Tag Archives: psychology

Priorities and Peace of Mind

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

Regular readers have noticed I’ve slacked off on my blogging the last few weeks. It is with no small irony that I’m blogging about what this taught me.

The short form is between the novel, the Seventh Sanctum rewrite, work, and the current chaos in the world, I am busy and tired. The blog sometimes takes a back seat to other things. My regular two posts a week become one. Sometimes there’s just an update.

The reason for this is actually great fuel for a blog post (and it keeps up my momentum).

One thing I’ve emphasized over and over in my Agile practices is the importance of priorities. I’ve learned to force-rank my projects – nothing can be of the same significance – so I know where to direct limited time and energy.

In the last two months, which so much going on, the blog was – unfortunately – lower on that list. It won’t be that way forever, but it’s been lower on the list for a while. I accept this because I prioritized.

This is a great advantage of prioritization – peace of mind.

When you know what is essential to do, you can get to it. You focus on what delivers the most value and tackle it. The fear of not doing these essential things fades as you’re working on what matters first.

When you know what is less important, you have less stress about not getting it done. You’ve already accepted things may not get done and thus worry less when you don’t do them.

Finally, by having your efforts prioritized, you can worry less about what to do. Prioritization takes all the worrying you might do over “what’s next” and gets it out of the way before it causes anxiety. Think of it as “worry before it becomes worry.”

So I’m not happy I’ve blogged less, and I’d like to do more. But it’s not a source of stress with me as I made my decisions. Besides, as I always re-prioritize, I know things will change.

If you’re having a lot of stress over projects, consider more time on prioritizing. It might make things easier.

Steven Savage

In The Library Of The Mind

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com 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

It Was Always Your Story

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

My fellow writer Serdar is busy working on Unmortal, his next novel, but has just announced the work to follow. He’ll be writing “Charisma,” a story that started as a practice book cover with a Geisha and a dog. Our crowd latched onto the intriguing cover, and in time he evolved an actual story – of a woman and her pet in a world where coolness is power. 

Serdar went through several iterations to make the story his – as he notes, “This, whatever it is I have here, I’m the only one who can write it as far as I know.” Those are good words for any creative to live by – create the thing that only you can create.

Living by those words is the problem, as we face many challenges to do otherwise.

We want to make money and figure there’s no way “what I truly can do” will make money. We want to share but fear that what’s truly in our heart as an artist won’t reach others. We have many other fears – ridicule, misunderstanding, and more.

It can get to the point that we don’t even know what we want to create or make. It’s hard to know oneself at the best of times. It’s harder when you’re carrying the burden of fears and expectations.

I’ve come to think of the “what is the thing only I can make” is best answered by getting out there and doing it. I’m not saying you can snap your fingers and make your fears and questions vanish; I’m saying you might as well move forward anyway.

Write, draw, create, plot. Rewrite, redraw, replot.

You’re going to doubt yourself and your ideas. You’re going to question yourself and who you are. This doesn’t alienate you – it makes you like almost all of your fellow creatives.

But if you keep moving down the road, there’s a chance you’re going to meet yourself and figure out what’s the thing only you can do.

Your own super-cool Geisha with a dog is out there.

Steven Savage