Good News – You’re Not Worth It!

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

Many creatives spend time bashing themselves. They’re angry they’re not doing more work. They’re enraged their writing isn’t better. They worry they’re not making enough at their supposedly “fun” calling.

No one can be crueler to a creative than themselves. Creatives know their weaknesses and have the imagination to find new ways to harangue themselves.

I’d lay odds you do the same thing to yourself.

Normally I’d advise compassion for oneself, in the vein of Pema Chödrön and similar philosophers. Much to my surprise, such self-care doesn’t fly with everyone. Some people invested in hating themselves as a twisted version of responsibility.

To those trapped in self-loathing creativity, let me suggest another tact.  You’re not worth hating.

Are you blessed with a great destiny that you’ve failed to reach? If you were failing your great mandated fate, maybe you’d be worth some anger. But you’re just a person, so why waste time hating on yourself?

Are you a person of fantastic talent unmatched in history, a skill that will define the future of all humanity? It’d be nice, but in reality, you’re someone trying to do the best they can and trying to grow. So if you fail now and then, it’s just being human, so why burn cycles despising yourself?

Are your works epics that the world has to experience lest it is forever impoverished? Probably not; you’re just another person trying to do what they like and contribute. Epics are declared such in hindsight. So since you’re not supposed to make The Greatest Work Ever, are you worth your own contempt?

Guess what?  You’re not worth your own hatred! You’re just a person, just like me, your friends, and so on. You’re not worth the time you take to be angry at yourself.

So let’s all go forward, we legion of screw-ups, weirdoes, and flawed humans. Let’s stop wasting time hating ourselves. If anything, wasting time hating ourselves is another one of our mistakes.

Maybe then we can find some compassion for ourselves when we’re not busy being disappointed in who we are.

Steven Savage

Steve’s Update 11/21/2021

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

Whew, another busy week. But a lot getting done.

Consider some of these future plans a little tentative. During the Christmas holiday I want to really re-evaluate my plans for the next few years.

The Way With Worlds series: I got the cover done, and now it’s just waiting on my editor. Shout-out to the friend who helped me A/B test the art. You’ll get to see the cover in my newsletter 😉

A School of Many Futures: Marketing is going slow, and I’m really going to hold off until after the holiday.

“The Agile Writer’s Mindset” and other Agile books: Still planning to start these next year.

Other Stuff: I do have two nearly done possible books made from old columns, some quite rewritten, I may want to put out. I’ll evaluate them in December.

The Seventh Sanctum rewrite: I’ve sorted out a few bugs with the deployment, but there is a strange directory issue I want to work out first. As for deployment, I think I have it down to a science, AND I think I sorted out a way to do more effective and safe versioning for easy delivery (and easy reversal). So once I address that odd bug, then it’s time to start converting generators – and then address two remaining pains.

Steven Savage

Run Deep Not Shallow

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

My friend Serdar tweeted thusly:

“speculation: nostalgia for 8/16-bit gaming / computing is nostalgia for an era of dedicated devices and focused time, an era when you could sit down to write or play sth and not have 200 tabs assault you sidelong”

As I retrogame, I had to think this statement over. I came away with the conclusion Serdar wasn’t right in the whole, because there are many reasons. But he was right in the small as, on review, I saw this in myself and others.

Echoing memories of a simpler time.

This reminded me of an exercise I had done to evaluate my life and career. Often replaying my choices, I took a walk for an hour and worked backward through my life, looking at my major life choices. I had many deep insights during my stroll, but at times I remembered life before internet-driven complications.

How much of my time today was really mine?

I finally found a way to express this when I discussed social media with a communication professional. They noted the research required to go into a good strategy these days and how easy it was to be distracted. I summed up their conversation as “what are the deep patterns?” that mattered to what they had to say.

We are distracted by so much that professionals have to keep developing counter-distraction approaches.

Thus we come full circle to what stuck in my head due to Serdar’s Tweet. So much of today’s mega media always-online culture of constant chatter was a distraction from “deep patterns” of life. Like powerful currents running beneath a body of water, those are important, not the sparkly ever-changing reflections on the surface.

The deep patterns, the powerful currents we need to navigate, steer, and control, are easy to miss in an age of 200 tabs and constant scandal-chat. It often feels like there’s more of everything, but what matters is a shrinking percentage of the whole vying for our attention.

How many times have you wanted to scream but does any of this matter?  Admit it, it’s a non-zero number.

For me, I’m glad I have experience and interest in meditation, philosophy, and psychology. Some Taoist abdominal breathing or pithy Buddhist quotes help bring me enough awareness of the distractions I face. But sometimes, it’d be nice to just not have 200 tabs, ten text messages, and email piling up.

It’d be nice to just focus on a good game.

Steven Savage