Steve’s Update 9/12/2021

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Two giveaways are in progress!

A School of Many Futures’s cover is done and the ebook is being formatted. It’s mostly ready, but I want to do some cleanup and make sure the copy is “clean” from the ODT. I’m 80% sure I’ll be launching it this week.

“The Agile Writer’s Mindset” is something I am not thinking about. I want to get the book out. More and more I think this might be fun to write by doing zoom meetings with some of my readers!

The Way With Worlds series is – yep – not something I think about until next week or so.

The Seventh Sanctum rewrite is still chugging along. I cleaned up and reviewed the code, but have to make some design decisions on speed versus a more maintainable environment. The last three generators I held off on reveal both some useful code changes, but also some questions. In the end, I think I’m going for maintainable – which means creating some more generator options “behind the scenes” as it were. Long-term it’s worth it, but it means undoing some shortcuts.

Steven Savage

Old Writer Meet New Writer

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

“Put it down for a while” is advice often given to writers. Tired of your story, then take a break. Done editing, then take a break. The virtuous idea is that if you’re frustrated, tired, or just did a lot of writing, a break lets you return with fresh energy and fresh eyes.

I am a believer, if a hypocritical one, in taking a break as a writer. But as food for thought, let me suggest a break does not just give you fresh eyes – it gives you new ones.

When you finish a project or a writing setting, your mind is awhirl. Letting yourself take a break lets the lessons sink into your mind. Your break is a time of change.

When you finish a project or a writing session and take a break, your mind does other things besides writing. In that time, you take new stimuli, new ideas, new inspirations. Your break is a time of taking in other things.

When you finish a project or a writing session, a break is a chance to see a project differently. Stray ideas and unstructured contemplation let you gain new viewpoints. Your break is a time to gain new insights.

The work does not change when you take a break – but you do.  The person who returns to work after an hour or a day or a week off is literally someone else.

This viewpoint provides more than a way to discuss the nature of impermanence. It’s a reminder that sometimes you need to stop writing and rest to become the person that can continue your work. If you are tired, uninspired, etc., you may not just be in a bad state – you may be the wrong person for the job. A rest from writing is a chance to become the you that can go on.

So next time you’re tired of writing, frustrated, or just exhausted, just rest. The person you are has done their job; the person you will be can take over next. Give them space to arrive.

Steven Savage

On Popular Things

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

A discussion that I and my fellow authors seem to have again and again is “is it worth time reading or watching really popular things?” This is not snobbery, but more a question about using our limited time. Maybe something popular is so analyzed and discussed we don’t think there’d be any value in seeing it or reading it. Perhaps we want to find the less known and bring it to light. Maybe we’re tired of good but overexposed franchises

There are legitimate reasons to ask “do I care about this popular thing?”

As I noted before, you can overdo worrying about “am I consuming the right media.” There are reasons to take a chance on popular media.

First, you may like it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying something popular, no matter how many people tell you your nose isn’t turned up enough. To try to dislike things you like is to turn your back on the rest of yourself.

Even if your enjoyment is minor, you may also desire the social connections. You may be “into” a film series or TV enough that you can enjoy discussing it with others. Humans are inherently social beings, and media consumption is part of it. Don’t indulge in something you don’t like, but I think it’s understandable to “give it a try as everyone else is.”

If you are unsure if something popular is worth your time, then why not try it? You can always drop it after reading a few chapters or watching an episode. It is OK to quit.

Finally, no matter why you partake in popular media you will have useful reactions – as I’ve noted, your insights on any media are uniquely yours. You may learn a valuable lesson, even if that lession is I hate this stuff. Each encounter with media – rare or common – is a learning experience.

Remember, your experience of a media is unique, even if it is “I will never touch this dreck again.”

Steven Savage