The Assurance of the Unknown

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

The last few weeks have been an exercise in admitting I don’t know things. There are futures I can’t predict. There are results I can’t estimate. There are times I’m not sure I can do something.

As you can guess, it’s been a hell of a few weeks.

Yet, we’re taught not to admit our ignorance, or our inability, or our exhaustion. People tell us to be strong, to double down, to forge ahead no matter what. We fear being seen as weak if we admit we don’t know something. Such pressure drives us to pretend, to deceive, or to make things up.

My recent experiences have reminded me this isn’t true. There is great power in saying “I don’t know” about something and moving on.

There are things I desperately want to predict right now that I cannot. By admitting I cannot accept that common truth, I also have come to appreciate my adaptability. The future may be unknown, but I see I can deal with that.

There are skills I wish I were better at, but I have to develop them. Now that I admit this, I can focus on developing those skills while working within my limits. It gives me a plan.

I’m doing projects with unpredictable ends – from my writing ambitions to new challenges at work. I admit I can’t calculate what will happen, which prod me to make an effort to get the ends I want. The unknown is a canvas to paint on.

Having confronted so much unsurety, I find myself more relaxed. I’m not trying to “know it all” because of social pressure. I’m not worried over my ignorance as I’ve come to see it simply is what it is. In admitting the unknown, there’s a lot of comfort.

I often challenge my reader to know and learn more – but what is it you don’t know?

Steven Savage

Steve’s Update 7/25/2021

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

So where are my projects?

Giveaways – Grab a sample of “A Bridge To The Quiet Planet” here – https://claims.prolificworks.com/gg/oLvocnGvEp3aOkFRbO7P

A School of Many Futures final edit is now to readthrough and note-checks. For about 2 weeks it’s going through the story and a final review of the editor’s notes. Then it’s check and publish!

Agile Books: I’m getting a feel for the next book “Agile Writer’s Mindset.” There are tons of books on how to write – I want to explore how to think.

The Way With Worlds series returns in November: That’ll be on Man-Made Disasters (but I’d like to call it something else). The cover changes as noted will be scheduled sometime after the novel drops.

The Seventh Sanctum rewrite made more progress – and I’m doing an internal deployment test. I got more unusual generators done, streamlined the code, and have maybe two or three weird ones left. However I’m testing the deployment out – a side project needs a relaunch, so I can use it to test my deployment. Hard to believe I started this last October, but what a year.

Steven Savage

Priorities and Peace of Mind

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

Regular readers have noticed I’ve slacked off on my blogging the last few weeks. It is with no small irony that I’m blogging about what this taught me.

The short form is between the novel, the Seventh Sanctum rewrite, work, and the current chaos in the world, I am busy and tired. The blog sometimes takes a back seat to other things. My regular two posts a week become one. Sometimes there’s just an update.

The reason for this is actually great fuel for a blog post (and it keeps up my momentum).

One thing I’ve emphasized over and over in my Agile practices is the importance of priorities. I’ve learned to force-rank my projects – nothing can be of the same significance – so I know where to direct limited time and energy.

In the last two months, which so much going on, the blog was – unfortunately – lower on that list. It won’t be that way forever, but it’s been lower on the list for a while. I accept this because I prioritized.

This is a great advantage of prioritization – peace of mind.

When you know what is essential to do, you can get to it. You focus on what delivers the most value and tackle it. The fear of not doing these essential things fades as you’re working on what matters first.

When you know what is less important, you have less stress about not getting it done. You’ve already accepted things may not get done and thus worry less when you don’t do them.

Finally, by having your efforts prioritized, you can worry less about what to do. Prioritization takes all the worrying you might do over “what’s next” and gets it out of the way before it causes anxiety. Think of it as “worry before it becomes worry.”

So I’m not happy I’ve blogged less, and I’d like to do more. But it’s not a source of stress with me as I made my decisions. Besides, as I always re-prioritize, I know things will change.

If you’re having a lot of stress over projects, consider more time on prioritizing. It might make things easier.

Steven Savage