Why Selfishness is A Necessary Virtue for Writers by Vangile Makwakwa
George Orwell said, “All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery.”
Too many of us equate being selfish with being self-centered; narcissistic and being completely indifferent to others’ needs.
But what if we change the way we see selfishness and choose instead to see it as putting ourselves first?
When we put ourselves first and honour our wishes, we give those around us the space to do the same and raise the bar!
Being selfish to me means loving yourself enough to nurture myself and my dreams. It means being able to acknowledge my need to do what I have to do to write, which really translates to living my truth and spending less time pleasing others.
Selfishness Can Be a Virtue
Almost every romance movie has some girl who has no voice, is giving her all and putting everyone first before her and then the guy of her dreams suddenly notices that she’s an angel, falls in love with her and they live happily ever after.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like the movies.
A writer who spends their entire life putting themselves last and suppressing their own desires is harming themselves and compromising their creativity.
When Should You Be More Selfish?
I believe that writers have to be selfish.
They have to be selfish enough to make time to put thoughts on paper and share them with the world.
You have to be selfish enough to tell say no to friends requests to go out because you want to spend all day focusing on one sentence and improving your skills..
But mostly you have to believe that the things you write will impact people and change their lives in some way.
How to Be More Selfish as A Writer
1. Make writing your number 1 priority
Most unselfish writers are the ones that spend their days nurturing everyone and getting sucked into others’ drama and putting their writing on hold. By the time they actually sit down to write, they’re drained and exhausted and then feel resentment towards all the people that bring this drama into their lives.
2. Just do you
Look after yourself – your health, your emotional wellbeing and your psychological wellbeing.
Care enough about how you feel emotionally and keep it real.
Break down if you need to, but just make sure you don’t stay down. Write about your breakdown and make it part of your story. This is how I got my publishing deal.
I started writing about my depression and suicidal thoughts with relation to my finances and eventually the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) asked me to be their media spokesperson and one day on TV a publisher saw me and asked to see the draft for my book.
3. Live your truth
It’s one thing to edit your writing style but it is another thing to edit your message altogether.
Sometimes we spend a lot of time, altering our message to please everybody which means we are honouring everyone else’s truth above our own.
Why did you become a writer?
4. Release your need to self-sabotage
When you allow people to intrude on your creative time, edit your voice and turn down one in a life time opportunities, self-sabotaging.
Be honest what you want from your writing career and dedicate your energy to making it happen
Learn to say NO to people who are sucking you into their drama and craziness.
I’m interested to learn what others think about being selfish as a writer? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!
Vangile Makwakwa is a renowned author and speaker. She specializes in teaching others how to use their emotional intelligence to create wealth. She has been featured in various media including O Magazine South Africa. Connect with Vangile at: www.wealthy-money.com.