I’ve noticed that a lot of writers (myself included) have a somewhat inflated sense of self. Whether it’s ego, or something else, I’m not sure, but I find that so many of my writer friends have this mentality.
I know PLENTY of other writers who think the same way, they’re all cocky, self-assured creatures who have the mindset that they are awesome and deserve ALL the accolades and the worship and paycheck that goes with being an internationally best-selling author.
Whether this is true or not in the public eye remains to be seen.
But the mindset is abundantly clear.
I’m a cocky, self-assured little wench. I think I’m awesome. I think that I have a distinct, unique style in my writing and that my works deserve to be shared (you know, when I get around to polishing everything and editing and all that other stuff.) I know that I use the cockiness as a defense mechanism. I work myself up to the point that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am [insert positive adjective here] and that good things will come to me for whatever reason I choose to maintain the egoism. For me, it makes rejection a thousand times easier. It means that I can get over the disappointment a lot faster and work on improving what needs improving so that I can try again.
Having said that, I’m perfectly willing to have an open discussion about what [needs improvement, what (you) liked, hated, feelings the words evoked etc. etc. etc.] and take criticism, constructive or not.
I am also all about building my fellow writers up and sharing in their successes (and alternately, being there to grieve with them in their failures).
Writing is a lonely, lonely job. You lock yourself away to be in the throes of your imagination for hours on end. Alone. Because working alone is when you get the best work done. You only get social interaction when you’re in the editing/critique/beta reading phase, and usually that’s all business. Then it’s back to revising. Rinse and repeat.
So why, then, is it SO COMMON with other writers to be self-righteous dicks? I’m not saying that I am immune to this, I’m only human, but I do try my hardest not to fall into that trap of ego and self-righteousness. I’m also certainly not saying that EVERY author is like this either. As with any group, there are some bad apples that you would much rather avoid.
Still, I see it all the time. I see blogs that are entirely self-serving (which you know, 99% of blogs are) or I see online discussions where the writers are condescending towards one another, and everyone else involved. I feel like the vast majority of writers are convinced that they are the next Hemingway or something and that everyone else is sufficiently beneath them. It’s a very sad state of affairs. Most of these “authors” aren’t even published and still they treat everyone else with an air of disdain and sarcasm. The worst is when I see other people/authors talk down to others. The biggest rule is that your audience is not stupid, you shouldn’t treat them as such.
Your ego shouldn’t be getting in the way of your relationships with other people. Especially with other authors. You never know when that smug and cocky tone of condescension is going to accidentally burn a bridge that would have otherwise helped you.
I mean really, we’re all in this together, right? So why not support each other along? Rejoice in one person’s success and offer sympathy in times of failure, but don’t be smug and self-satisfied about it. And certainly don’t be condescending. We can all get along in the literary sandbox. Right?
Kai Kiriyama lives in Calgary, Alberta with her pet snake Rhaegar and too many books to fit in one room.
She is a monthly contributor to Zombie Training Magazine, which you can find here if you’re so inclined.
You may reach Kai through email here!
Or you can find her on Facebook if you’re into social media.
Kai is also on Tumblr here!
And of course you can follow on Twitter