“I think writers are the most narcissistic people. Well, I mustn’t say this, I like many of them, a great many of my friends are writers.” –Sylvia Plath
While some people view Plath as a tragic case of depression and madness, I find her fascinating, and not surprisingly, highly relatable. The first time I read “The Bell Jar” I felt like I had to immediately start reading it again, both relieved and slightly spooked that someone could speak so directly to my own emotions and write about them so articulately.
She was authentic, she was unapologetic, she was the type of writer that I want to be, and lately I feel I’ve been slipping away from that for some reason.
“I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.”
I’m overly aware of the fact that many people think blogging is selfish and very “me, me, me” all the time. In some ways, of course it is. It’s something I do to express myself, a place where I can write about whatever it is I want to write about with no rules or regulations.
But just as I tell myself that, I simultaneously find myself getting caught up in an attachment to results and reaction. I question myself on a regular basis based solely on the fact that I see so many other people “making it big” who seem to recycle the same ideas in a way that can be described as average at best.
I don’t say that in a narcissistic way, but at times I simply want to throw up my hands and say, “Hey, Internet. WTF? What do they have that I don’t have?”
It’s not just about writing any more, it’s about marketing, something I’m not comfortable with at all. The fast-paced world of Twitter and blogging often feels like a bunch of people standing in a crowded room screaming to be heard, and quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to keep up and wonder, “What’s the point?”
“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
I like writing humorous things, but when I start writing about something more personal again I feel overwhelmed and like I’m leaving something out, which to me means I leave room for misunderstanding or assumption to sneak it.
I worry that someone will read it the wrong way or cast an inaccurate judgment. I edit myself to appear a little less vulnerable than I feel in real life. I default to something more safe.
This is very un-Plath-like, and to be honest, very un-Abby-like as well. And while I know that this quarterly rant of mine about my own insecurity is ironically narcissistic in and of itself and of little to no interest to you, maybe you can relate.
Maybe you’ve found yourself slipping back into “safe” mode with whatever it is that you do instead of remembering that in order to have your voice heard, you have to stay true to your authentic voice.
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
Plath didn’t worry about Tweeting out her work or keeping up with what everyone else was doing, and she sure as hell didn’t worry about whether or not anyone approved of her writing. She wrote “simply because there was a voice within her that would not be still.”
That’s artistic, not narcissistic, and some damn good advice.
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And don’t worry. My next post is lighter and channels Martha Stewart…lord help us all.