the creative process; vulnerable, full of tension and release, expressive, emotional, and if it’s done right…satisfying.

The Nestucca River shimmered outside the window and I was grateful to have the company of artists, to speak the language, and be near the hearts of creatives for the afternoon. It was a much needed confirmation.

YA and Adult Content in the Same Series

YA and Adult Content in the Same Series

Sinnet of Dragons is set to launch next week.

Sinnet of Dragons is written for a young adult audience. It’s the prequel to Murder of Crows; book one in the Pillars of Dawn series.

There’s a distinctive voice and content difference between the YA prequel and the rest of the series. Why?

I could blame it all on my Write Club buddy, Loey, as writing a young adult novel was her idea, but the truth is I had gotten so much feedback from young readers after Murder of Crows that it made want to write something they could begin with, that would allow them to grow into more adult content in the Pillars of Dawn series.

To be even more transparent, I received so much hate mail from parents who hadn’t vetted their children’s’ kindle downloads for Murder of Crows that I realized; I needed to make an effort to reach the younger readers prior to the opening of the series. Then they could choose to continue the series or not as they were able to select their own content.

 

 

 

Sinnet of Dragons, the prequel to the Pillars of Dawn series is YA content friendly

 

The Pillars of Dawn series is as follows and contains adult content: 

Murder of Crows, book one

Scold of Jays, book two

More books to come.

I considered a lot of feedback and advice from writers of the YA genre, and readers. I also listened to a lot of advice and feedback from parents, writers, storytellers, and the target demographic of 12 to 18 years of age.

Lots of ideas were thrown around about how best to communicate the age and content acceptability; many even suggested a universal grading mark such as those used on video games and movies. It breaks my heart that we’ve come to that too-easy metric of content value.

My personal feelings as a writer and storyteller are very much influenced by the fact that I had to escape from a strict religious upbringing in order to gain a better scope and understanding of human diversity, general acceptance, and freedom. Movies were rated, thus controlled in my home. But books were not rated, so I had free license to read anything I wished.

It was this freedom of story, of the discovery of my world through books that allowed the universal questions burning me alive with curiosity to be answered. There was no YA genre designation when I was a kid, so I read everything. Biographies, world religions, fiction, philosophy, history, sci-fi, fantasy, and so on.

But I unashamedly admit the discovery of love and the questions of what happens to my developing body weren’t answered until I began reading harlequin romance, and high drama books like, Flowers in the Attic.  I had no other way to access information about my body, and teen challenges, but for the bounty of the library system. I certainly wasn’t going to get information from my mother or people in my community with a vested interest in keeping me “young” or “innocent” but mostly ignorant.

Hamstrung, as I used to say. Intentionally lamed so I couldn’t race.

Because I wasn’t limited in book content, my imagination was never limited, and my curiosity only grew stronger. When I found a book I wanted but couldn’t get at the school library because it was on a banned list or otherwise unreachable, my school librarian would order it to the city library for me to pick up. If they couldn’t get it, she would personally find a copy of the book and loan it to me from her home library. Several of my teachers also loaned me books I couldn’t get on my own. And I even once begged my sister into buying a book I needed and saw in the window at the airport bookstore, promising to pay her back. I don’t think I ever did pay her back, actually. But I knew once I left her care and went back home to Alaska, I wouldn’t have easy access to that book again.

I began to see my teachers and librarians as the only people who were genuinely invested in my growth and development. The gatekeepers to unlimited knowledge that had otherwise been consistently withheld from me because of my mother’s religion or my society’s idea of a one size fits all age acceptability. I thought of it as their idea of lazy socially acceptable conditioning.

I digress.

Anyway, it was my access to books on Latin that gave me interest in designing language. Access to books like The Egyptian Book of the Dead, that sparked interest in rituals designating cultural transition points. This prompted a curiosity for fictional world building right about the time I stumbled onto Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. And so on and so forth. Books led to more books, which led to discoveries, which led to development.

It’s easy to see the immense importance books had in my writing and creative career in the unlimited access to reading material.

The debate at my publishing group got very heated one weekend as we were discussing my reluctance to enter the YA ring. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into an age bracket.

It got pretty interesting when I approached the question about what makes YA content YA specifically. The industry (large publishing houses and market) designates YA as lead characters of juvenile age in coming of age story or adventure.

But several YA authors in my small publishing club insist it’s content with no sex, or swear words.

Well, hell. I’m out then.

But wait. Other YA writers said sex and swearing are important to the juvenile audience reading to understand and connect with their world. Yes! Agreed.

Then the final split came when two YA authors who are also women in their forties who consistently read YA said they write and read YA to re-live the childhoods they didn’t get to have.

So YA as a genre designation means different things to different people. Because it’s not a unified expectation, there’s room for me to maneuver as a storyteller.

Funnily enough, violent content never surfaced as part of the argument. In the typical American double standard, violence is widely acceptable content, but sex and swearing is not. Perpetuating the social make war not love standard that we know and live with today. (IE: Hunger Games physical violence, and Twilight emotional violence.)

Ultimately, I had to make a storytelling judgement call. I couldn’t find very many references of a content designation split in a series, or body of work. Most notably the only real reference I could find for such a split was J.R.R. Tolkien and the separation of the Hobbit (young adult) to Lord of the Rings (Adult). After the argument at the publishing group, and lots of discussions with parents, readers, and kids. I went back to my writing desk, ripped out half of the Sinnet of Dragons chapters and started over with a different intent.

