It’s often interesting to do some soul-searching. Why do we write? We all take pride in what we write. Or just call it satisfaction after spinning a good yarn. (I’m obviously talking about fiction, but you can extrapolate to your circumstances.) Some people, even readers, might think that our pride or satisfaction makes us narcissists. Admittedly some writers carry that pride a wee bit too far.
I can see it in some blurbs or descriptions of books. Here’s a recent one: “Compelling! Provacative! Informative!” There are worse: “Sure to be a bestseller!” Or “Author Hits a Home Run!” The rest of the blurb might actually provide some information, and maybe they were written by PR personnel with an acute case of superlativitis, but if they were written by an author, narcissism might be indicated.
I’ve seen it in book fairs. Authors full of themselves extolling the virtues of their writing. Authors reading from their magnum opus in a boring monotone, offering a cure for insomnia instead of perceptions about their book, including its important themes. Worst case: authors reading for their own audiobooks! Next worse case: authors in love with the pronouns I, me, and mine in book trailers (at least Patterson seems to avoid that). I’ve also seen great humility. Being humble is a virtue. Nowadays there are many good books and good writers. I feel lucky some reader chooses to read one of mine.
Some creative people want to put themselves on a pedestal so that other mere mortals can worship them and bask in the light of their self-defined genius. Of course, non-creative people do that too (we even have a president who’s a narcissist—if that were his only sin!). It’s all about ego. While some feeling of self-worth is better than depression and suicidal tendencies, a balance must be struck. Relating to other people is a skill many of us lack now (including the U.S. president), but huge ego trips don’t help.
If you’re writing for self-aggrandizement, don’t. In fact, if you’re writing for any other reason than love of writing, your motivation is ill-conceived. Odds are you won’t have a bestseller, but you’ll maybe have a few readers who are fans. Odds are you won’t hit a home run in Yankee Stadium with your book either, but you might with your after-work softball team. (I’m guessing it has to be a print version if you swat at the ball with a book—hey, baseball season is almost upon us!)