Sunday, July 03, 2011

Narcissistic Writers Anonymous

Yup, I said it. Narcissistic Writers Anonymous (NWA) ain't so secret now. You say to yourself, but I'm not narcissistic, I'm a writer, I'm humble and nervous and maybe even downright shy.

But I think I can prove to you that yes, indeed you have some narcissism floating around in you, particularly when it comes to your writing. Take a look at these scenarios and see if they are familiar.

1. When someone asks you about your writing you launch into a detailed description of the characters, the world you've built, how you came up with the idea, current rejection of your work and pretty much go on, and on, and on, monopolizing the conversation.

2. You secretly think that you can write better than many of the best sellers out there, I mean jeez, the crap that gets published is unbelievable, right?

3. When others want to talk about their job/passion, you quickly become bored and find yourself steering the conversation back to your writing.

4. You try not to judge your writer friends work/manuscripts but constantly feel like you could "write it better".

If any one of these seem familiar, you, my dear, are in NWA.

So, what to do about it? Well, first off, be conscious that others might like to talk about their lives and remember, that's where a lot of our fodder and ideas can come from. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so encourage it in your friends and aquamntinces and when asked, of course discuss your writing. But try not to take over the conversation.

You probably CAN write better than many bestsellers out there, but don't shout it from the roof top! It makes you (and by association, the rest of us writers) look like a bit of an ass. Not a good idea, not to mention that telling an agent/editor that you can write better than JK Rowling is something of a turn off in a business relationship. Who wants to work with a snob?

Don't worry about your writer friends. Work on you and your skills, develop your talent and IF they ask for your opinion, give it, but gently.

We all love to write, we are passionate about it and want to share it with the world, but how we do that can be the difference between finding support and a readership and finding ourselves with zero sales and no friends.


Shannon said...

One last thought, I can say these things because I am guilty of them all and feel the need to share this with others. :)

W.G. Cambron said...

I'm a Narcssist and a writer... I'm a part of a group! Oh the joy :))

Darian said...

I actually posted a blog detailing how I only enjoy talking about me, things I like, things I do and things I want. It was tongue in cheek, of course, but honestly, I don't think it's a trait monopolized by writers. I believe all people with an IQ over 99 tend to gravitate in this direction. In most instances, I just people watch. There is always an off chance I'll hear some dialogue I can use later on in a conversation about why she doesnt want to go get wings and why he thinks she makes a conscious effort to avoid every restaurant he enjoys.

Shannon said...

I agree that others also tend to lean this way, its just that I've noticed in myself with my writing and my other writing friends as well. And it seems to be that the longer you are involved with the industry the more you want to tell people all about it and the writing you are doing within it. Just my experience so far. :)

As for the people watching, I wish there were times I had a hidden camera, the stuff you see when people think no ones looking! Wow, truth is stranger than fiction.

Darian said...

I agree with you on all accounts, it's just hard for me to ever admit I'm good at anything. Shadesof my mother and all. :)

It looks like, from your pic, you're into horses. We just unloaded 60 bales and my arms are now full of tiny pin pricks. Yay!

Dr. Kathie M. Black said...

Cute - maybe that's not the right word, but interesting as I've been looking at the narcissist in myself ever since we had that conversation the other day. Perhaps it's this need to let our imaginative worlds come out of our heads. In my case, it's not alternate worlds, but 'what ifs' in the one we're in. Thanks for another fun post. How'd you get your signature on the blog? And... It was a challenge to comment from my iPad. K

Shannon said...

Darian- Don't worry, if you're a hard core writer it will come! ;p And I don't envy you the haying! I love my horses, but am sooo allergic to the hay!

Kathie- I will do a post about the signature and how to get it on. It's easy but takes a bit of time. :)

Darian said...

According to my forearms, I am somewhat allergic myself. :p