My intent was to make a prequel that anyone could read. It’s YA safe, according the basic standards (no sex as the story didn’t actually support it, and only a couple of swear words well placed), but does contain violence. It’s got the typical YA tropes, and crutches, but supports the story for the beginning of the whole Pillars of Dawn series.

It is meant to be a peace offering, a kickoff to the bigger story. A book that’s easily vetted by parents, and YA readers.

Will it be boring for readers who picked up Murder of Crows first? I hope not. I hope it’s still engaging for readers who found Murder of Crows first. If nothing else, the origin and backstory are available for reference in Sinnet of Dragons as the series continues.

If you have any questions of comments about the content of Sinnet of Dragons, please feel free to contact me via the comments below, or directly through the webform on this page. I’m happy to talk about the decision to separate the content and give it a label designation. I realize it’s not for every author and I’d be glad to have a conversation about it.

Thank you for considering Sinnet of Dragons and the Pillars of Dawn series for your reading list! I look forward to the feedback!

Week Four Checking In

Week Four Checking In

We’re going into week four of an independent creator’s life. So far, the noticeable things are how often people pause to comment how happy I look, or that they’ve never seen me so vibrant.

While this is a great bit of encouragement, it’s also a depressing commentary on the last five years of my life. Alas.

That being said, I’ll take the good news and keep on doing what I’m doing. Projects are stacked up. Ideas are flowing. I’m eating and drinking like a merry lunatic, cooking up a storm of fresh spring foods and new recipes.

The garden is halfway done. The wildlife around the house is abundant and entertaining. I think I’m starting to make friends with the racoon, finally. There’s a family of deer who cross the river by the well a few times a week, so I put up garden lights to I could see them a little better in the evening when they’re passing over the island.

I’ve been scoping out a design for the deck, a wood burning pattern with gradient stain. It should fit in the summer improvement budget since I’m doing the work myself.

But what I suspect everyone is most curious about is, am I writing? Yes. I took down my storyboard for Scold of Jays in order to put up a permanent one and make a video on how to build a storyboard (includes series arcing and worldbuilding). Digging into the chapters for Scold of Jays so close to the release for Sinnet of Dragons is keeping the story fresh and energetic. For the most part, while the writing itself comes along in fits and starts, the development is unstoppable. I’m developing while I’m driving, cooking, or working in the garden.

I’m not sure what it’s like for other writers working on series with multiple characters, worlds, arcs, and plots, but it’s a bit of a mind job keeping all the threads from tangling, so I’m immensely grateful to be able to focus on the story right now.

I’ve booked a teaching gig at the Manzanita Library branch on July 6th, a creativity boosting workshop for artists. And I’m booking creativity sessions throughout the summer on weekends at my house. More on that to come.

Sinnet of Dragons launches in a week. It’s such a huge relief to have it out in the world and off my desk. I can’t wait to start watching where and how far Sinnet of Dragons goes. One of the coolest parts of watching the Murder of Crows movement was watching which countries it popped up in, and how far it traveled. From Russia to Australia, and Japan, France, UK, and so on – it was a blast watching where it surfaced. Like traveling vicariously through the story.

All in all, I’m still not where I’d like to be in terms of progress, but for being a few weeks into the new shift, I’m not disappointed in where I’m at for the moment.

Cheers!

For more recipes, projects, and creative work, pop over to my Patron page!

Click on the Mango Salsa to go to the recipe.

Resist the Darkness

Resist the Darkness

Transcript to ‘Resist the Darkness’ by Athena

This is the transcript to my resist the darkness speech. Please feel free to remake it in your own image, with your own voice. If you’re resisting, if you’re standing up against the darkness, please feel free to take what you need, to spin it, tag it back to this place… and keep fighting the good fight. Keep creating. Keep imagining. Keep supporting your neighbors, and community.

We are the light.

 

Resist the Darkness by Athena

Now, more than ever we need to support art, free thought, and human diversity. We need to promote science, mathematics, history, technology, and innovation. We need to promote human rights, diversity, and inclusion.

In an early first volley, our national leadership has targeted the freedom to release scientific discoveries and data. There are active attempts to use “alternate fact” in place of evidence and to write history in a manner of propaganda rather than reality. There’s are active attempts to close down publicly funded art programs, and arts in education. There are persistent attempts to dehumanize, divide, and conquer.

Why is it important to resist these attempts to subvert human rights, intellect, and creativity?

Because in these areas, Science, Math, Art, Technology, History and so on, they are the pillars of human societal evolution. They are the progressive map of who we are and what we’ve striven for throughout history in order to achieve a more abundant and dimensional quality of life.

We use these inspirational tools to understand ourselves as people, to understand our neighbors, and the human experience. We use these tools to quantify reality, make sense of matter, and to justify the mysteries of the Universe beyond what we can measure, or articulate, and reason.

We use these inspirations to query reality, sometimes we discover answers and sometimes only deeper questions, but the outcome is a work of art, a dance, a line of poetry or a beautiful mathematical proof. These answers can come in the form of theorem, music, a technological leap in communication, or even a play. We, as a human race are immeasurably enriched by the search and the discovery of these Universal questions and resulting expressions.

