How Dreams Keep Us Writing
Social media has empowered greed and gullibility.
If you want instant success as a writer, here’s a quick way to make bank: Make a headline out of the name of the social media platform of your choice, add the word money or better still a dollar figure, and readers will flock.
Luring the candid and the desperate to the page with elusive promises of lucre has become a self-referential niche of its own. It’s also the quickest way so-called influencers have found to get paid and increase their bottom line.
Day after day, they churn out the same repackaged message of empowerment; if they can do it so can we because they’re no one special. Better still, they had nothing going for them before they started writing online. They were failures.
Their willingness to portray themselves as a success by using self-deprecation should give us pause for thought. How can we respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves? And, most importantly, (how) can we trust them?
The answer is a resounding yes! We too constantly belittle ourselves because we’re afraid of dreaming too big, wanting too much, being too greedy.
They’re us, we’re them, wow. We’re all failures personally and together.
Only there’s no such thing, it’s all a sham, a mirage, the oasis in the desert of our all-consuming wants and needs and obsessions.
It’s an ego snapshot, a word selfie. It’s the shiny distraction that will yield the highest ROI by making others believe you can help them while you’ve only ever been helping yourself. To the dreams of others, those wants and needs, and obsessions common to all humans, namely safety, security, and love.
Even before love, hope is the most valuable currency in the world.
Those who know how to conjure it up out of thin air become heroes in magical thinking circles, inspiring the worship of millions of hopefuls who pay handsomely for the privilege of their ignorance, an ignorance that keeps them believing their life has little to no value.
In a culture that measures human worth in dollars, poverty remains taboo. We’re conditioned to turn a blind eye no matter how visible it gets. And we’re instinctively taught not to let it show lest it should invite ridicule, rejection, or abandonment.
As a result, anyone who dares buck the trend by openly discussing hardships is someone we can’t help but admire. We see ourselves reflected in their narrative even though we only know what they’ve disclosed, often without context.
It is that absence of context that makes content evergreen, relatable, and endlessly recyclable.
Writing is how we create our own mirage.
You know the one. It starts with an agent, then a publishing contract, then a studio option, then a Hollywood movie or a TV show with you attached as a writer.
The cult of me, in short. Me, the product; me, the brand; me, the larger than life advertising campaign for self-made success.
This is when we sink so deep into solipsism we forget there are no writers without readers. It takes many elements to make up community; although none of us are indispensable, we humans could never survive without one another.
Much to our growing dismay, we are a social species so estranged from its shared humanness it behaves like a cat that has taken to chasing its own tail. We would, if cannibalism weren’t such an enduring taboo, eat each other to survive and even go the full paleo keto steak tartare route to save time because we no longer know how to cook.
But we know how to cut and chop facts into such tiny pieces they fall through the cracks of reason and common sense until they’re nothing more than ashes.
Hope burned down the house and left us a little more destitute, a little more estranged, a little more discouraged.
Greed, meanwhile, rubs its hands and wraps its grabby fingers around the proceeds of disempowerment, broadcasting squeals of glee.