I have a confession to make. Sometimes, when I’m reading the many, many things I’m working on and I know that being a bad writer doesn’t necessarily lead to being a good writer, and I know that I am pompous in my writing style, that I am an arrogant author and I, often, cannot look past my own narcissism to see points of view which might enable me to improve, I read some of the responses I’ve had to my work.
When I first started trying to seriously write, I put a small part of Adjective Narcissism up on Reddit, hoping that I’d get a few comments on how I could improve it, etc. Obviously, I knew even then that that was going to be a mistake, but I still held some vague kind of hope that there might have been someone willing to offer a little advice to a border-line alcoholic student trying to make sense of the thousand, thousand philosophies I had exposed myself to in the previous weeks.
Of course, the only response I got was ‘can’t believe I wasted 10 seconds of my time I hope you get some kind of cancer’ which, you know, was nice. I wrote it down on a post-it note and had it stuck to the side of my monitor whilst I was writing the rest of Adjective Narcissism and when I was typing up God Metaphor.
When I was writing GM, I posted some examples of Adjective Narcissism on various forums for self-published writers and the like; the one reply I distinctly remember said ‘this is why us real self-published authors have a bad name.’
Neither of these comments really angered me, I took them in, I’ve read them over and over again and thought about how bad I am, about how I don’t deserve to have access to a keyboard or a pen, about the world we live in which can create such worthless wannabe creatures as myself. I don’t know that I’m over it, exactly, but it has made me more likely to share the things I’m writing. I realised a few things which I’m going to save for other times like this, when it’s almost midnight and I have to leave for work in seven hours (unpaid work, mind, but still work).
But I have received two reviews which I think I am happy with, over at OnlineBookClub. Both Adjective Narcissism and God Metaphor seemed to have been quite well-received, no doubt better than I would have said they are, for all that I find them interesting (well, I would, I wrote the bloody things). I don’t know that they are exactly a confidence booster, but I read them too, occasionally, though not as often as the ones telling me to stop what I’m doing, to die in a hole or fuck myself.
I don’t even know why I’m writing this little update thing now, really. Maybe it’s because the first draft of the Caitiff is finished and I’m too exhausted to edit it. Maybe it’s because I secretly want more people to casually tell me to stop, and I can mask my narcissism with an intent to ‘show them’, like a young boy enthusing over a World War.
I’m not scared to try and submit the Caitiff to those few publishers who are likely to even give the thing a read, I’m apathetic. I’m the kind of man parts of the Caitiff rage against and I suppose, in a way, that is just another form of narcissism. Or maybe not; who cares?
Maybe I’m just tired, maybe my mental exhaustion is gaining on me, wearing me down like the oceans I long to dream of, but never quite manage to. Maybe I am what’s wrong with the self-publishing industry; maybe I’m trying to convince myself I’m an artist, even though I vehemently deny it to myself. I think I would be, if I was talented and tragic and lounging around Paris in black turtlenecks and a monotone filter; but I’m not. Maybe I’m just a figment of my own imagination.
It’s been a long day. Expect the irregular misery hidden behind the thin veil of joyous self-deprecation I tend to expound over the weekend. I’m going to bed.