Being a Writer without being a Total Bitch

Sometimes being a writer involves seeming a little self-centered. We write in genres WE like, not in ones other writers prefer. We choose a story idea based on what WE think is good. Even if we are in a writing group, we still use our own best judgement.

But the side effect of being an independent writer type is that we can take the ego thing way too far. There is a long cultural history of egomaniac writers that no one wanted to be around in person. And with the advent of the Internet, we can offend and drive away mass quantities of potential readers. But we don’t want to do that.

One example of a too-bitchy writer is Stephen King. In the early years he won over a lot of Christian and conservative readers with his novel ‘The Stand. ‘ Most of us were willing to give King a chance.

But then the internet came along. King was free to express his political opinions online. And when those opinions were not just different from my own but included hatred and contempt for people like me…. Well, I no longer buy Stephen King novels. I like authors Declan Finn and Jon Del Arroz better anyhow.

Writers do well to try to be decent human beings, or at least do a good job of faking it. Be civil to strangers, even ones who are unkind to you. Don’t beat your wife, kids or dog. Don’t poison your rival writers, or even use the ‘poo’ emoji when mentioning them.

We live in a society where a lot of people think being nasty is the way to get ahead. But it’s also a way to utterly sink yourself. If you gain a rep as being always civil, even kind, to others, you may not win the respect that deserves, but you will at least avoid alienating those you need to win over.