Allen Ginsberg wrote, “Kill your darlings.” and he didn’t mean your family. He meant those great lines that after a while don’t seem to fit anymore, and you are so unwilling to send to their death. “But, but… that was like the greatest line ever to be squeezed out of a brain cell and to find its way to my page. What? Do away with a line that brought me so much joy? Never!” Hmmm… maybe that’s the narcissism everyone is talking about.
Years back in a workshop, I mentioned to my facilitator that I now had a website and that it was starting to shape up pretty nicely. I turned to a classmate and suggested he go there and take a look and then tell me what he thought. He laughingly said, “Been there! It’s all about RC isn’t it?” I didn’t know what to say, I felt he was attacking me for doing something that had been suggested by so many publishers and agents. Part of your platform they said, build it and they will come… However, it had become the RC Davis show, and now jealousy was going to rear its ugly head.
I of course, gave it a great deal of thought. I could see where narcissism could be an advantage. It’s inspirational to be narcissistic; it will help move you along. Give that necessary jolt to keep you going. If one can develop a fair amount of humility to counteract it, then, as soon as you are done for the day, shut it down. Use it when you need it, and leave it in your study at the end of your writing hours. Use it as a tool, then hang it on the pegboard at the back of your workbench upon days end, then, just walk away.
My goal with writing has always been to entertain. Give my readers a great story to get lost in for a little while, and take them out of their worry. One of the reasons I write Genre and not Literary. I want them to find that place that I always went to when I was a kid. That secret place, inside a book. A fantastical world that closely resembles the places we dream about in our sleep. I don’t consider trying to accomplish that as being beyond my reach, and if it takes me the rest of my life to do it, then so be it. If I have to sacrifice, and become a wee bit narcissistic in order to give you the best, then, well… so be that!