Responsible Imagination

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

A creator’s world is about ideas. There are things we want to do, half-formed potentials, and wild dreams we lock down until they burst forth. Creativity is all about ideas.

At the same time, ideas torment us. We may have too many ideas to act on, while someone else has nothing that comes to them. Regret over undone projects bedevils us, while dissatisfaction over a poorly-handled creation sits darkly in our stomachs.

You may deal with these issues, and if you don’t, I’m sure you know some other creator who has.

One of the differences between an effective and ineffective creator is taking responsibility for their ideas. They build systems to stimulate creativity, channel it, and select what becomes what. By doing so, they’re able to get to the act of creating.

I don’t think this is discussed enough in creative circles, where imagination is often treated as a given or a fickle force. Perhaps we’re used to hearing the same complaints over and over again, and we miss there is a solution. The solution is developing a personal way to be responsible for ideas to deal with these general problems.

Maybe we need to focus on helping our fellow creatives take more responsibility for their imagination. There are plenty of books to start with – I know I wrote one – but people still need that personal touch. We can help other writers and artists to find their way.

Steven Savage

Steve’s Update 10/24/2021

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

A School of Many Futures: The print copy is approved and should be ready in a few days! I’ll be updating my sites once it’s approved.

The Way With Worlds “Man Made Disasters” is outlined and I’ll start writing shortly. I’m also thinking of doing a book on Misinformation and Propaganda in worldbuilding as we oft don’t cover that and it’s timely.

“The Agile Writer’s Mindset” and “Agile Success”: The “Writer’s Mindset” is my next goal, and will be another bingewrite. “Agile Success” is still a maybe but might be a fun smaller book.

The Seventh Sanctum rewrite goes well. I’m going to do a test deploy on another site this week. If that works, the next one is a test deploy of the incomplete site. However as it’s been awhile since I made a new generator for the current site, I’m thinking of that since I’ve got at least 2-3 months until launch.


Steven Savage

A Writer’s Problems Aren’t Unique

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

I often mentor other authors as I’ve been self-publishing for over a decade and writing professionally and non for much longer. Often it seems they have the same problems over and over again. We all know the drill – writer’s block, fear of failure, formatting, etc. When you mentor, it seems you’re stuck in a time warp, and you’re too tired to make Rocky Horror jokes.

Sometimes I find this frustrating, and I know other authors experience this as well. We’d love to see a unique problem, thank you. We’re done with issues of capitalizing titles and line spacing – can we get something new?

This frustration misses an important point.  We see the same problem repeatedly, but for that individual author, the experience is unique. It is their writer’s block, their insecurity, and so on. What has become abstract to us is painfully personal to them.

Realizing this can help us get over “writer problem boredom.” We can understand the personal experiences of writers having the same crisis we’ve seen before. We can understand the visceral issues someone is having, even if we watched fifty other people have the same problem. Our advice can be customized (and sometimes is more about the person getting other life problems solved).

This also means we can tell the people we mentor that they’re not alone. They’re going through what others have gone through before. There are resources to help them because these problems are so common. Help is not only on its way, it’s arrived and set up shop online and in your library.

Finally, when we tell writers their problems are common, it’s a sign to keep going. Their issues have bedeviled others, others who have solved the problems. The key is to keep going.

Maybe, once they’re over their blocks, they can guide other people as well. With our insights, maybe they’ll be less frustrated.

Steven Savage