July 1, 2009

An odd topic for a blog on Robots and Accordions, but I had to do an assembly on the topic this week and it got me thinking about being a writer.

Writers sometimes have an image of being pale types who spend their time locked up with a word processor as they can’t face the real world.  Personal experience suggests that all sorts of people become writers, from sporty extroverts to introverted geeks.  A good thing, as they all bring different perspectives to their work.

But what about humility? Are they a humble bunch?  Well, I have met writers who show off constantly, and other writers who are modest and self effacing.  Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be any correlation, positive or negative, between the level of success enjoyed by the writer and the need to show off.

The trouble is writers are constantly encouraged to raise their profile by attending conventions, doing readings and signings, visiting social networking sites or keeping blogs, just like this one.  Most of these things are admittedly enjoyable, but it can get awkward treading the line between talking about something that you think is interesting and simply showing off.

Is there a problem with showing off in this field?  It irritates me when I see writers bragging about their latest sales figures or new contracts signed, but as some of those writers are far more successful than I, perhaps they have the right idea.  Has anyone been put off buying a book because they know the author to be arrogant?

As I said at the beginning, this entry was brought about by an assembly I was putting together for this week.  Here are a couple of quotes I liked…

You shouldn’t gloat about anything you’ve done:  you ought to keep going and find something better to do

David Packard CEO of HP

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.