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Don’t Be Selfish

March 5, 2009

Growing up, we didn’t have an abundance of money. My mom worked a multitude of low paying jobs. That and child support, we barely kept our heads above water. Don’t get me wrong. We weren’t homeless poor. We always had what we need which is more than what some can say.

Back in those days, I felt guilty about a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have even worried about. For example, I hated asking my mom for more shampoo when the one in current use wasn’t empty yet. I felt guilty if I had more than a few items on my Christmas list. I hated making Christmas/birthday lists period but was always forced to. I hate asking for things unless I absolutely need it. I feel the same way towards writing.

I read an article in the Sunday edition of Tulsa World about writers being selfish. Some writers are selfish when it comes to advice or providing connections. The publishing world is competitive. Don’t want to give someone a leg up. Help them to get the spot you want and/or deserve. Some may think this is as trivial as me feeling guilty about asking for shampoo, but I can understand such fears.

Personally, I’ve never met a selfish writer. You certainly won’t find them here. We’ve been dishing plenty of advice for the last couple of years. Have you ever met a selfish writer? How would you react to someone who refused to help you in any way? Would you take it personal? If so, why?

  1. March 5, 2009 2:12 am

    You must have been a very good daughter, you’re mom is so lucky to have you!I haven’t met any selfish writer and mostly good ones and you’re definitely one of them.

  2. March 5, 2009 5:43 pm

    Hi Andrea – you grew up in a similar situation to I did and your words really struck me. I realise that I do not ask for anything for myself or ask for help in my writing ( and other parts of my life) as in my perception – it would appear selfish.

    The eldest of 6 kids, I knew money was tight and would avoid anything that would mean the sorrowful look on my mums face as she stammered a reason it might not be a good idea to do or go or have this particular item.
    until I read your post I never realsied what an impact that has had on my writing.. thank you

  3. katecp permalink
    March 5, 2009 8:36 pm

    I’m grateful that I know I’m not the only one who dislikes (or disliked) making Christmas/Birthday lists and asking for things I really didn’t NEED. It still bothers me; I don’t like to bother others I suppose. However, my family isn’t tight with money, but we aren’t loose either, so I can only imagine.

    I’ve never met a selfish writer. I feel like I’ve been adopted officially into my love of writing by NaNoWriMo and everyone there is as un-selfish as one could get. Although, my mind says that I’m bound to meet at least one selfish writer in my lifetime. I find that hard to believe.

  4. March 6, 2009 4:49 pm

    katecp – It’s nice to know I’m not the only one either.

    Annie – I’m glad I could help. 🙂

    Kim – Thank you! I think sometimes my mom considers me a blessing compared to my brother who doesn’t hesitate being selfish all the time.

  5. March 8, 2009 9:16 am

    I wonder if it depends on whether a writer comes from the mind set of scarcity or abundance – as to whether they are selfish or not.

    In my experience I agree with you Andrea – that writers are not selfish. What I have found with some older writers, is that they are rather weird about sharing of ideas. Or perhaps that’s just the women in my writers grou? They are always telling me to carefully guard my ideas and that I shouldn’t put my writing up on the internet – someone might steal it.

    If I thought like that I would be welcoming someone to swan in and steal it. Part of my creative process is sharing and bouncing ideas off others. But I guess that’s not everyone’s style or comfort zone.

    Because most writers are in their own state of poverty (how many of us actually earn a living from what we write) that requires a myriad of juggling acts – I don’t think we’re in a position to be selfish. There is something about not having a lot that bands and united people.

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