Sunday, October 19, 2008

Needy

We writers are a needy bunch.

Perhaps because the only way we can measure success is by the approval of others.

The act of writing is often fulfilling, but by its very nature self-indulgent. And after spending time in our own heads, we need others to validate our efforts because we can't objectively judge them ourselves.

Success in this business requires acceptance from agents, editors, and readers. From the first two, we seek this acceptance by submitting, rewriting, and editing manuscripts, and all too often we get rejection letters for our efforts.

As for readers, we naturally want to reach as many as possible, and get as many of those to like us as possible. But because reading, like writing, takes place in a person's head, there often isn't any indication of how much acceptance we're actually receiving.

So we seek it out. We Google our own names, and check our Amazon rank and reviews, and track our website hits, and count our blog comments, and obsess over royalty statements, and accumulate MySpace friends, and hope that all of this will somehow make us less neurotic and more confident.

But it doesn't make us more confident. It makes us ashamed. We wonder why more people don't like us, at the same time despising why we consistently seek out their acceptance, and hating ourselves for doing so in the first place.

This blog is not going to show you how to be less needy. If you're a writer, that's impossible.

But it is going to tell you something all writers need to know.

It's okay to be needy.

So you can stop feeling bad that you crave approval. You can stop thinking you obsess too much over your career. You can stop worrying that you're some lone freak, feeling small and weak while everyone around you overflows with confidence.

Everyone picks their nose. Everyone masturbates. And all writers are needy.

Neediness is wired into the artistic temperament. Not only does it make us strive to succeed and improve, but once you truly stop caring about what other people think you become both insufferable and a lazy writer.

So go ahead. Embrace being needy. Seek out the approval of others, and when you find it, enjoy it.

And when instead of approval you find scorn, envy, bitterness, and hateful attacks, remember that they're only opinions---opinions that come from whiny, unhappy, nose-picking morons who masturbate waaaaaay too much.

Now I encourage you to leave a comment here, and then forgive yourself when you check back 17 times today to see if anyone responded to you.