State of the Savage: November 2011

by Keith Savage · 19 comments


Traveling Savage on Staffa

We’re one step closer to bidding 2011 goodbye. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I wrote last November’s State of the Savage from Argentina, but then again time seems to always flummox and confound those who study it. I’m one year into my allotted two-year sojourn to make Traveling Savage into a new career. How is it going?

I recently described my state of mind to a friend as “feeling like I’m stuck in a rut in the middle of limitless forest for as far as the eye can see.” Okay, that’s a bit redundant, but it shows the strength of the feeling. I continue to write about my escapades in Scotland and plan new trips, but I have always had the long view of life, and if belief in the financial sustainability of a venture fades so increases the feeling of its frivolousness.

Something needs to change.

I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas of new but related directions to pursue. Most are crap but some have merit. Then a weird thing happens. I don’t feel any passion or excitement for the ideas. There’s some force, some inertia stopping me from giving them a shot, and so they languish in the junk drawer of my mind. I need some grand idea, some grand work to pursue that capitalizes on the excruciatingly small window where my skills and knowledge intersect.

I need a muse. Is Calliope available?

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield has become my pre-sleep companion thanks to the fine taste of Mike Sowden over at Fevered Mutterings. I believe Mr. Pressfield is the first person to give a name to that innate self-sabotaging force: the Resistance. I recognized it from Seth Godin’s Lynchpin and I recognize it as the foe with which I’m currently locked in creative combat. It’s kicking my ass and my shins and laughing at me. I’m not “doing the work” as Pressfield puts it.

People (mostly my family) tell me I should write a book. My Resistance says, “about what?” Am I kidding me?

My friend responded to my redundant rut-forest comment with a gem: “Perhaps your limitless forest is a dazzling Lothlorien-esque magical land full of as-yet-unknown limitless possibilities rather than a depressing Fangorn-esque forest where no light penetrates and dangerous pitfalls abound?”

My Resistance is not happy.

Plans & Happenings

Last month I talked about a possible trip to Nova Scotia happening in the first quarter of 2012. Perhaps obviously, that’s not the best time to visit Maritime Canada so I’m keeping that trip in my back pocket for now. I’ve got two non-work-related trips to Florida in the span of a month in December and January, which will be sweet respite from Wisconsin’s hardcore winters.

On the Traveling Savage front, I’m currently hammering out itineraries for 2-3 week trip to Scotland in late April/early May specifically to hit the Speyside Whisky Festival. This trip would also likely include a drive up the coast from Inverness – stopping at distilleries – all way to Orkney where I’d spend a few days. Finally, I’m thinking about including some time in the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway in addition to the requisite couple days in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Did I mention my Dad’s coming (and maybe others)?

Before this trip, however, I’m considering another few weeks in either Glasgow or Edinburgh sometime in March. The summer is looking really busy from a non-work perspective with several weddings in the mix so I need to figure out when I can actually afford to be gone traveling. I loved my three weeks in Edinburgh earlier this year and I could vary a similar trip with more jaunts to surrounding places. I’m considering tacking on a five-day stop in Barcelona at the end of this with Sarah where we can re-up our love of Spain and reconnect with those motorhoming mavens over at Technomadics.

Parting Blow

I’ve always believed that I’m a short-form writer and that a book-length project was beyond my ability. I have no evidence to support this belief, so I’m forced to confront the fact that I’m simply scared of undertaking such a project. I’m starting to believe that doing only what’s known and comfortable is the fast track to a boring life. The Resistance hates it when you do what you’re scared to do. So do it.

The enemy of your enemy…and all that. What are you not doing because you’re scared to do it?


Holiday ScotlandNo Gravatar December 7, 2011 at 3:14 PM

whatever you do keith carry on writing for this blog……..we all have ideas and plans some work some dont you know that i am also looking for a direction out of my drab existance by writing a scottish blog. when i get the right idea keith i will give you a nudge : )

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 7, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Cheers Greg, and good luck with your “drab existence.” 😉

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Debbie Beardsley @ European TravelistaNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Resistance?!!!! I’m sure I am full of resistance that is causing in action, self doubts and more. I’m off to look into the book you mentioned cause I need a swift kick in the *ss!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

You’ll enjoy it. Most writers will.

