Trying to Be a Magician vs. Doing the Magic

On the noble and ignoble intentions for publishing one’s writing, and the world of difference between the two

Mike Sturm

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Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

After writing and publishing online for the better part of a decade, I haven’t done so for about a year. And I feel okay about that. I never promised anything with my writing. There was never any obligation.

But for the longest time, I felt that I had to write and publish regularly. Over the course of the last year, I’ve realized just how destructive and selfish that feeling was.

So what changed?

I used to think about writing all the time. And I believed that doing so was noble. I believed that I was dedicating myself to a craft — a noble craft. After all, writing is one of those things that distinguishes us from the other life forms. We communicate in this unique and lasting way that even the most advanced species can’t. We’re able to convey our message not just directly to interlocutors in the present. We’re able to punch a deep impression into physical reality that outlasts each of us — without losing its power. In fact, the passing of time has often increased how powerful those impressions are. Words written hundreds — even thousands — of years ago still affect the people who read them today in ways that the authors could never have imagined.

That’s the magic of writing — which is really just the magic of the human mind. It’s the magic of creation transferred to a simple, tangible form — which another mind can pick up and tap into — without any loss of energy over time.

This magic happens on all scales. I write something 10 years ago that I pick up today. Reading it awakens all sorts of dormant memories. My imagination gets stirred and runs amok. I’m moved to take action. Or I’m quieted and comforted into reflective stillness. Perhaps, paradoxically, both. I’m moved to tears when at the time of the writing, I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) feel that emotion nearly that truly or deeply.

Writing is at once clarifying and obfuscating. We write with the best of intentions and the worst. We write as a weapon to wield against others, or as a form of medicine to comfort and heal. We write for these reasons and many more we often…

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Mike Sturm

Creator: https://TheTodaySystem.com — A simpler personal productivity system. Writing about productivity, self-improvement, business, and life.