You’re so vain.

Have you ever liked one of your own blog posts on WordPress, whether accidentally or on purpose? No? Well, the other day I accidentally liked a post of mine, and though I was quick to unlike it, WordPress caught me out and sent me a notification. However, this wasn’t similar to all the other notifications in which you lovely people like my posts because you think they’re awesome. 😉

You're so Vain

Ouch.

Technically, the post was certainly about me, but that’s beside the point. Apparently liking it makes me vain. And you know what? So be it. I don’t mind being called vain for liking my own writing. There’s nothing wrong with feeling proud of my posts and novels, and I think every other writer feels the same way about their own work. In fact, I don’t think anyone would’ve gotten anything published if they weren’t.

Writers by nature are narcissistic creatures. We like to think that our writing matters, and we crave the compliments and get depressed at the slightest hint of criticism. We fall in love with our characters, ideas and words before anybody else, and we craft them lovingly and exercise utmost care in how we handle them. We think they’re perfect. Some might even see themselves reflected in their words. We might end up being the only people to ever love them, but that’s okay. After all, we write for, first and foremost, us.

Well, I'm not as bad as Vanity Smurf, but you get the gist.

Well, I’m not as bad as Vanity Smurf, but you get the gist.

I’m proud of my words. I realise they will likely never be as beautiful as Catherynne M. Valente’s, or as inspiring as John Green’s, or as chilling as Stephen King’s, or as magical as J.K.Rowling’s, or as funny as Terry Pratchett’s. The best I can hope for is that people find them enjoyable. I have mentioned before that I would like to write something amazing, but every time I feel like I’m close, I come across a book or a simple blog post that shatters that illusion (for example The Fault in our Stars by John Green – seriouslygoreadit rightnowitisbrilliant)… but still I feel proud.

I even feel proud of the crappy things I wrote as a kid which – ironically, in a moment of vanity – I threw away, thinking of them as embarrassing. They’re still my words. My brain children. My ideas. I’m a vain writer, and I’m not afraid to admit it. 🙂

What about you? Would you call yourself a vain writer? Are you proud of what you wrote, or would you call it conceited to think of your writing as good?

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42 thoughts on “You’re so vain.

  1. JackieP says:

    I also accidently liked one of my own posts a couple of weeks ago. Like you I got the ‘vain’ comment from WordPress. I thought it was funny. I think all writers have to be vain in liking their own writing. Otherwise if you hate it you wouldn’t keep writing. Even my worst writing is good to me. ha! I mean sometimes it amazes me how talented people are and like you I think they are great and that I will never measure up. But quickly after that thought I think to myself I DON”T have to measure up. As long as I keep feeling passionate about my writing and where it is taking me, in the end, that is all that matters. I may never write that next great novel, but I will still be doing something that I love.

    • The notification gave me a much needed laugh, but yes! I too appreciate my writing even at its worst. And you’ve got it right – we don’t need to measure up as long as the passion still there. And as long as one or two people really love it, then I’m happy. 😀

  2. Haha! You gotta give WordPress credit for their sense of humor. I accidentally ‘liked’ one of my FB posts once. That was embarrassing because even though I quickly ‘unliked it,’ it probably still went out in my followers’ newsfeeds. Talk about vain…

    • Another funny thing by WordPress… if you go to your notifications and click on “Unread”, it shows you: “Nothing here. Time to go bowling!” Then I do wish I can go bowling.
      And that must’ve been awkward! It sucks that Facebook notifies everyone else whenever someone new likes a post. I can understand a comment notification, but one for likes hardly seems necessary. =/

  3. Luckily I’ve never liked my own posts, not because people might see me as vain, but because it will look sad if I’m the only person liking it. (Ha! A little melodramatic! :D)

    I think all writers have some degree of vanity when they write. It is, like you said, their creation. They are happy when their creation breathes life, and they mentally kill anyone who criticises it. They might resort to some sort of physical violence, like punching a wall.

    Many of my writer friends are like that: they write and they all adore each other’s writing until someone from “the outside” says something bad about it. Then one of the friends goes into a agro-depressive fit, which takes two hours to placate. Having writer friends has it’s ups and downs.

    The above might be a little bit extreme, but it’s one of the reasons why I’m irritated with certain writers. You can be vain, I never said otherwise, but there’s a line between loving your work and being super-protective of your work. Some writers forget that different people have different tastes and that tastes (in the general sense) change like fashion. One day they may like the lengthy 19th century-style novels, and the next they want sparkling vampires. Next you’ll see that erotica will reach a major breakthr- oh wait… 😉

    I’m proud of my work (and even most of my comments ;)), because it is all helping me to be a better writer, but I do know that I need to listen carefully to the criticism I receive. If I don’t accept any criticism, then I won’t be able to improve as a writer, but if I take to heart all the criticism in the world, then I would just only confuse myself immensely and I think I would just stop writing altogether (which is VERY bad!).

