Category Archives: Psychology

When Your Thing Becomes Your Thing

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

Serdar and I often talk about why we create what we do. These conversations veer into things like the “punk” mindset, artistic visions, and the like. Why do people make what they do, and how can they be true to their vision?

Well, the truth is, it’s not always a straight line or magical revelation. Finding that “you” thing in writing is a journey, one my Way With Worlds books illustrates.

Most of my readers know how they started. I had two books on worldbuilding – the Way With Worlds Books – but wanted to sell more. I got the idea to do six small, cheap books on specific subjects to tie into them and raise interest. After being told I should raise the price to show value, they started selling well.

Previously I thought like a marketer, but now I saw what people wanted. People wanted specialized guides, and my unique “coaching buddy approach” seemed to resonate with people. This realization fired up my writing side.

So I wrote a few more books.

The act of writing the books inspired more books. Reader feedback guided me to pick the best titles. I set the lofty goal of writing thirty of these books, figuring that would ensure sales and be a worthy challenge.

I wrote a few more books, and my motivations evolved.

My drive to help writers and creatives changed. I realized how much good I could do and how much help I could provide. I also realized that worldbuilding helped people think about our world. What I did mattered to people.

I also began to savor the challenge in creating these books. I had to find what subjects people needed to learn. I created a system to help me write them effectively.

I kept writing.

I came to realize how outlandish my goals were – and how much I enjoyed them. Thirty books for a specific audience with specific interests on specific subjects? I was doing something only I could do.

I had started with a simple marketing idea based on a subject that interested me. It had evolved into a challenge, then something outrageously me. As you noticed, I’m still writing.

Our creative journeys aren’t linear, and our creative selves not always apparent. But if you keep creating and learning, you’ll find that work only you can make – and the you that can make that work.

Steven Savage

In The Library Of The Mind

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

I’m writing this in 2021, a year of plague, political unrest, and climate change. As I write it, I find myself asking what value my writing has and how it can live on to help people. If you are a writer, artist, or other creative, such doubts and concerns may plague you as well.

We can hope people buy our books, treasure them, and pass them on. Perhaps our works will live on as legacies. Maybe we can make donations to libraries or Little Free Libraries. We may reach people unborn, when they find a peculiar book on a shelf.

But books rot, and decay, and fall apart.

Perhaps we can live on in electronic formats. The internet spans the world, and data storage is cheap. Our legacy may be in electrons, pieces of ourselves in a digital afterlife of ebooks.

But can we count on those who distribute them? Businesses are self-interested, and technology changes.

All of this, all of this counts on people taking an interest in our works. Even if our mark is made in libraries and scrawled on silicon, people may not care.

I won’t lie. I certainly hope my work leaves a legacy, that it is read after I am gone. I hope enough of the world is here, so I have a chance to enlighten or entertain or confuse someone after I’m gone.

But I’ve learned – again and again – that a good writer wants to make an impression now.

Many an author I’ve met speaks of “that one person” – the person whose life changed due to their book. I’ve had that experience, and to see your work change a life reminds you that your creations matter. You make an impression.

Then there are the reviews. That one review on a website that says your book made a difference. Maybe you weren’t a life-changer, but you made their life a bit better. You make an impression.

There are sales, newsletters, blog posts like this one. Each one is a chance to reach people. Each is a chance to make an impression.

These impressions we make don’t end. They shape lives, direct people, and change them. Those changes live on in what they do, who they talk to, and how they think. If you wish, you can easily think of it as obvious karma.

Maybe we even make the world better enough that it outlasts the troubles we’ve created.

Our work, first and foremost, must improve others. Let it live in the libraries of the mind.

Steven Savage

No Going Back, No Going Normal

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

I talk about what I miss from before the pandemic. When discussing this with my girlfriend, she noted that trying to go back was useless. What you have to do is decide on a future and try to make it.

That resonated with me for two reasons I want to discuss.

The first is because we find it easy to get lost in nostalgia. Humans are creatures of history, and I sympathize when people remember “the way things were.” However, all of us know that the past wasn’t as great as we (or others) remember, as sure as we can’t go back. Even if we could go back to another time, we would be different people.

The second, deeper reason I connected with her statement was “build the future” is a lot better than the talk of “the new normal.”

The “new normal” is a deception. It is a deception because the “new normal” will be changing for some time to come. It is a deception because some things will be new and some will be old. It is a deception because “normal” will be different for many people – “normal” is not one size fits all.

Normal is a lie.

But deciding to build the future? I resonate with that because it means I choose – and making a choice means asking what you want? A lot like Agile (hey, you knew I’d bring it up), you have to ask what’s valuable and worth your time.

I don’t know precisely the future I want. I have most of the picture, but the pandemic has changed some things. I do know it won’t be “normal.”

But it’ll be mine.

Steven Savage