I am resisting the idea that art should be defunded, because art/ entertainment and exploration are fundamental to human emotional process and expression.

I am resisting restrictions and censorship of scientific data sharing, because we, as the human race, deserve to know the discoveries of our Universe and our world, the depth of its need, the scope of its possibility, and the edges of its continuous mystery.

I am resisting the attempts to hamstring education, history and technology. I’m resisting the attempts to divert my attention to war, and fear, and hate – by remembering this fundamental truth, that all the inspirational tools of our human mastery, all the creative and scientific innovations and wonder of our human capacity bely the very nature of war, fear, and hate.

Inspiration is the antithesis to bigotry. The inspirations are the countermeasure to emotional and mental terrorism.

Inspiration is light.

Resist the darkness.

 

Mid-May Update

Mid-May Update

I scored on some delicious mangoes, and couldn’t decide on one recipes. So I made a few!

This month it’s all about the mangoes on my patreon recipes.

I could’ve made more recipes, too, if I hadn’t eaten half a flat of mangoes in the raw.

Two weeks into the pursuit of the dream I’m noticing some significant changes in my mind and body. Healthier thoughts, happier moods, more consistent physical rewards to becoming generally more balanced. Better energy, more endurance. It’s been a noticeable change. My creative surges are spiking up and have yet to level out, but I suspect that will come in time when I’m more confident of the long-term security. When a creative crash follows, it’s draining, yet the recovery time is shorter each session; I feel like the equalization isn’t far off.

It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to equalize the creative surges, years actually. It feels like it’s on track, though.

It’s hard to tell sometimes if all these changes could have occurred while still in the circumstances that felt so limiting and toxic, but it’s a moot point. This change obviously needed to happen.

The first two weeks have primarily been prioritizing. With a sudden surge of energy and time, there’s a backlog of projects, research, and ideas to get to, plus what’s already been in the queue. The first order of business has been to try to schedule out the projects and ideas with the most potential in order to use time, and funds to best advantage.

Also in this timeframe has been the need to establish some rhythm. A schedule in and out of town, times that are best for creative work, maintenance, and socializing.

I finished an article on maximizing creativity, and posted my classes and workshop offerings.

 

Beyond the new schedule and list of priorities to make this dream a reality, I’m finding lots of wonderful curiosities and wonders out here in the woods to fill in the down spaces.

A bald eagle has been making regular stops in my little clearing, sitting in the tree on the island. A racoon has made a habit of trekking daily to the offering bowl out by the water, and making a point to look back at me while I’m on the deck, drinking my coffee, as if to say, “Don’t mind me, I’m just here to burgal your shit.” I’m fairly certain it’s the same racoon I chased into the woods in my skivvies in the middle of the night as he was making off with my vent cap.

I also had the great privilege of witnessing thousands of small birds at dusk one evening. I thought they were swifts, but they may have been swallows. Thousands of tiny birds darting through the clearing, spiraling up above the tree line, dancing through the sky. It reminded me of the Chapman swifts, but they didn’t assemble to nest, rather, they spent a half hour in the sky and moved west. They disappeared and I sat on the deck with my mouth open. I don’t know if it was a migration, or a mating swarm, but it was beautiful and spontaneous. My dreams that night were rich with bird imagery and flight.

And this photo is of one of the many hummingbirds that’s been driving the cat wild from behind the window. The little guy posts up on the feeder, then drinks for a while, then posts up again. The cat sits in the windowsill for hours, chirping at the bird.

For this mid-month update, I can also let you know I’ll be uploading the pre-order digital template for Sinnet of Dragons on Wednesday. Wooohooo!! Patrons should watch their inboxes for the digital file. If you don’t have it by Friday, check your spam folder, or shoot me an email.

The print version of the book is still being tweaked, but it’s coming along for ARC copies and test prints. Whew! It’s almost here!!

Last but not least, here’s the creative boosting exercise for this mid-month letter.

  • Choose your favorite summer fruit or vegetable
  • Make a list of three recipes that use that particular food.
  • Pick one recipe to create for the fun of it BUT choose one of the following ingredients to experiment with in your recipe:
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Liquid smoke
  • Thai basil
  • Peanut sauce
  • Rose water

 

Please feel free to comment in with your successes and failures on the experiment! What made you choose the recipe and experiment that you did? Would you make it again?

The next creative boosting exercise will be a writing prompt. Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful May! I’ll be checking in soon with more updates and news!

5 Ways to Maximize Creative Productivity

5 Ways to Maximize Creative Productivity

Whether you’re a full time creative, working a day job, or running a household, maximizing your creative productivity means you get the most output from your creative efforts. Let’s be honest, output shouldn’t be the sole defining point of doing creative work, but in a world that defines value based on output metrics…there’s a constant pressure to produce, to show earning potential.

These points are not to help show earning potential. They are simply to help creatives get the most out of their efforts. Earning potential will come, eventually, but first find ways to elevate energy, simulate creative flow, and harness the creative power. What you do with it once you’re channeling it regularly is up to you!

Work with your power cycles, not against your natural rhythms.

This may seem trivial, but to an artist trying to make a living, it’s critical. Knowing your most productive times each day and prioritizing those windows means maximizing your output, and not burning out.