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AkilaNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Well, I told you this already at TBEX but I totally think you need to write a fantasy novel. Scotland looks like the perfect setting for a fantasy novel and I am sure you can come up with a great story. Actually, I just read a really interesting historical fantasy novel that combined the history of northern England with a modern day romance, based upon the fantasy idea of ancestral memories. It was a very interesting take on historical fiction and I could totally see you writing something like that based in Scotland.

As for me, yeah, right now, I am my own worst enemy. I’ve stopped sending out my finished novel to agents because I’m struggling with the rejection process. I’ve been talking to Torre a lot about it and that’s been helping because she struggled just like I am and, ultimately, it’s worked out great for her. But, it’s very very hard to get past the resistance.

Either way, if you do get started on this book idea, send me an email because it’s been so helpful having other folks backing me up who are going through the same process.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Sorry to hear about the roadblock regarding your novel, Akila. Keep at it – it sounds like so many success stories only happen after countless rejections. I’ve considered the fantasy route (and am still considering it), and while I’ve read a lot of fantasy in my time I don’t have a grasp on how to really write it. Then again, you probably just need to start and course correct later. It’s something I’m working on; I tend to kill ideas before I even put in any work on them.

I will gladly take you up on the offer if/when I start working on a book. Thanks a lot for the thoughtful ideas.

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Traveling TedNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 9:10 AM

I think a travel book on Scotland would be a great idea. It seems to be the logical step. Didn’t you decide to hone in on Scotland because you thought it would be better to be an expert on one place instead of knowing a little bit about a lot of places? Experts write books on their topics.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 10:57 AM

I like your way of thinking, Ted. 🙂

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Traveling TedNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 12:01 PM

I can guarantee at least one buyer when it is published 🙂

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wandering educatorsNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 9:09 AM

you can do it! who says a book can’t be a bunch of short form essays? think o.henry, for nonfiction.

love the forest that your friend described!!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Good idea. I’ll need to do some brainstorming about possible formats and styles.

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Adam DudleyNo Gravatar November 30, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Keith…The War of Art and Do The Work are my Bibles (seriously) since discovering them. Two very important books for me…changed my life and the way I operate.

If you’re really not sure where to go next or if you really want to write that book, you might want to consider hiring a coach or advisor…that’s what I did earlier this year and it made a HUGE difference in my life and business. If this idea resonates with you, let me know and I can make a recommendation.

P.S. I’ll be in Orlando, Florida Dec. 20th through sometime in January. Let me know if you’d like to hook up for a beer or a scotch.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

I appreciate the suggestion, Adam. I’ll let you know if I’m available while in Florida.

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CailinNo Gravatar November 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM

NOVA SCOTIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thats where I’m from and live! Come visit me!!!
It will be a wee bit cold in Jan/Feb but I promise warms up in March / April.
Ideally I’ll be around to show you things, drive you places, drink things with you it will be fun!
If you come in the summer I bet the Authentic Seacoast would love to have you stay a few nights too.
Good luck with the idea of writing a book and figuring out your future plans, definitely stay in touch if you make it up this way! 🙂

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 30, 2011 at 2:10 PM

I’ve spoken with Doug at Authentic Seacoast already and you both would definitely be part of my trip plans to NS.

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Andy JaroszNo Gravatar November 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Good post as ever Keith, and I have no doubt that the book idea may be scary but if you have the will to do it (at some point) it’s well within your capabilities to write a top notch book. I have the same thought lingering at the back of my mind and while it’s not getting strong enough to bother me just yet I suspect it won’t go away until I eventually try and write something substantial. Good luck with the next move, whatever it is.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 28, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Cheers Andy, and ditto – I’d love to see what you would produce.

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AliNo Gravatar November 30, 2011 at 12:05 PM

There’s probably a lot I’m not doing because I’m scared. Maybe I’m scared to think my ideas are any good. Who knows. I’m struggling with my next step in life, that’s for sure. I’m curious to see what you end up doing next, if it is a book or something else. I’ve always enjoyed your writing, and I think if you want to write a book you could. Regardless of where you go next, I hope it works out and good luck!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 28, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Thanks Ali, really appreciate the words.

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