I like when a writer knows their work is good. I like when a writer is unapologetic about their talent and doesn’t make excuses for their ambition or success. How can you expect an editor to fall in love with your writing if you consistently diminish your own talent? When you say read me, like me, accept me even though I hate me, that’s false advertising.
It’s a shame that we don’t see a lot of genuine confidence in the writing world. Part of it is that many writers are dealing with any number of neuroses and insecurities. I count myself as part of that population. Part of it is peer pressure. Secretly, most of us think the world of ourselves. When it comes to the public face we paint on each day, self-deprecation becomes de riguer because we want to fit in. It’s what everyone else is doing. We say we’re not that good or we’re lucky or we’re not as good as and then offer a list of writers who are bigger better stronger faster. Maybe that isn’t necessary.
Many writers fear being branded with the scarlet letter of arrogance. However, confidence is not synonymous with arrogance. I acknowledge that there are many arrogant writers in the world. (Stop looking at me!) Sometimes that arrogance is justified. Other times, it is largely unfounded. Two things, to my mind, distinguish confidence from arrogance—talent and humility—but humility doesn’t mean pretending you aren’t an amazing writer. It means acting with grace whenever possible. It means keeping your talent in perspective and remaining open to criticism and rejection and reality. Â And let’s face it. If you’re talented enough, you don’t need much humility. Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasions to change.” In the spirit of that sentiment, share your honest arrogance with us.
Happy Fourth of July Weekend, Americans. And for the rest of us, TGIF! Coming Monday, a fun fun interview wtih the editor of You Must Be This Tall To Ride, B.J. Hollars.