For example; my most creative times are 10AM to Noon, 2PM to 4PM, and 8PM to 2AM. The spaces in between those windows are not useless, if I’m on a good roll, I can write from 10AM to 10PM and only get up for bathroom breaks, generally forgetting to eat if I’m really deep in a chapter.

However, that’s a quick road to burnout… avoid burnout if possible.

While scheduling and building a rhythm, I try to slot day to day maintenance and upkeep in those spaces around creative power points. Get up from the computer, get the blood moving, clean the house, garden, do lunches and social time, etc.

This is part of building process, or as creative say, building sacred spaces to keep the distractions out.

I have a whole series on creative process in the queue that I’ll post later, but the point is this. Building a sacred space for channeling creativity isn’t always a physical location. It’s not always a room, or an office, or a meditation spot in the woods. Sometimes a safe space, is just sacred time.

Sacred time = the creative’s holy grail.

Sure, you do need a safe space to work, but that includes uninterrupted time. No phone, no bills, no visitors, and –don’t shoot the messenger—no internet. I know, I know. Facebook is interesting, but it’s also a huge creative time sink. If you want safe space/time…ditch the connections to the information superhighway a couple of hours at a time.

I can’t even begin to catalog the number of times I was on a good creative roll, and stopped to take a breath, check my email, Facebook, etc. then fell down a wikipedia rabbit hole for three hours and lost the creative surge. It was a totally preventable sidetrack, that could have waited until my two-hour writing space was done.

Once I made the commitment to be focused, I started keeping a notebook list of things to look up on the internet AFTER my creative window closed. My chapter needs the symptoms of arsenic poisoning –look it up after. My character needs a date from events twenty years ago—look it up later. My arc needs a historical reference—look it up later.

Save these notes for looking up online later, during the maintenance and upkeep windows. I mark my works in progress with an (x) to come back to. I just keep on writing (x) and know I’ll fill in the blank later. Better that than risk the wonderful and never ending internet sinkhole.

Shuffle creative mediums to keep energy moving.

This isn’t for everyone, but I know I need it for my own personal productivity; diverse creative stimuli. I like to work with several mediums; writing, photography, papercraft, cooking, sculpting, etc. This is my way of keeping creative energy moving through the channel.

When writing gets sticky, characters and chapters slow down to an ebb or trickle—move to a different medium to create.

Design a recipe. Build a scrap album. Take the camera out for a walk. Sculpt. Garden.

These creative outlets take the focus off my sticking point and place it somewhere else while keeping energy moving through, preventing stagnation on one problem or in one area of creative focus. It also helps pump up the energy in your creative reserve for use later.

If I hit a wall completely with a character, story problem, etc., I write it down, set it next to my computer or on my storyboard. Then I go do something entirely unrelated to storytelling or writing. When the focus is removed from the rub, and creative energy still flows through the channel in another form, sculpting, photography or something else—it tends to bump the question loose and creative solutions rise to the surface.

This is why I don’t believe in writer’s block, the boogeyman. (Posts and classes on the boogeyman coming soon.)

The important part is to not dig at the problem, just keep creativity flowing through the channel, and the answer to the problem will wash through with everything else.

Use inspiration when you’ve got it, but don’t sit around waiting for it to strike.

I made this mistake a lot when I was first starting out. I thought I had to wait for the muse to bless me, the stars to align, the weather to be perfect, my coffee the correct temperature, etc.

I know a lot of people who say they only write when they’re inspired. It works for some folks. They’re often the same folks who constantly complain “why am I not getting published?” “I don’t have anything to show for this week’s work?”

I also know people who only create when they’re sad, depressed, or in a strong emotional state. It makes sense, art is cathartic. Some people are only driven to create when they don’t know how to process their emotions otherwise. Again, it works for some people.

Emotional energy is creative energy.

I didn’t start making my writing targets and word counts until I began believing that the muse is always present. Creative energy is always accessible. I just have to sit down with the intention of tapping in, and get to work. Some days are inspired work, and other, just work. Yet my output increased and the body of work surfacing allowed more to pick and choose from in terms of what to keep and continue to improve, and what to write off as practice. I began thinking of it as the more I practiced inviting the muse in, the more frequently the inspiration came when I sat down to work.

I realized then that saying I can only be creative when the muse inspires me is like saying I can only love my partner if he’s looking right at me and telling me I’m fabulous. That’s not how love works, and it’s certainly not how inspiration works.

Inspiration doesn’t have to be looking at you, telling you you’re pretty, for creative energy to be present.

The importance of doing nothing.

It’s counter intuitive to the concept of maximizing productivity, but doing nothing is incredibly important to the creative process. Some of the most prolific and creative people in history scheduled daily naps. No joke.

Daydreaming, zoning out, a Netflix binge, staring into space, surfing Pinterest, star gazing, a day on the couch with a book or two, going for a drive. Lollygagging, loitering in the park, or as my fellows say, futzing around.

Why is this important to maximizing productivity? Recovery.

This tool, doing nothing, is the hardest tool to learn, work with—especially if you’re a driven, busy, or ambitious creative.

Over the years I’ve learned that when a nothing hits me to just go with it until I become restless and itchy with the need to be productive. It’s hard. Especially when I’ve got deadlines, places to be, projects stacked in the queue. The to do list blinks like neon in the back of my brain until I learn to shut it down, and be empty for a few moments.

