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Writer's Introspection: Are All Writers Egoists?

Writers are terribly self-centered.

Now, don’t get offended. I’m not really talking about all of you. I’m pretty much talking about me.

Strangely enough, I don’t think anyone in my non-writer life would label me an egoist. Or an egotist, for that matter. I had to look up the difference, but there isn’t much of a distinction, as far as I could tell.* Anyway, I can’t picture someone calling me either one of those. At least not to my face.

With my family, colleagues at my day job, and with neighbors and friends, I try to be a good listener. I try to be generous. I take time to be there for them, to encourage them when they’re down, to support them when they’re mourning. I care about family and friends and frequently make sacrifices for them.

I sound pretty great, don’t I?

Ahem. Read on.

In my writerly world, I am horrified to admit that I have recently come to learn I’m a HUGE egoist.

Look at the first few paragraphs in this piece. How many times did I use the word “I?” TWELVE! It’s always all about what I think, or what I noticed, or what I wrote. Isn’t it? (Of course, I guess it might be hard to write about what you think or notice. LOL.)

I started to ponder this recently when I had a confrontation with a friend, and she pointed out to me how much I write about **me**. After a bit of soul searching, I realized she was right.

But it got me to thinking.

I try to be a good guy. I really do. This is in spite of all the stupid things I do, like dribbling my red herbal tea on the new carpet at work yesterday (I spent an hour cleaning it) and consistently forgetting to attach files to emails. If it can be screwed up, I’ll do it.

So, I’m an egoist and a klutz.

That’s not all. No. Not only am I all of the above, I’m mean.

REALLY mean.

I am merciless to my characters. I put them through the wringer time and time again, without care for their suffering. I torment them. I make them endure horrible losses. I hurt ANIMALS, for God’s sake. Okay, so I rescue them in the end, but what kind of a jerk does that to poor, defenseless animals?

Sigh.

I suppose we writers can always pretend to sit back and be the philosophical documenter, the great observer, the quintessential Hemmingway-esque witness of life. But however life presents itself - brutal or tender, seedy or majestic - all fiction comes from our inside our own minds. It’s all about how we see it. How we imagine. How we think our characters would feel.

Isn’t it?

So, how do we compensate for being such egoists?

It’s not as bad as it sounds. It certainly isn’t hopeless, and I’m pretty sure we can redeem ourselves.

Maybe we can find redemption by setting good examples through our characters' actions while they're in the midst of dashing here or there during the page turning suspense.  One thing I never intended to do with my three mystery series was to teach lessons about nurturing a family, tending to a disabled wife, dealing with trauma or loss, or being a good father or grandfather. Those things just found their way into my books, because my characters do that stuff in their everyday lives. To my surprise, my readers have come back and thanked me for doing just that. It humbles me to think that by including some amusing family scenes in the middle of the mayhem, I might have actually done some good. One fellow actually told me I made him a better dad. And another wrote to say I got him through his chemo. Like I said, it’s all pretty darned humbling.

Can examples like these make up for my weaknesses and faults? For that great big ego? For my incessant ranting about me???

Man. I sure hope so.

Aaron Paul Lazar

www.lazarbooks.com

 

 

Egoist, noun

1. self-centered or selfish person (opposed to altruist).

2. an arrogantly conceited person; egotist.

Egotist, noun

1. a conceited, boastful person.

2. a selfish person; egoist.

 

copyright 2015, Aaron Paul Lazar

Books by multi-award winning author, Aaron Lazar:

 

LEGARDE MYSTERIES

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)

UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  

TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)

MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)

FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)

DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)

THE LIARS’ GALLERY (print, eBook, audio book)

SPIRIT ME AWAY (print, eBook, audio book)

UNDER THE ICE (print, eBook)

LADY BLUES (print, eBook, and audio book) 

 

MOORE MYSTERIES

HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)

TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)

FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

 

TALL PINES MYSTERIES

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)

ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)

SANCTUARY (print, eBook, audio book)

BETRAYAL (print, eBook, audio book)

 

LOVE STORIES

THE SEACREST (print, eBook, and audio book)

THE SEACROFT (coming soon)

 

ROMANTIC THRILLERS

DEVIL’S LAKE (print, eBook, and audio book)

DEVIL’S CREEK (coming soon)

 

WRITING ADVICE: 

 

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3  (audio books)

 

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases, THE SEACROFT: a love story and DEVIL’S CREEK.


AWARDS:
The Seacrest

2014 Best Beach Book Festival WINNER, Romance category

2013 ForeWord Book Awards, Romance, FINALIST
Double Forté 

  • 2012 ForeWord BOTYA, Mystery, FINALIST

Tremolo: cry of the loon

  • 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Grand Prize Short List
  • 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction
  • 2011 Global eBook Award Finalist in Historical Fiction Contemporary
  • 2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place Mystery
  • 2008 Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books
  • 2008 MYSHELF Top Ten Reads

For the Birds

  • 2011 ForeWord Book Awards, FINALIST in Mystery
  • 2012 Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads

Essentially Yours

  • 2013 EPIC Book Awards, FINALIST in Suspense
  • 2013 Eric Hoffer Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist
    Healey’s Cave
  • 2012 EPIC Book Awards WINNER Best Paranormal
  • 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, WINNER Best Book in Commercial Fiction
  • 2011 Finalist for Allbooks Review Editor's Choice
  • 2011 Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnson's 9th Annual Noble (not Nobel!) Prize for Literature
  • 2011 Finalists for Global EBook Awards

 Terror Comes Knocking

  • 2013 Global Ebook Awards, Paranormal – Bronze

For Keeps

  • 2013 Semi Finalist in Kindle Book Review Book Awards, Mystery Category

Spirit Me Away

  • 2014 AuthorsdB book cover contest, Silver medal.

 

www.lazarbooks.com

www.murderby4.blogspot.com

www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com





ParaDon Books Publishing



 

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Tags: amazon, authors, book, books, clubs, ebook, indie, manuscript, network, novel, More…paradon, publishing, writers, writing

Comment by P.I. Barrington on February 13, 2015 at 7:42pm

Most creative people who are producing work for consumer consumption HAVE to be a bit of an egotist. Otherwise no one would ever know about our art, writing, music, etc.

You have to have a certain amount of self-confidence otherwise you'd never be able to produce anything!

I worked in radio for a lot of years, on the air live, and there is no way I could have done it if I hadn't learned to be confident, very confident; if I hadn't stopped being a wallflower in that or any other profession. 

The difference between confidence and egotism (or egomania) is that confidence is knowing everything there is to know about what you do or at least enough not to be terrified to do it; egotism (which I think is an off-shoot of knowledge & confidence) is acting as if you know everything, lol. It's a fine line but it's there. If it wasn't, no major and/or influential author would never be interviewed or allow themselves to be quoted.

It's knowing the difference that counts. But you still need confidence or self-assurance as a writer. It's practically a requirement.

JMO

Patti

Comment by P.I. Barrington on February 13, 2015 at 7:44pm

Oops. A double negative in the sentence about major/authors! 

Comment by Alberta Sequeira on February 15, 2015 at 9:11am

I like the article by Aaron Lazar about using "I" so often. I think the most important thing I learned from my editor was using the word "it" without describing what "it" was. My editor got very frustrated with me. 
Example:

It brought so much fright to me. (What did, what was the it)

Now that it passed (what passed)

Mary, said it was okay to pass it along (again what was okay and what we it they passed)

Every time I write my stores now, a bell goes off and I come to a complete stop writing the word it; not that you can never use it (see, meaning using the word). If "it" is something that can be described to bring meaning to the event or character than give every detail you can about "it." 

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