Growing up I tried to learn how to juggle. I didn’t buy any books or take lessons, and there was no YouTube to turn to. (Yes – I’m that old!) I didn’t get very far (probably for obvious reasons). I used tennis balls and just sort of mimicked what I saw from watching jugglers on television or how I pictured in my head you should do it. I never could get the hang of the thing. I would start tossing balls and inevitably (and quite quickly) a ball would go too high or too far away from where it was supposed to go, and they’d all fall into a bouncing pile. The best that I could do was to toss a single ball in the air and catch it. It was at this point (after one or two attempts) that I would get frustrated then go and tramp through the woods around my house, play basketball, or build Legos. Given all of that, it’s more than a bit ironic how I must (metaphorically) juggle so many things these days. I have so many different balls in the air that at times it is hard to keep track of them all.
I work a full-time job. It’s not a bad job, and I (mostly) enjoy my work and my co-workers, but if given the chance to quit and work only on my passion, I would. Unfortunately, I don’t earn enough as a writer (yet) to quit my job, and I’m pragmatic enough to know that my job is what pays the bills, keeps a roof over our heads, and food on the table. (My wife also works, so I’m not the sole breadwinner in the family. And no, she doesn’t earn enough to let me work full-time as a writer. Besides, my job is the main source of financing for the publishing company. Which gets us to…)
I’m a partner and the senior editor (plus accountant, marketer, web designer, social media specialist, book designer, etc.) for our publishing company – Artemesia Publishing. I oversee all our publishing projects (including the books that Coy and I have published) from start to finish. Artemesia Publishing has been around for 16 years now and we’ve published over 30 books from over 16 different authors. I love this job and would love to earn enough from publishing to do it full time, but for now, while sales continue to improve, we’re not quite there yet. But I still love doing it and happily work the weekends and nights to get books published.
I’m a writer, with three published, and one forthcoming, novels, co-written with my best friend, Coy. We are working on the draft of our fifth novel (the third book in the Saul Imbierowicz trilogy). And we have a lot of other projects too. I have several short stories that I write and try to sell, and Coy and I have so many ideas waiting to be worked on that I know we won’t be lacking for ideas for a while. I write when I can, in between publishing projects for Artemesia, and in the spare time I can find. (Usually while my son is at taekwondo practice.)
I’m a book reviewer, book promoter (in my own small way) and part time editor for other projects, usually involving indie authors. I review every book that I read, posting my reviews on Goodreads and at Library Thing. When I write reviews for books published by indie authors, I will also post the review here on the blog. I’ve started doing interviews as well to help promote indie authors. I have two interviews to date with more planned. I also volunteer my time as an editor for SciFi Lampoon magazine, working with a few other like-minded (i.e. a bit crazy) authors and editors to get funny sci-fi and fantasy stories out into the world.
On top of these things I’m also a husband and a father, taking the time to do things with my wife and son. Family activities, trips, and supporting them both in their own pursuits. (Which usually involves taking my son to taekwondo or scouts.)
For somebody who could never juggle a few tennis balls (and I still can’t) it amazes me how many things I have been able to metaphorically juggle in my life. And you know what – I’m pretty darn good at it. I’m energized and excited by the things that I do. I enjoy all the work and I don’t mind the long nights and weekends it takes to keep it all from crashing to the ground. I love the projects, the challenges, and the people I meet and work with – whether at my day job, as a publisher, as a writer, promoting other writers, or with my family.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Is there some great take-away that you, fair reader, can glean from this? Something that will allow you to improve your life, handle more work or challenges you are facing? Probably not. This wasn’t intended to be a self-help post, or a list of ways you can do more in your own world. I know people that take on a lot more than I do, or who have different priorities, and I know people who would be totally overwhelmed if they tried to do what I do. We are all individuals, and we each need to find out how many balls we can juggle. We all have the capability to juggle the things in our lives, even if it’s just tossing a single ball at a time.