I think of it as the creative’s oil change, right? When you’re at Jiffy Lube, your car is doing nothing. You can’t go anywhere. Old oil is being drained out, a new filter placed in the engine, and fresh lubricant poured back in. Not only is it necessary to the longevity of your engine, it improves your gas mileage and efficiency.

A silly comparison, but accurate.

When your done doing nothing, you’re more rested, refreshed, and mentally/emotionally geared up to take on more creative effort. Problems are easier to solve, solutions manifest easier, and you can take a pen to that neon to-do list with more vigor.

Nothing time can be scheduled or used as it comes in an organic way. It’s difficult to coach this one to a population of busy, grab and go on the run folks, but it’s one of the best tools out there to keep a creative fresh, and all it costs is a little time.

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Live Your Story – Then Tell It

Live Your Story – Then Tell It

I went to lovely Manzanita, Oregon for a writer’s workshop this weekend. How to Tell Your Personal Story was taught by Gideon For-Mukwai, author of The Science of Story Selling.

Gideon was friendly and warm, a natural storyteller in front of an audience. He engaged with the group by recalling how he was caught in Florida during a category four hurricane, and the chaos that ensued. The series of events that triggered a powerful learning moment and disruption in his life.

The he asked the group to write down their “hurricane moments”. Those events that change the shape of your personal story.

I wrote down the obvious ones (husband of nearly a decade says he never loved me / doctor says, “you have a tumor”, etc.), the big injuries that altered my path or set me in a new direction. But as Gideon was going around the room asking what people had written, one of the first women to speak up talked about her missing daughter’s re-discovered bones.

Silence filled the space. The sound of emotional suffocation in a room of people unprepared to experience a stranger’s catastrophic loss.

There’s always someone in a writer’s workshop who’s present to learn how to write about these events, the “hurricane moments”, to find healing through the language and story processing of deep emotional injury, loss, or fear. That’s fundamentally what story is, medicine of processing the human experience. And since you rarely know who the most injured in the room are, or how far along their healing journey they may be, it’s a sticky situation as a teacher and presenter when the story comes out of them, and unsettles the energy of the entire room. My heart went out to her, and to Gideon who was then on the hook to help her find a new security in her sudden vulnerability.

Gideon handled the weighty moment beautifully, not pushing her to speak when she wasn’t ready, but encouraging her to consider the story for telling later when healing has occurred. Well done!

I realized the room, like myself, had probably written down their more tragic events, losses, fears, and I didn’t want to add to the already sad energy that was developing, so I quickly changed my answer when called on, to add humor and levity—because “hurricane moments” as Gideon was describing them, were not always point of transformation built from something coming out of left field to take you by surprise—sometimes it’s the punchline of what you set yourself up for, the risk you took, the failure, the success, the leap.

I told the story of how I answered an ad on Craigslist for a ghostwriter, believing I could write someone else’s book for them on weekends for extra cash for school and legal fees. Then when I got the gig, and I asked who the client was, the hiring editor was confused, “Seattle”.

“The client is in Seattle?” I wondered.

“The ghosts you’re researching are in Seattle,” she said.

And it dawned a little too late, oh….ghost….writer. As in writing about ghosts. Crap.

When she asked if I had a problem with ghosts, I quickly scrambled through recovery with “Nope. No problem. I love ghosts. Ghosts are awesome.”

The miscommunication led to my first book contract and a rabbit hole of chaotic adventures as I tried desperately to figure out how to research ghosts in Seattle whilst not giving away the fact that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Could I have written a better book if I’d been better prepared? Totally. But that’s not the point.

The point is, that moment set off the chain of collapsing events that landed me right where I am today. The “hurricane moment” was situational. It wasn’t tragic, but it was transformational. I was too afraid to give up a chance at publication, too afraid not to take the call to adventure, too afraid not to risk the opportunity—to admit I’d misunderstood the advertisement for a ghostwriter / ghost writer.

Sometimes the best learning curves come from our own risks, peppered with hubris and ignorance. I can’t say for many others what it’s like for them in the story world, but it seems some of my best adventures, and hurricane moments happened because there was a risk involved.

The blindsiding lessons, the left field curve balls will always happen in life. It’s inevitable. But the risks we take intentionally, the stories we choose to engage with, are just as powerful and transformative as the ones we don’t see coming.

I thought about it on the drive home, processing all the times I’ve taken a flying leap from a place of stable comfort to stretch a horizon or grab at a shiny new idea. How many of those attempts resulted in temporary chaos, a small hurricane in my life? Most of them, actually. Very few of those attempts can I claim turned out in my favor from a financial point of view, or a “success” criteria. Rarely can I say the risk was completely worth it, the goal was rarely achieved.

But I almost always got something infinitely better…a good story.

One of the things I like to ask as an ice breaker in group events is, “What would the title of your memoir be?”

It asks people to condense their personal story into a pitchable title. Sometimes when I start with that opening, the moments that define that person’s journey rise to the surface easier. There have been some pretty amazing stories around dinner tables, and cocktail counters from that question. Everyone’s got a story, because we are the sum of our experiences. We are all survivors of something. We’re all champions of something. We’re all adventurers of something.

