Organization Is Inspiration

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

This is a bit of a personal take on things, not advice or anything. But I was talking with a friend about organization and planning and wanted to share something.

I find Organization inspires me.

Planning, scheduling, breaking work down, and so on gets me going. There’s something about it that gets my imagination going and gets me inspired. So yes, I preach a lot about organizing and Agile and the rest, but I want to note how it helps me imagine.

I realized in that talk that sometimes when I’m down, planning gets me going again.

For instance, recently I was feeling uninspired and didn’t have a sense of what I was doing. So I made some finer-grained plans on my major projects – in fact, I felt driven to do it. It made me a lot more aware, a lot more organized, and a lot more “into” what I was doing.

I think there’s two parts of this.

First, when you plan and organize projects, you get into them. You feel what made you want to do them. You imagine ways to do them. You become aware of them and experience them more intimately.

Secondly, when you plan and organize projects, you can see how to get them done. You see the end goals, you see the path, you know your challenges and your workarounds. You know how to get them done – which probably energizes you as well.

So ironically, now I the planning and organizing guy, realize I may need to do it a little more now and then. That’s a useful realization – sometimes even I need to do a little more work breakdown for reasons over work breakdown.

But that’s why I share these things. Putting it into words makes me think, feedback from you the readers helps me process, and we learn together.

So let’s get organized – in an inspiring way.

Steven Savage

A Writer’s View: System Thinking

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr)

This Tweet got me thinking:

Neat idea for a creative person, right?  Tracking their creative stages?  It’s a good example of a creative person finding a way to work with their inspiration and habits.  It’s a system.

Good creatives, successful creatives, have systems.  You can hear about the Snowflake Method, or the “X Habits of Whatever,” or endless ideas of how to write novels, or best ways to do art.  You doubtlessly have your own way of organizing your creativity – even if you’re not aware of it.  For all our raging imaginations, it seems we creative people often make ways to organize that fire that burns inside of us.

There are several reasons we do this – reasons we’re not always aware of, but by bringing it into awareness I hope it helps you make your own.

We organize our creativity to ensure things get done.  Being creative is nice, but if there’s no end result, there’s little point unless you’re doing something freeform.

We organize our creativity to provide focus.  So we make sure we don’t loose track, so we can bring projects to completion, so we don’t start anything new.

We organize our creativity to speed time to completion.  We get structure and organization, milestones and ways to track progress – so that creative dream sees the light of day.

We organize our creativity to embody our principles.  We take ideas of what matters, our mad methods, our special tricks and make them formal so we can use them that much easier.

Finally, an an oft missed benefit, is that by organizing our creativity we can find ways to improve.  When you build a system of ideas, of tracking, of documenting you can use that to find new ways to do better.  That organization of imagination can inspire you to think up new ways to get better.

So, go on, take a look at your creativity.  What systems and methods do you have?  What could you build?  How can you provide enough structure to your dreaming to make you dream better?


(Remember I do all sorts of books on creativity to help you out!)

– Steve

MuseHack Members Dish On Writing Tools – And It’s A Small Dish

We got this question in the mail!

“Hello Musehack’s authors. I have a question. In your opinion what is the best Writing and mind map software out there? At the moment I’m using Scrivener for my novel and having good results, but more insight is always welcome. Still need a good one for mind mapping tho.”

So a lot of us here at MuseHack write professionally or semi-professionally. I did the rounds of the gang to find what they liked to use and the results . . .

We’re not exactly big on mind mapping tools. A few of us have tried Scrivner, and yWriter is an interesting alternative, but really we don’t use them.  Yeah, when it comes to it, the writer’s in our gang of geeks aren’t into specific writing tools.

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