    Personally, I’m always iffy about who I show my work to. I always choose people by their tastes in stories. I know it’s useless showing a crime mystery to someone who only watches “The Kardashians.” Maybe if my book turns in a movie might they be tempted to read the blurb and the first few pages… or just the blurb.

    So, in conclusion, BE PROUD! but not too loud that you start aggravating the neighbour’s dog! 🙂

    • Well, I can safely say that I have never resorted to physical violence, though I have huffed and puffed in mild annoyance. 😉

      And I know what you mean. One can be proud of their work without attacking everyone who says something a little bit mean about it. Without people having different tastes, we’d all be identical. Needless to say, that is rather boring. Also, I shudder to think about what the next trend might be. We don’t seem to be heading in a very nice direction!

      As for sharing your work… well, if you’re going to get published, you won’t have a say in who reads your book. That is one move that requires a lot of courage, and I hope you get to go through with it one day.

      Thank you for your comment, Dante! I always enjoy them because it is apparent how much thought you put into writing them. 😀

      • I agree, an identical world would be extremely boring!

        I know if I ever get published, that my work is going to be at the mercy of the public and then I would not be able to control what happens to my work. It has always been a very scary concept for me. Maybe one day I won’t be scared of what other people will think about my work and just allow my work to exist the way it wants to.

        It’s a pleasure! 😀 I don’t know why I write comments the size of essays. Probably because I just happen to have a lot to say about the topic, but I’m glad you enjoy them! 🙂

        • I hope you can do that! It’s scary, but ultimately it can be very rewarding. =D
          And I don’t mind! Gives me more stuff to read. 😉

  4. Wow! If an author doesn’t like his or her own work, why in the world should anybody else want to read it? I believe that successful writers have to be passionate about their work. Nice post. 🙂

    • Exactly! It’s important to love your work, because really… if you don’t love it, why should you expect anyone else to? Thanks, Chris! 🙂

  5. I’ve been struggling with facebook and wordpress so I end up facebook liking my posts all the time just to get them up and in circulation. You’d better like your own work, or why would you think anyone else would?

    • True! It’s kinda similar to that saying that goes something like, “You must like yourself before others like you.” I’m just paraphrasing here though!

  6. oh my gosh that notice is hysterical!!! I’ve accidentally liked a post of mine before, but not since wordpress has rolled that out!!! you’re certainly right, though, that there’s nothing “vain” about taking pride in your work. you SHOULD take pride in your work. Great post!

    • I thought it was pretty funny. WP has a great sense of humour. And definitely – one needs to be proud of their work even if it’s bad! Thanks, Victoria. =D

  7. Hi , Zen!
    When I started blogging and , completely anaware of all the buttons around , liked my own post ….. I was immediately reprimanded by WordPress!
    Now I move cautiously with my fingers ,because I don’t want to be called vain ….. ( though I’m proud of my posts…)

    • Haha, I’m going to be more careful with the buttons too. Don’t want to be called vain either!
      Also, I don’t know if you saw my comment, but you won a copy of Puppet Parade in my blogiversary giveaway. Do let me know the format of your preference and your email so I can send it to you. 🙂

  8. LOL. I had to go check my notifications for the bowling message. 🙂 I don’t think it is conceited to be proud of a good piece of writing. It can take a lot of practice (aka crappy writing) to get there, which is also something to be proud of. Just be clear in your own mind what your rationale for pride is!

    • Oh I’ve had a fair share of crapping writing, so I know what you mean. One should definitely be proud of the amount of work they’ve put in to hone their skills. 🙂

  9. I’ve definitely accidentally liked one of my books, but I un-liked it quickly. It’s not so much that I feel vain, I mean, ultimately we all write for ourselves first and foremost, but it just seemed self-apparent. I mean, who writes and posts something they don’t like!

    Enjoyable post 🙂

    • Haha, that’s exactly why I unliked my post quickly after. Even if I like my own posts, I don’t want people to see me as a show-off. 😉
      Thanks, Elene!

  10. I thought I had answered to your previous note , offering me a copy of Puppet Parade, but it seems I didn’t press the right button…( again ! )
    Sorry,I accept with much pleasure !
    (How can I send you my account,without making it public ?)

  11. ~ oh dear, you know i am so vain and wordpress confirmed it. i am not ashamed to admit that i clicked the like button on my post because i want to see what would happen — if wordpress would allow it or if they would notify me. and they notified me indeed, which made me smile all the more because i was expecting for a reply on their end (knowing that i did something that i should not do). just like in facebook, i never click like on any of my posts there but how come on wordpress i did just that? well, i guess we could blame it on my probing nature, having worked as a qa/tester through the years. btw, let’s be proud that we are somewhat “vain” bec. after all, we should be proud of our work, right? not to mention that you post original and creative stuff, better be vain and proud at the same time, zen. hey chocoholic pal, we are in the same boat! cheers! 🙂

    • Haha, it is rather amusing, isn’t it? 🙂 And I never like my posts on Facebook either. Then again, I’m so out of sync with Facebook these days that it doesn’t really matter. And thank you! That’s nice of you to say. We definitely should be proud of our work!

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