Just discovered: the crowd funding scene

childrensbookacademySo, what rock have I been living under? I’ve just discovered the crowd funding scene and, truthfully, I don’t quite know what to make of it.

Crowd funding came to my attention by way of Children’s Book Academy. They are offering a class. (Follow the link below for info.) This is a site I like, though I don’t really like the middle-man approach to creativity. Truth is, I take a class on this-and-that, now-and-then. For the most part, however, I view middle-men as unnecessary adjuncts–more or less those who are trying to make a living off the aspirations of others.

Funny that, because I DO agree that others have a lot to offer, and that time and knowledge are worth something. It’s just that I have learned in my long life that, more often than not, people offering workshops, classes, and self-help books are mostly accumulating information that can quite easily be found elsewhere, it mostly isn’t their own, and they mostly aren’t successful using it in their own life.

Are there exceptions? Of course. Is this workshop one of them? Who am I to say. $329 is a lot of money for this, in my opinion.

For myself, I tend to spend my money on books, not workshops; I prefer to do my own research if it’s out there; but I LOVE to sit at the feet of people I admire and soak up whatever it is they have to offer in the way of wisdom.

I spent last night and into the wee hours of this morning researching crowd funding. It’s not difficult to understand.

I suppose if over $300,000 can be raised in a very short time to get someone a (well-deserved) car, crowd funding is not something to sneeze about. It’s worth investigating if, like me, you haven’t considered it.

But if I were to enroll in a Children’s Book Academy class offering it would more likely be this one: http://jeanettebradley.com/childrens-book-academy/and not the crowd funding course.


M L S Baisch


Colleen McCullough – Masters of Rome

Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough

Believe it or not, I’ve done it!

Finished reading the entire Colleen McCullough Man in Rome series. I can’t find an actual word count for the series, but using one book as representative, the series is approximately 2 million words.

It was FASCINATING! Fictional, but also truly historical, with a plethora of information from the correct Latin pronunciations, superb vocabulary (read it with a pencil, paper, and dictionary), a grounding in ancient history for that part of the world, and knowledge of historic characters that jump right off the page.

I think McCullough must have communed with the dead every night when she put her head on the pillow.

M L S Baisch

[See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masters_of_Rome ]

One of the secrets of productivity is to have a VERY BIG wastebasket

creativityI’ve found an interesting book–not a new one–by Mihaly Csiksznentmihalyi titled Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. From the foreward, a quote: “To learn anything you must pay attention . . . and attention is a limited resource.” One more quote–this one by Drucker–also from the foreward: “One of the secrets of productivity (in which I believe whereas I do not believe in creativity) is to have a VERY BIG wastebasket to take care of all invitations . . . productivity consists of NOT DOING anything that helps the work of other people but to spend all one’s time on the work the Good Lord has fitted one to do, and to do it well.”

There’s a lot of good reading in this book. I came to it–not entirely serendipitously as I have an abiding interest in the psychology of motivation and creativity–as I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a writer these days, where there is so much being written for commercial consumption and, really, for no other reason. It’s an 8-5 job for some: a business. And, like a business, writing is becoming a team endeavor. I resist that notion.

In truth, I like to think we write for ourselves first. It’s about the work. Hopefully the work is good. But what “good” is can be measured by many criteria. Conversely, I suppose, it may be that what we write just plain isn’t any good based on any criteria. Is that really important? My personal suspicion is that anyone who continually sits down to write one’s own ideas in one’s own words is a writer–it is too painful to do it for fun. Although writing has its rewards, they are not of the sort that anyone but a writer would consider worthwhile.

Writing is about self-expression far more than it is about marketing, selling, commercial trends, best-sellers . . . Writers create a legacy in words–at least that’s my idea and intention. If one’s work begins to reflect the combined effort of a group then, like anything created by a committee, it gets dumbed down, becomes compromised, loses something.

I’m making a case for writing the old-fashioned way. Can you imagine Jane Austen sending her manuscript off to a beta-reader for editorial comments? Shakespeare? More recently, people like Tennessee Williams, James Joyce . . . After all, the writer comes to the page with idiosyncratic ideas, vocabulary, style . . . if those things are lacking, there is a big problem. And, when those things are present, there will always be people who disagree, want something changed–in short, who won’t see the vision. Want to usurp the original vision and recreate it as their own.

English can be taught. Writing, especially creative writing, can be workshop-ed but taught? Not really. In the past, writers often created their own presses because there was no other way to get published. One could argue that that is exactly what ePublishing is today. There are similarities, but there are certainly differences as well.

What has happened in the arts, especially in the literary arts, is that middlemen have stuffed layers of themselves between the artist and the consumer, and they serve more as a lure for the hopeful than as an adjunct to the artist.

It is easy to get lost in the busy, busy world, filled with electronic gadgets and busy schedules. All any of us really have in life to offer is ourselves. It’s important to keep in mind that’s what writing is all about: self-expression.

M L S Baisch