A Writer’s Life: Space

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

This month I’m trying to write at least 24,000 words, preferably 30,000.  This isn’t due to any NaNoWriMo thing, it’s a personal challenge to up my productivity.  In setting this goal, I ran into a problem.

I’d set aside time to write, but it felt constrained.  A punishment, a forced duty.

Yet when I’d get writing, I’d often enjoy it.  I find that even when you don’t want to write, doing it for five minutes usually unblocks you.  Besides, even if you hate it, you’re going to edit it later, so might as well enjoy half-baked crap as you make it.

At this point I knew my “ugh, time to write” reaction was irrational.  So I set about thinking of how I could “re-imagine” that writing time to make me see it in a positive light.  Not so much tricking myself, but more how to take a better attitude.

At the same time, I was also discussing the concept of “Pull” in Kanban, and Agile methodology.  So you can guess this is another one of my Agile/Writing posts.

Anyway, the idea in Kanban is you only work on something when you have space to do it – then you “Pull.”  It’s the opposite of “Pushing” work.  If you’re blocked up, you don’t Pull in new work, you focus on getting things moving.  If you can’t get anything moving because of other people, go do something else like take a class or get a coffee once you’re done yelling at them

It sounds weird, but then you realize that Kanban gives you “space” to work.  “Space” to take tasks on when you’re ready.  It’s very much like my earlier thoughts on the subject.

That’s when I realized that setting aside writing time was not making myself write – it was setting aside Space to write.  That 30 minutes or 60 minutes where I’m clear to write.

This changed my mindset (for the most part).  It felt less constrained, less forced, less trapped.  Sometimes it even felt amazing – “a whole hour to write, wow!”  Oh sure I still get those moments of feeling I’m forcing myself, but they’re diminished – and I can rethink that time as “space” and reduce the feelings.

Let’s see if this gets even better over time, but it’s certainly helped already.

– Steve

Activities For The Civic Geek: Promote Space Exploration

There are few things more geeky than space exploration.  So gear up and geek out to help us get to the stars.

Space may be the final frontier.  Exploring space has given us many scientific benefits.  But sometimes it seems we forget the value of space travel and get distracted by issues here on earth – forgetting that everything from weather satellites to new technology to the unifying drive to explore benefit us now.

Space travel also requires advocacy.  It’s expensive.  It’s hard work.  It’s often riven with politics.

If you’re any kind of geek you probably support more, better, and frankly expanded space travel.  If you’re a specific kind of geek you probably are really a supporter.  So help you and your fellow geeks promote space exploration.

You could:

  • Invite people to speak on it at various geek events – what’s a good convention without a discussion of space travel?
  • Support some of the causes listed below – or join them.  Everyone needs help.
  • Find local events sponsored by various space-supporting group and get your friends and geek groups to go there.

We’re not going to get off the planet waiting for someone else to do it for us.

But you can make a difference.


  • 100 Year Starship – They want humanity to be able to leave the solar system by the 22nd century.  Speaking, events, advocacy, and more.
  • Centennial Challenge – A NASA event to help develop new space technology.  If you’re not in the US there’s probably similar groups in your country.
  • Penny 4 Nasa – A group working to raise awareness of NASA, get increases in funding, and promote space exploration. If you’re not in the US there’s probably similar groups in your country.
  • Planetary Society – Sponsors charities, events, advocacy, and projects to promote space exploration.


I’m a big booster of space exploration and science exploration in general.  Of course it seems NASA gets ignored a lot – they get 0.48% of the US government budget.  Think about that.

Fortunately, Penny4NASA is there to promote citizen involvement.  They’d be happy with 1% and I say go for it.

Their site provides resources to get active, information on what NASA does for us, and more.

You know what to do.

(Thanks to The Mary Sue)

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.