Steve’s Update 6/20/2021

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

So where are my projects?

Giveaways are going good. Score my resume book and other helpful ones here!

The Way With Worlds series next book is OUT! Go get it here!

A School of Many Futures feedback is in, and I’m on editing sweep one! I’m focused on one author’s feedback right now, and when I finish EOW, I go to the next round of feedback. I’d normally combine them, but I kinda got on a roll. Based on what I’ve seen I’m reasonably positive I’ll be on deadline.

The Seventh Sanctum rewrite looks good. I’ve tweaked various pages, and with that done, it’s back to converting oddball generators.

Steven Savage

Draw The Line On Deadlines

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

When I meet with writers, “Deadlines” are in the top ten topics of discussion. Who has one, who missed one, who needs one, why we have them this time.  When we have to be done takes up a lot of space in the minds of writers.

I realized this Dominance of the Deadline odd as it’s not directly about writing.

As I talk with my fellow writers, the stress of deadlines comes up all the time. An editor may inflict a deadline, an author may choose one, but most writers worry about them. While wrestling with this worry, I noticed how much fear of deadlines slows writing.

You can’t write well when you’re panicked.

Now, let me voice a blasphemy – Deadlines can be a bad idea for some writers or some projects.

A shocking statement, but let me turn (inevitably) to Agile approaches. Agile teaches us to evaluate the value of things – a project, a task, a tool. You should ask if a deadline you have brings any value – it may not.

A deadline may be very valuable. For example, if you’re trying to meet an ideal release date for a marketing campaign, the deadline matters.  But you may need to give up on other things of lesser value. If one book needs to hit a deadline, set aside that side project or drop that indulgent appendix.

A deadline may be valuable but not critical.  A deadline could be helpful but not vital – meaning maybe you don’t take it as seriously. If you want to get a book done by a given month to start another, well, a slight change won’t matter. As important as a deadline is, maybe quality or free time matter more.

A deadline may be a bad idea.  Hersey? Perhaps, but maybe some of your deadlines do nothing but cause pain. Maybe you drop a deadline on a “for fun” project or acknowledge the unknown. Hey, you can always add a deadline later.

A deadline is a choice, even if your choice is “I’m gonna fail to deliver this book.

I would also add we often use deadlines as substitutes for other things. We use a deadline to force discipline, but maybe a daily writing exercise is better for us. A deadline may help us hit an ideal time for marketing – but perhaps a different advertising campaign is a better idea.

Evaluate the value of your deadlines as a writer – and as a person. I’d suggest you do it soon, but only if that deadline is valuable.

Steven Savage

The Obligation of Writing

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

Lately, I’ve come to realize just how much of writing involves social obligations:

  • We join writer’s groups for support and are obligated to participate and help.
  • We pre-read for others, and in turn, they are obligated to pre-read for us.
  • We have to juggle obligations with our editors, artists, and so on.
  • We obligate ourselves to speak at conventions – then wonder how we signed up to do three panels (says the author who’s done that).

I’m sure you’ve had your own experiences of “writer’s obligations.” I’m also sure, like me, you may ask “why didn’t anyone tell us how much of writing is social obligations?” For too many writers, no one prepares us for the sheer social weight writing can carry.

For myself, I’m slowly learning to give myself space when it comes to the social demands of writing. I cannot participate in every writing group activity – or I won’t have time to write. I make time for when my fellow writers need help – while appreciating my own limits. It’s a work in progress.

I hope you can show yourself some compassion too.

But we also must remind our fellow writers that the social obligations of writing can overburden them. We can listen to them and gently remind them of their limits. We can carefully warn them when they are in danger of being overloaded. We can accept them as people who can’t do everything.

Maybe they’ll show themselves some compassion.

I’m still figuring where to go with this realization. I’d like to make it more than just a blog post. Perhaps there are discussions to be had in writer’s groups or a panel to do at a convention.

As long as I don’t get over-obligated . . .

Steven Savage