athenaLast week’s guest on All Access Radio was Athena, CEO and Founder of BlissQuest Publishing, and author of Pillars of Dawn and Murder of Crows. As you know, I work with creative people who have big visions and Athena’s vision is certainly no exception. At the cornerstone is her company BlissQuest, which she founded after receiving multiple market-based rejections from traditional publishers for her book, Murder of Crows. By self-publishing she gained more control over her work, and more royalties in her pocket, and she hasn’t looked back since. Fair trade is her passion and a large focus of BlissQuest –which is a publishing house in concept and will be the first ever anywhere to offer healthcare benefits and retirement planning to artists and writers — including a 50/50 royalty split. Her vision is for artists and authors to have the ability to focus on their creative work full-time without the financial burden of worrying about having to take care of healthcare and retirement. Athena asks the question, “What would that do to our society as a whole? Would there be an influx of creativity & innovation?” I say yes!!

Athena’s perfect world would include a global collective of art, science, math, and music; all the elements that make up our cultural systems. Imagine the power of this collective when collaborating together to solve world problems such as hunger and racism. BlissQuest is the first step in creating a forum for this collective.

One comment Athena made really stands out for me: “If you are a creative, then it is your responsibility to create.”

I could not agree more, but the reality is creatives often need practical work (day jobs) to get by, and creative work often takes a back seat. Balancing the two can be very challenging. In our interview Athena shares how understanding her priorities, and what her bottom line is, has helped her work through the inevitable conflicts between choosing practical or creative and not have to sacrifice one for the other.

I love that Athena subscribes to, in her words, “living a life of adventure, rich in friends and family, with a spicy dose of chaos. To stay creative you need to stand at the edge of your creative limits. A little chaos can shake you out of your comfort zone. And it doesn’t have to be PeeWee’s Big Adventure to mix it up –Athena takes advantage of life’s little adventures as they arise, such as taking a 20-minute plane ride in a WWII bomber that helped her write a book chapter. Actively look for daily opportunities to be spontaneous and to take advantage of small adventures as they arise – it can light up your spirit.

Athena’s vision is incredibly important, and near and dear to my heart. I encourage you to listen to the full interview as we discussed so much more than I can write about in this post: the art of story-telling, how important it is to our culture, this emerging business model, her books and what Athena is up to next!

~Kelli

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