40 Versions Of Me

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.comSteve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)

(Thanks to Serdar for the idea.)

  1. There’s a me who became a comedian.
  2. There’s a me who became a minister and then lost his faith.
  3. There’s a me who became a minister and then lost his heart.
  4. There’s a me who became a tutor.
  5. There’s a me who churns out hack SF at a rapid pace.
  6. There’s a me who collects obscure sci-fi and fantasy movies.
  7. There’s a me who designed psychotronic devices.
  8. There’s a me who designs artificial limbs.
  9. There’s a me who did documentation for video games.
  10. There’s a me who didn’t live to see eighteen.
  11. There’s a me who does neurological research and hates it.
  12. There’s a me who joined a cult.
  13. There’s a me who founded a cult.
  14. There’s a me who got a Computer Science Degree and vanished into a government job.
  15. There’s a me who got deep into indie bands and ran their newsletters.
  16. There’s a me who has a nursing degree.
  17. There’s a me who has only worked in a University setting but isn’t an educator.
  18. There’s a me who helped a company dominate their industry, and I never realized what I did.
  19. There’s a me who is a crotchety old programmer.
  20. There’s a me who is a damn good Executive Admin.
  21. There’s a me who is a humor columnist since my college days.
  22. There’s a me who is a life coach.
  23. There’s a me who is a professional writer – of anything.
  24. There’s a me who is a social worker.
  25. There’s a me who is a therapist
  26. There’s a me who launched an anime fan magazine.
  27. There’s a me who manages video game programmers.
  28. There’s a me who programmed video games.
  29. There’s a me who still works in banking and likes it, for some reason
  30. There’s a me who supports expensive laboratory devices.
  31. There’s a me who was never married.
  32. There’s a me who works in the RPG industry.
  33. There’s a me who writes weird, surrealist fiction.
  34. There’s a me who wrote – and maybe still writes – indie comics.
  35. There’s a me who’s a dual citizen in Canada.
  36. There’s a me who’s a professor of some kind.
  37. There’s a me who just realized what he’s done with his life.
  38. There’s a me who likes himself more.
  39. There’s a me who likes myself less.
  40. There’s a me who never writes things like this list.

What are 40 versions of you I should know?

Steven Savage

A Writer’s Life: The Rush

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

Still working to finish the draft of “A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.”  In this case, I’ve decided to try and finish it a month early – literally about a week from now.

Usually I did 15K words on it a month.  I’ve gotten to  nearly 29K (nearly 40K for the month).  Why did I decide to do this?

First, I realized that I was committed to what I had (which has problems), so it was best to push through and get it done.  It’d be better to finish up and edit something than to diddle around with plots and tweaks.

Secondly, I’d make discoveries as I wrote.  The more I wrote, the more I learned and thought and explored about my story.

Third, if I kept up the rush I kept in the “zone” of my story, had a better more subtle feel for it.  I think there’s an ideal pace for writing something, a minimum you need to write to stay in touch with your work.  My rate is higher than I thought.  It’s probably every other day at most.

The result is that, upon review, I’m probably going to rewrite a good 50% of the story.  It won’t be bad (I’d say it’s about 60% to 70% a good story), but it can be a lot better.  The thing is if I’d really pushed myself like I have now, just stayed in the zone, I’d have been done in October if not earlier.  Also, the benefits of the replottings and rewrites I had done earlier are ones I probably could have realized in a second draft.

In other words, remember my big halfway point edit?  I am questioning if it was necessary.

This is how my friend Serdar writes – he gets it out and then edits.  I’m starting to think he has a point – but hey, as always writing is an experiment.

So now the goal is to finish up the draft of “A Bridge To The Quiet Planet” and see where I am.  Then it’ll be multiple read-throughs and edits, about 4 months at my current estimate.  When you’re dealing with a road trip type story it’s one thing, but it’s eight characters going through weird stuff on a series of weird planets that are totally normal to them.  I’ll be reporting on that too.

What can you as a fellow writer learn?  Well . . .

  1. We all have our ideal writing pace – what works for us, our subject, and our methods.
  2. You don’t find that pace until you do it.
  3. That ideal pace should let you both create a coherent (if not good) work and keep you in touch with the work.
  4. You have to be open to learning.
  5. You’ll keep learning as you keep writing.

My takeaway lesson is that I overplanned and under-applied myself.  Not entirely surprising as I was enamored of trying various methodologies.  But in the end, it’s an experiment.

I learned something.

– Steve

An Experiment in Citizenship – March 2016

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

Anil Dash tweeted out some suggestions on political engagement awhile ago that got me thinking. And, yes I lost the links and am too lazy to search for them as I’m busy being politically engaged.

Anyway, his rough ideas was to at least follow your representatives and write them regularly. I’m always thinking about how to be more civically engaged, and this struck a chord. I wonder often “what should we as citizens do” for our friends, family, organizations, country, and world. How should one be politically engaged – and, bluntly, what is the minimum we should expect of people.

I’m obviously a bit obsessed with the idea (I wrote a book on civic geekery). His posts have led me to this – an experiment in “projectizing” my civic engagement to find a good way to be regularly, appropriately engaged as a citizen.

So here’s what I’m doing – I challenge you to do the same.

STEP 1: Join And Follow

First, find reliable organizations that support causes you believe in, and follow them – via Twitter, newsletters, what have you. Make sure you’re getting reliable information so you’re informed.

Many of these organizations also support petitions, raise funds, do marches, etc. That gives you plenty of ways to get involved.

Oh, and if you can, actually join them and slap down that membership fee. They probably need it.  Some even have magazines.

STEP 2: Follow Your Representatives

Second, find and follow your representatives – at least on the national and state level (and try county and city). Follow them on Twitter or Facebook, get their newsletter, whatever.  Make sure you have a way to know what’s going on, and find the right web pages to write them.

STEP 3: Pay Attention

OK, so you’ve got:

  1. Organizations you follow.
  2. Your regular news feed (you have one, right)?
  3. News from your various representatives.

So you’re informed. Next . . .

STEP 4: Get active

Now simple, pay attention so you’re aware of what they’re doing, what they’re saying and what’s going on – and look for a chance to make a difference. Retweet. Sign the petition. March. Hell, take that part-time opening to do a vote drive.  Whatever.

STEP 5: Reach Out

Once a month (minimum) pick an issue you’re concerned about and write your appropriate representatives. Maybe this time it’s your Senator next time your city council. Whatever, just make sure your concerns don’t sit around in your head – go tell the people you bloody well elected what needs to be done – and be civil.

Chances are if you follow the news, you’ll quickly find things to talk about.
I’ve tried this for a month, and it’s already pretty informative. Among my findings:

  • My Representative is far, far more LGBT-right friendly than I knew.
  • Not all my state representatives are as high-tech as I expected (one guy isn’t that big on social media)
  • My new city is damned engaged in development and listens to people (I found some of that out when I dated someone from the city staff).

Also my monthly reach-out to my national reps was over North Carolina’s hideous anti-Trans/anti-LGBT laws. So I let my voice be heard on that – I got one response (sure it was boilerplate but it was something)
So, you up for this? You up to take the challenge? I challenge you to do the same thing – and blog the results, post to Facebook, whatever. Let me know when you do.

(Oh, and by the way, beyond this stuff, you should be voting and closing other forms of civic engagement like speaking or literacy programs or other stuff.  I may write more on that)

  • Steve