First of all, let me ask you: what are you prone to celebrate?
The more money you have, the more stress you have. Money does not equal stability.
Not to mention if you are a public intellectual. I have been writing a blog post about the Media lately. It’s been taking me a lot of time. One thing that I’ve gathered is that public intellectuals are under an immense amount of stress.
Imagine the burden of thinking that all your influence and wealth could one day disappear.
I have heard John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, Jordan Peterson, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Kendrick, and many others say that they do not think that their success will last.
That is rational. No one expects to be at the top of the game forever — they rarely are.
Sure you’ve published a NY Times bestseller this year. But remember how much work that was? Advertising? Press? Time spent far from home.
Will you ever have the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?
Occasionally I get a critical response to my writing, especially if I write about politics. Now imagine if my following increased by 1 million readers. I’d definitely attract a more severe amount of negative criticism.
I enjoy being underground at the moment. I know the people that read my blogs. I read their blogs, we communicate often and encourage each other all the time.
The time that you are able to engage your readers and keep in touch gets reduced once you achieve a larger amount of success.
I know I’m not the perfect man I wish I was — or writer — most importantly.
So, I’m glad to have to take some time (at least 5 years) until I start getting dimly recognized on Medium. I’m ready for that amount of work. That is what I signed up for.
Easy success is not something I have signed up for and I hope no one who’s reading this aspires to.
I hope that we wish to provide value instead of competition. I do not want to take away from the success of incredible writers on this platform. I hope that they achieve great things because I think they are more than capable of achieving them.
How to Win as a Writer
“I write because there is some lie that I want to expose. . . . My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of Injustice.” — George Orwell (“On Writing”)
There are no 10 lessons. Nothing works. Don’t read those articles. It feels good, sure, for a second. When you read these articles it makes you feel purposeful and productive. Don’t be fooled. You are only reading someone else providing advice that he himself has not practiced.
If you are reading Stephen King on Writing, or Anne Lamott, or David Foster Wallace, then you should. Hemingway probably has thing to say about writing and you should listen. Why would you, however, take the time to listen to someone who has only written blog posts about writing?
It becomes a place of competition rather than cooperation.
Adding Value to Medium
There’s a lot of incredible voices on Medium that you need to hear from. Don’t drown their voices because you want a lot of views for offering “advice” to people that you’ve never met and you do not even have the credentials to give them.
Let me finish with a passage from the philosopher Peter Singer when addressing the negative effects of capitalism on our society:
“Instead of humans relating to each other cooperatively, they relate competitively. Love and trust are replaced by bargaining and exchange. Human beings cease to recognize in each other their common human nature; instead they see others as instruments for furthering their own egoistic interests. They are alienated from their common humanity.” — Peter Singer, Marx: A Very Short Introduction
I wish that you can take away something from this.
Let me know.
Before you go…
I’d love if you’d share the article on Facebook/TWITTER if you want your friends to benefit from it in some way at all.
I write to keep you thinking and to keep me thankful and reflective. Cheers and until next time,