Writing and ego

Hello! I’m James Hsu, co-founder of CardBoard Live, author, technologist, and host of the Humans of Magic podcast.

Every Monday, I share what’s on my mind. In the midst of the pandemic, I’ve come to realize that one of the things that truly bring me joy — writing — is missing from the equation. This is my attempt to rectify that.

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Writing is ego. When I publish something on the internet I want others to read it.

I’m shouting to the world: “I have something important to share, and I’d really-really-REALLY like for you to read it. I’d like you to respond to it. ‘Like’ my contribution, please.”

It is difficult to suppress the exhibitionist streak that comes with sharing my thoughts.

Perhaps that’s why I’m willing to share trivial things — selfies, photos, tweets, links, whatever.

But why am I special? Why is anyone special?

Aren’t we all just shouting to the world, pleading for others to pay attention to us?

The internet has messed up our brains.

Writing, and publishing, is self-control.

Last week, I wrote several thousand words about the state of online discourse and my frustrations with it.

I decided not to publish it. Conducted a cost-benefit analysis. Too long, too emotional, too prone to misunderstandings.

And for what? Blowing off steam and stroking my ego?

The process of writing it was enough. It must be enough.

Writing, and publishing, is mastering the self.

Be your own harshest critic. Less is more.

Writing is ego. Writing is life.

That’s a wrap! See you next week.

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