Gideon’s workshop reminded me, at this new hurricane point in my life wherein I quit my job and I’m making a hard push for the dream—I’ve risked and lost before, and it all still turns out okay somehow, eventually. His workshop reminded me that I need to be living in the story, the moment, the experience…because when this phase of chaos and disruption settles and the smoke clears; I’m still a storyteller, and I’m going to be telling this story to someone, someday.

I’ll take really good notes, I promise!

For more information on Gideo For-mukwai, please check out his author site here: Storywarrior.us

Figuring Out the Rhythm

Figuring Out the Rhythm

I’m still figuring out the rhythms of my creative cycle, and independent creative life.

So far it looks like too much coffee, lots of art supplies and crowded storyboards. And that all sound pretty good so far. Lots of planning and building to do still, but one week in, and I couldn’t be happier!

 

Diving into Creativity Full Time

Diving into Creativity Full Time

 

The study of creativity is fascinating and incomplete. It’s such a misunderstood force. The data supporting creativity is unquantifiable, conflicting. How do you apply a metric to something that’s not fully understood?

Albert Einstein was a huge supporter of creativity and imagination. Some of my favorite quotes about creativity come from his long career in fields that begin in theory just outside the known/ understood world of science. He was able to imagine to an unknown point, then connect that point to a tangible reference with scientific concept. Some would say he guessed, then made science support the answer—I say, he used intuitive leaps, and innovative hypothesis to take a creative risk, then reverse engineered a data bridge back to a scientific anchor.

These concepts of how intuitive design and science work in tandem are also supported in Amit Goswami’s book, Quantum Creativity.

To show just how little we as a species knows or understands creativity, I’ll point out that the standard IQ test has not a single creative question on it. Our current socially acceptable grading tool of intelligence is missing all metrics pertaining to creativity – though creativity is in fact a force of intelligence. (It should also be noted it’s missing all emotional intelligence questions) We measure linear thought processes, pattern recognition, reasoning capability, deductive, qualitative, and quantitative methodologies and execution – but not intuitive leaps, cognitive spherical patterns, innovative capacity, and this is a really important one-possible the most important—CURIOSITY.

Yes, curiosity is a form of intelligence, and a fundamental building block of creativity.

But how do you measure curiosity? How do you define a metric of intuitive leaps?

To be completely blunt, thank god the world at large has not figured out how to adequately label creativity, or box it into a value system like they have with the IQ test, which is a fairly lame and unreliable metric. As a society, we have become dependent on labels. We consistently use labels as an inclusion or exclusion sorting tool; which defies the very nature of creativity.

Creativity exists in the medium of possibility.

Since creativity energy thrives on the imagination; what if, maybe, could be, might, etc. The quantum state of all possibilities existing at once—the creative then chooses a point of focus and the possibilities redefine as a path, a potential answer to test and speculate upon. (Think particle/wave theory as reference)

It’s difficult to think, imagine, or be creative in a framework of societal labels of inclusion or exclusion alone. So it’s fortunate we haven’t put a definable metric to creativity lest we stuff it into the same pigeon hole as the IQ test, thereby amputating all quantum ideas outside that small reference space.

Where is all this going?

After twenty years of research on creativity, creative method, creative coaching and so on, I’m still only seeing the tip of the iceberg. I never get bored of the study, it’s always evolving, growing, transforming. I love it. The thrill is in the build. What can I imagine? What can I create? How far can I reach beyond what I think I understand?

With that in mind, I believe I need to start actively living the creative life full time, and reporting on it, championing the process, and providing transparency and visibility to what it looks like to live as a fulltime creative.

There are ups and downs to the creative process. I’ll show it all. I’ll report on the tricks and hacks to boost your creative vigor, and maintain energy thought the dark spells when answers and imagination seem to dry up (hint: it never actually dries up, it just feels and looks that way, it just goes underground for a reboot). I’ll offer videos and podcasts and workbooks on how to tune into possibility, and project videos on how to spread creative energy around a bunch of different mediums to keep the juices flowing if a block or resistance occurs in one area—jump to a different one.

My interest in creativity and the creative force is traceable back to childhood, but it wasn’t until I began researching quantum theory that it really took off and began making sense. I went through the Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way Series in my early twenties to start breaking off the label blocks and pulling off the barriers of inclusion or exclusion. To this day, I recommend Julia Cameron’s work on creativity to anyone struggling with blockages related to shame or fear. If a creative can identify shame as a reason for blockage, pick up The Artist’s Way, and prepare to go deep.

Then I dug into Joseph Campbell’s body of work. The Hero’s Journey all the way through his papers and up to his interview with PBS, which was filmed at Skywalker Ranch. I think it’s fair to say Joseph Campbell’s work on story structure, creativity, and myth were the most impactful studies in my career.

Somewhere in that window of time, I was also madly curious about the way other cultures defined or used creativity as a tool in their daily functions. Strangely, as I set about digging, it was the Mayan culture that really sucked my imagination into the ways they used story as an educational prop for relating time, and the temporal measurements of the universe in their rendition of the Mayan Calendar. That level of astronomy was as scientifically and mathematically accurate as our modern atomic clock—it was also taught to the Mayan population through story, and imagery. It was a way of expressing a large concept to a broad population that nearly everyone could comprehend. So brilliant.

