Why All Writers Are Narcissists

Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re all a bit narcissistic on a basic, human level. But narcissism is the life blood of writers. We, and I include myself to be generous (To me, not to other, more talented writers. Though that would be narcissistic of me, so…), think we have something so unique and profound to say. I don’t write to add to the piles of unread material out there, though likely that is where most of my stuff will end up, I write because I have something to say. Or at least I think I do. Sometimes I get half way through and ask myself “What was this supposed to be about again?”

Other writers think the way they can paint a scene with beautiful, lyrical words should be framed and displayed as art. I’m not saying there aren’t incredible pieces out there that paint a nature scene so beautifully with words that it makes you want to cry–but isn’t the act of creating this type of work self-absorbed by nature?  

Even as I write this I have a picture in my head of how I want to be perceived. I want people to see me as the artsy, coffee-drinking, dark-souled, introspective person that most people picture when they think of writers. Carrie Bradshaw pumping out sexy crowd-pleasers on her Mac surrounded by piles of eclectic outfits and a cigarette dangling haphazardly from her lips as she effortlessly creates something smart and sassy from observations she’s made in her own life.

Take that last paragraph. Actually take every word I’ve ever written semi-professionally, here is my thought process of how I chose each phrase, reference, and example: Carrie Bradshaw, does it fit? Well she is a fictional writer who very much illustrates the theme of this blog post, so yes. What will readers (Ha! Like I have readers…) think of me if I use a Sex and the City reference? I mean…she is a pretty cool lady if you’re in to forty year-old women who still haven’t figured their lives out and make you feel pretty good about your own choices. But will readers write me off (pun intended) if I use Carrie Bradshaw as an example of what I picture writers being? Oh, how about Jesse from Gilmore Girls? Will people still remember that show? Did anyone on the planet love that show as much as I did? Nah, let’s keep Carrie Bradshaw, she’s more accessible. What word will make me seem smart, sophisticated, confident, less like an amateur, and like I’m not terrified of putting my thoughts out there?

See what I mean? Every word a writer chooses is tailored so people will think they’re clever, talented, and far too cool. Which I am. And don’t you forget it.

Wait… what is this supposed to be about again? Oh yeah…

I’m not saying that writers are bad people, either. Narcissism gets a bad rap. Some people are fascinating and getting a taste of what’s going on inside their heads is a treat. I think most people are fascinating in some way, but writers have the tools (at least some of them do) to take you on an adventure, make you feel things, and change you into a little bit of a different person. Without their narcissism we’d be poorer people.  

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