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Look at me creating

My essay was garbage. But it was my garbage.

So I kept at it, day after day. I once again started feeling smugly superior to my fellow bus riders. Look at me creating, I thought. Look at me contributing to the world, while these reptiles just distract themselves with their phones until they die.

This arrogance lasts for a few seconds until I re-read the stream-of-consciousness dogshit I’m typing into my phone.

  • Tom Cleveland
  • TJCX.me
  • August 21, 2019

Nietzsche’s typewriter

...the [typewriter] had a subtler effect on his work. One of Nietzsche’s friends, a composer, noticed a change in the style of his writing. His already terse prose had become even tighter, more telegraphic. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”

“You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Under the sway of the machine, writes the German media scholar Friedrich A. Kittler , Nietzsche’s prose “changed from arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram style.”


Off to the reading state

The heightened state brought on by a book—in which one is “actively present at every moment, scripting and constructing”—is what readers seek, Birkerts argues: “They want plot and character, sure, but what they really want is a vehicle that will bear them off to the reading state.”


The “So What?” Test

If you’re unsure about whether to share something, let it sit for 24 hours. Put it in a drawer and walk out the door. The next day, take it out and look at it with fresh eyes. Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?” There’s nothing wrong with saving things for later. The SAVE AS DRAFT button is like a prophylactic - it might not feel as good in the moment, but you’ll be glad you used it in the morning.


Writing is a process of discovery

There is, however, one thing to learn from writers that non-writers don’t always understand. Most writers don’t write to express what they think. They write to figure out what they think. Writing is a process of discovery. Blogging is an essential tool toward meditating over an extended period of time on a subject you consider to be important.