Sometimes, writers are a little selfish.
We occasionally start new projects because we’re interested and excited about them, not because we think others will benefit from them. At least, not at first.
We sometimes provide writing advice we ourselves need to hear, instead of doing it just for someone else.
Sometimes, we’re terrible people.
Except not really. We’re simply human.
A lot of the time, we consider ourselves first, and others second. It just so happens that our ideas are relatable enough that we simultaneously end up serving others more than ourselves.
Does that make us bad people? Of course not. If you haven’t noticed, writers talk about themselves a lot. It’s not always because they mean to or because they think they’re better than everyone else (I suppose there are some who think that way …).
It’s because they’re talking about writing from their own perspective. It’s like when I share a professional writing experience with you to talk about a lesson I learned or to give you an important reminder. I thought of it because it happened to me first. I’m just passing along the “wisdom.”
We’re all a little bit selfish. As long as that’s your starting point, and somewhere along the way you transform “I’m doing this for me” into “other people can really get something out of this, and I might, too,” you’re not in the wrong. You’re completely normal. Congratulations! You are not a robot.
Not everything you do, say, or write has to be about your audience. You don’t ALWAYS have to put them first. At least, not AT first.
If you have an idea for a story, and you want to write that story regardless of who may or may not want to read it at some point in the future, for goodness’ sake, write the story anyway!
If you want to start a blog to build up content to show prospective clients or employers, but you might also be able to help other people or provide a service for others in the process, let that be your motivator. Don’t put off starting a blog because you’re not sure it will fit into a “popular enough niche.”
Embrace your selfishness. Your humanity.
I’m going to dare to say, it might make you a better writer. A more relatable creative. As long as you’re going about it honestly, and constructively. You can write things for yourself and still do great things for the world that way.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.