Narcissism is just one of those qualities that comes with the job. You have nobody but Mr. Google and Dr. Wikipedia. Most of your friends are imaginary (different versions of yourself probably). And you use "I" and "me" more than any other pronoun. You're so shut out you use self-referring pronouns most.
Taking Psych Central’s Narcissistic Personality Quiz revealed something I’ve long suspected in myself.
I’m a narcissist.
What is a narcissist? A person who is so full of themselves they have no more room for others. They believe they are more important, entitled, and special than everyone else. A word which use has been tripled in the last decade thanks to the advent of social media. Yes, boomers love to throw the word around at us “self-entitled millennials”.
Now of course, two things came right to mind: a) tests can be inaccurate especially in a long-term scope; many people like myself answer personal questions based on how they are presently feeling and the results may change when taken again a few weeks or months later; and b) I shivered at the thought like I had some form of mental illness. Some people have “diagnosed” me with autism or “something” because of my inability to relate with others. I had little empathy and a strong focus on myself. “The universe revolved around me”.
But it’s only because I’m a writer. As writers, you must have this strong sense of narcissism. Why else would you write? Don’t buy the crock when a writer especially a journalist tells you they are as objective as can be. Even the most voiceless of these folks make a mistake or two. Subjectivity belies their bold claims.
As a writer, you write because you believe what you say matters. You think your unsolicited opinion about something so grand or so petty is of importance to humanity. And it goes beyond teenagers setting selfie records or that Facebook “friend” of yours who posts like it’s twitter – every two minutes.
No, as a writer you go deeper into yourself pulling out whatever you can find to build your own world. A destination not just for people to read but accept. And love. And cherish. And (for the most part) you’re doing it all by yourself maybe going out occasionally to ask a few message boards or writing groups what they think. But it all comes down to you.
You’re your own hive’s queen and worker bee. You’re the CEO and intern of your own company. You are the alpha and omega of your book. You’re the big bang that started everything. To publish a novel, you need to dedicate numerous hours of solitude and just focusing on you. Your thoughts. Your ideas. Your plans. Your future book.
That much focus on yourself, it’s no wonder you’re developing narcissism. Selfishness is required. But it still eats at me because I have no idea if what I’m doing – turning myself into such a self-absorbed and remote individual – is going to pay off. It’s a major risk. To minimize your social interactions, to push people away, not want to take part in their life because you have other imaginary lives to develop.
Writing is 24-7. Whether you’re at a non-writing job you can’t help but think about it. Obsess about it. Some days you love it and some days you don’t care. Sometimes you want to just drop it and never think about it again. Maybe you won’t. For a day. A week. A year. A decade.
It is solely for self-expression. Self-fulfillment. This isn’t for the benefit of others or for mankind. It is a privilege and a curse to pursue this ambition. I am blessed with being able to pursue a dream of sharing a completely subjective interpretation of the world because the need to do it is feels wired into my DNA.
No matter what I do, I know writing will be all I know. And all that I can do and will do. And of course, I’ll do it with passion and conviction.