A Writer’s Life: Experiments

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

Remember my goal to write at least 24K words, probably 30K, this month?  Yeah, still having issues with trying to force myself.  The idea of giving myself space had helped, but I still felt like I was forcing myself.  This caused some analysis that you may find useful.

Why was I still feeling like I was forcing myself?  I didn’t have to go very deep to figure that out.

I felt like I had to do everything right.  Or that I had to get it perfect the first time.  I had the space, but was trying to get it right the first time.

That’s when I had another realization, fueled by my writing, my observations, and my agile practices.  All writing is an experiment.

We’d like to think writing is some kind of precise creation.  Perhaps its that we think of it physically, or that we have a perfect idea of what we’re writing in our head.  But it’s not, it never is.

Writing is an amazingly experimental thing because it’s about communications.  Even if your audience isn’t there, you’re directing your communications to reach them.  In turn, the process of creating cause you to constantly re-evaluate and navigate, from reader feedback to reading your own words from the audience viewpoint.

Writing is experimental thing because it’s so huge.  When you are writing you have infinite options of what to do or how to communicate.  You only discover what works as you write, and writing may reveal unforeseen options.

Writing is experimental because it involves imagination in many cases.  That’s always unpredictable, that’s the point.

So you write something.  Experiment done.  Then you edit it, another experiment, and it evolves.  Then when you’re done, you go to another piece of writing – and that’s an experiment.  It’s experiments all the way down.

Once I realized everything I was doing was an experiment, that I had to explore and play, then I felt better about writing.  The goal of an experiment is to try something and all writing – indeed all arts – are just trying something.  Vast, unpredictable, evolving, channeling our imagination – and that’s why they’re so powerful.

My friend Serdar, a consummate experimenter, never even writes in the same setting, to keep himself going.  I never quite got why he might want to do that (which is not my cup of tea), until realized writing is an experiment.  The more you have, the more that push you, the more you grow.

Me, I like to play in the same settings, but I do explore elsewhere.  That’s how you keep growing.

So, onward to my goal of writing more.  Because I give myself space, because it’s an experiment, I feel a lot freer now.


– Steve