Also in that time frame, I wrote the first draft of Murder of Crows. It would have been early 2001 or so. It was a terrible draft, and the ideas were all over the place. It lacked cohesion and focus. It would be seven years later before I’d pull it out of the closet, and try again.

Still the idea was born early on that I wanted to portray the story of creativity. I wanted to write about the Muses and explore the raw potentiality of the innovative force. A treatise, as it were, on the value of creative energy in societal evolution, humanity, and progress.

Back to the misunderstood nature of creativity. My hypothesis is this: Creativity is defined and measured only by your imagination. There is no other metric. The creative is the only one who can define the edges of their own creative potential.

And on that note, as I set out to live a more artful, creative life, I will put my efforts into imagining, envisioning greater possibilities, leaping farther out, building quantum bridges, and adventuring in unknown.  (Is that the Indiana Jones Theme song I hear?)

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An Easy Choice

An Easy Choice

Last Friday at 3:19, I committed to my future as a full time independent artist. By 3:20 I was walking away from my final corporate job. I took my hair out of the bun as I walked to the Jeep, and wore a ridiculous grin all the way home. By ridiculous, I mean, a shit-eating ear-to-ear smile that hurt my face.

I haven’t felt so much instant relief in ages.

It’s been a long time coming. I told myself I’d dabble in corporate for no more than ten years, study the matrix, and then move on when I had a solid opportunity to be a paid creative. That was October 17th, 2007; almost the full ten years. (Ten years of corporate research captured in an upcoming book due out next year, more news to come on that.)

I recently found myself at a decision point that made me realize I was giving too much away to the corporate world, not just in terms of dignity and free thought, but in creative energy. The deal I made early on was that I would walk away from any situation that took more from me energetically than it provided monetarily, because the point of any gig was to pay my bills so I could be creative.

If that exchange interfered with my creativity—the imbalance wasn’t worth the personal loss to my creative potential, and I would try to prioritize my dream path first, as often as humanly possible.

I also realized that if I were to utilize even half the creative force for myself that I was expending on navigating unnecessary melodrama and mismanagement at my day job—I’d be a freakin’ rock star on my chosen path.

As of 3:21 Friday afternoon. That life is over and the new one gets a kickoff gift.

I was given a loan to start publishing full time. It’s a loan and I have to pay it back, but it’s the beginning of a solid investment in the new BlissQuest Publishing, LLC.

The loan will cover my living expenses for the first six months while I write, publish, build platform, fundraise, and teach. It will provide capital for equipment, projects, and marketing (small scale), and give me time to work on a larger funding reach for BQP, (we’ll try a few more angel investment channels, and grants) and time to work on the next two books in my series.

If, at the end of six months I’m not self-supporting, well, then I’ll come up with a new plan. It’s a generous gift, and at a time when I dearly needed the option to re-focus. There aren’t very many opportunities to leap with a net, even a small one, so I decided to take it while I’m still young enough to recover. Risk is always relative to what you’ll lose, and letting go of this last job was less risky to my psyche and confidence than holding onto it. Risk negated.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m in the middle of a controlled dive. Took the leap, now I’ve got to figure it out mid-air. Some planning was in the works for really digging into Patreon as a platform building tool and reaching greater audience to invest in project build and content support. I’m starting with a remodel of the Patreon and crowdsourcing base for Phase 1. Phase 1 is about self-sustaining, and laying groundwork for future infrastructure. I’ll breakdown Phase 2-4 on the Patreon site.

Increased Patreon content will hopefully snag interest by numbers, which allows us to spread a wider reach and form new audience. I’m looking forward to the random creative productions to capture interest of Patreons who will be investing in the weekly creative content, but supporting the long-term development of BQP.

It’s a lot of re-thinking, re-configuring and energy in a short time frame. But I’m looking forward to the creative push, the energy surge and the freedom of an open independent future. There is no model like BQP in the world. It simple doesn’t exist, and I’ve got butterflies in my stomach when I realize I’m free to put my full effort into it for the next six months.

This is it, folks, the chance we’ve been waiting for. Buckle up! Things are about to get really exciting!!

Taking Some Time to Center

Taking Some Time to Center

We’re midway through the month and I’m setting off to the cottage in the woods for a week of PTO to get some writing in. I need to sit by the water, read, get through the edits on the first third of Scold of Jays, and make the digital corrections for the layout galleys for Sinnet of Dragons.

It’s been an exhausting few months, well, year. But the last few months in particular. I’m looking forward to quiet writing, and creative time to re-boot and re-center.

Next week I hand the galleys back to the designer, and we’re one step closer to launch!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

A Humble Plea for Support

A Humble Plea for Support

State of my Union Address & Humble Plea for Support

So, I’m a scant seven weeks away from a new book launch, and a few conversations away from losing my full-time employment (by their choice or mine, is still undetermined). Discussions for both events have been in the works for weeks; both with my private publishing efforts, and my work HR department –though neither of the two are remotely connected.

Both finales have been a long time coming.

I now understand, I can’t do them both anymore–it’s time to choose the publishing life, or to let it go, and accept life in the box.

I am currently on disciplinary suspension, while I figure out which option will be my future.

It’s one or the other.

It’s time to choose. To dream or not to dream. The future of a creative and innovative force, or the future in a standardized corporate matrix.

