Am I More Self-Centered Than I Think?

As I read why other authors write and reflect on why I write myself for the first writing assignment, I’ve noticed a pattern.  The parts that have really resonated with me is the idea that I write for myself.  And, while that sounds like George Orwell’s idea that a “strong motive” for writers is “sheer egoism”, I don’t see it that way.  I agree that all writers probably write for personal reasons, but I don’t think that makes them egotistical.  It makes them human.  I mean, why write if it isn’t cathartic or at least enjoyable in some way?  If a writer doesn’t enjoy what he or she is writing, then why write at all?  What is the point of sitting down and writing something if you hate what you’re doing the entire time?  At that point, you might as well just get a job doing something else boring and monotonous (although I won’t say what, since something I find boring might be someone’s dream job).  But, as a writer, do you really want to look like this all the time?

My personal answer to that question is no.  I think that writing should be fun and entertaining and at least slightly self-serving.  When I write something, even if it’s just a class paper, I want to enjoy it and be proud of what I’ve written.  And, in my opinion, that’s not being too self-centered.  When a scientist makes a particularly exciting breakthrough, he or she is allowed to be proud of what was accomplished.  That scientist might present the findings at a conference or just tell their peers what a great discovery was made and they aren’t considered to be even the least bit conceited.  When I write, I feel like I should be allowed the same privileges.  I should be allowed to be proud of my work and happy about what I’ve accomplished and if I want to post on social media or tell my friend how good I feel about what I’ve accomplished, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.  I believe that humans are inherently proud when they accomplish something they’ve been working on for a while and that doesn’t make them egotistical.  It makes them human.  So I guess what I’m saying is, although I agree with Orwell that people probably write for their own personal benefit, I disagree that it means they are writing for “sheer egoism”.  They are just expressing themselves and following their human nature.  So, in my opinion, feel free to be proud and do a little happy dance if you write something that you think it particularly brilliant.  Don’t worry, I won’t judge.

                    

2 thoughts to “Am I More Self-Centered Than I Think?”

  1. Katie,

    I loved the gif additions to this piece- the multi-modal dimension added character and drove home your points. I agree with you entirely in that it is healthy to write for yourself and be proud of what you have accomplished. When I read Orwell’s piece it seemed like he was being satirical, because in my opinion writing is not so much egotistical as it is personal. In fact, I think that sharing one’s writing and releasing it to places where it is vulnerable to criticism and disagreement can be quite brave and selfless. In this post you summed up your feelings clearly in a way that was well written and made me smile!

    🙂
    Kaitlin

  2. Katie,

    I really enjoyed the way you justified the ego involved in writing. I feel that Orwell overstated the role of selfishness in writing, and he seemed to completely overlook the fact that writing should be, and is, an enjoyable experience. When Orwell said writing a novel is a horrible experience, and that he was positive his next book would be a failure, I was really confused. Like you said, writing should be fun and result in a feeling of pride. Orwell was extremely accomplished, yet he made writing seem like torture. Your insight into academic writing was refreshing. I have always loved turning in the final copy, and I think it is the feeling of pride that comes with creating something. Although the process of writing can be full of stress, coffee, late nights, and emotional breakdowns, I always think it was worth the effort. If we aren’t having fun, and being selfish, I feel like writing would become robotic and lose it’s artistic, and academic features. If your words didn’t capture the essence of celebrating writing, the dancing gif definitely hit the nail on the head! Nice post, really insightful connection with pride to counter Orwell’s idea of selfishness.

    Clinton

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