I’ve been granted a day off work, and the weekend to decide, and will have to report my decision to my employer on Monday morning.

I know what I want, but I don’t know yet, if I’m allowed to have it. This is me asking the Universe, and you, what the answer will be.

 

So I’m here to ask for help deciding. Is there a future in publishing for someone like me? A creative life, that’s supportable?

With your support, I can build a new focus. 

It’s time to refocus. It’s time to put my energy into a more productive full-time outlet. I know I can be successful—as an entrepreneur, as a creative, as an innovator.

Why? Because I fundamentally believe creativity energy is a powerful, constantly flowing renewable resource. Because the thrill of the build is what drives me. Because innovation isn’t a passing phrase in my world…innovation is breath. It’s survival.

Because I believe the human resource, and business ethics are fundamental inter-dependencies to true success.

Because I’m not afraid to try, or to fail. Failing will happen, so will success. But failure will happen more often than success by sheer statistical odds. Prepare for it, don’t fear failure or it will own you.

Because I believe leadership is not just a buzzword to pad resumes—it’s dedication to your team. It’s efforting and risking on their behalf, doing what needs to be done to keep them safe, healthy, inspired.

Because I know the difference between an ego burn, and a challenge to my logic. I know how to tell when it’s personal—and when someone is trying to save me from myself.

They say you’ll never change the world, if you try to fit into it.

I’m not the right shape for the standard corporate hierarchy. I’m made of something else, and that’s okay. Maybe I’m made to fit a different structure and it’s time to find out how and where.

But what to do with that?

People ask me regularly, how can you write, AND work a full-time job?

The truth is, because I love writing so much. I love story like I love sunlight on a winter’s day. I love the challenge and the study of cultivating creativity, an ever-fresh puzzle of logistics and problem solving. It invigorates me.

I love it. How many people can say they’re truly doing what they love?

As Sinnet of Dragons nears release I’ve been torn, frustrated with the slowness of getting it finished and to shelves. Frustrated that I could have moved faster, and with more precision, creativity and quality – if I hadn’t split myself between worlds.

When corporate work is good, clock in and clock out and no drama, it’s not a drain. It’s just a job. But when it’s dysfunctional, melodramatic, unfair and toxic—it’s a creative workout to make it through a day without losing my mind, much less sit down for three hours every night to build.

The time has come that I can’t do them both anymore, for reasons that I’m obviously a better fit as an entrepreneur, and because it’s time to devote myself fully to creative writing and publishing and social change without watering it down or dividing my energy.

This is where I ask for help.

I can’t make this step without you. I’m not at the stage where I can leap into building this empire without financial support.

If you believe I have the ambition to innovate in the world of story, literature, and cultural dynamics, I ask humbly for your financial assistance.

Patreon will accept monthly donations on my behalf here. 

Paypal will accept one-time donations on my behalf here

If you believe I’ll use that support for the best possible good I can achieve with it, I ask for your endorsement of my efforts. Please leave a comment below!

If you know me, and my ethics, and my drive, desires, and plans to alter the way we think of artists, and fair trade, and humanities in general – I humbly ask you to leave me a voucher of good faith for my character. A comment in the section about my abilities, or what you know about my devotion to making a difference.

If you know of my tenacity, willingness to hard work, and fierce protectiveness of my teams; I implore you to mention it as a trait that will support this endeavor’s success. Do you know me? Do you believe I can do this? I need your letters of recommendation in comments below.

In the end, the changes we make would be ours. The art we’d make would be shared, the social commentary, cultural dynamics, and impact would be done together.

This is me, holding my hand out, asking you and the Universe to support new ideas, stories, fair trade business concepts, and change.

With time and funding, I would be able to:

  • Finish my series of ten books about the Muses, strong female characters rich in diversity and creative inspiration.
  • Finish publishing my works on The Failures of Corporate Models, and the Death of Innovation. I’ve been collecting data and research on the topic for the last ten years.
  • Finish my workbooks for publication on Revving Creative Energy, and How to Maintain Creative Boundaries While Working a Corporate Gig.
  • Purchase and publish articles from artists, writers, and creators.
  • Promote and endorse new artists, producers, products, and concepts.
  • Produce workshops online and in person for creativity boosting, world building, business innovation, content strategy, and publishing.
  • Maintain a regular blog, resurrect theblissquest.com
  • Host creativity studies and research
  • Research and participate with the creative and literary communities around the world, hosting conversations and discussions toward unifying and driving change through science, art, and humanities.
  • Consistently, publicly report out the successes and failures of all attempts.
  • AND ONE DAY: launch the fair trade publishing model, with healthcare and equal royalties for artists.

If you believe I have all that and more in me, please donate. If you believe I can take a big enough bite out of this list and then some—please pass my information along to others who may be interested in donating.

If you really want to put some icing on the cake, and help me stomp the patriarchy, demolish toxic averages, and tackle some social change, leave me an endorsement that you know me, or believe in this early beginning…then let’s do it together.

I’m asking for this gift from you, a loan on good faith, that I will do my very best to pay it forward in the above listed methods.

Thank you in advance for your positive thoughts, shares, likes, and financial support. I’m looking forward to building a new, creative world with you.

My sincere gratitude and thanks,

Athena

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