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Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm so vain...

I probably think this post is about me…

This has been a stellar week…

It's all about me
Backstory: I was blindsided by family members accusing me of spending too much time on the internet since launching my author platform. They think I've become a complete narcissist, caring only about what "people I don't know" think.

Logically, I know this is not the case… I did my research on author platforms (I like how Steve Umstead explains it---> here.), and in all honesty, I don't care about twitter numbers or blog followers. If you like me, fantastic. If you don't, no harm done. I don't even have a blog schedule for crying out loud. (I just post when something comes to mind).

BUT, I will be the first to admit it, I enjoy people. I enjoy connecting to all of you. I'm the extrovert in a family of introverts… Does it really make me vain?

In my family, we actually have people who are affected by narcissistic personality disorder. So to be slapped with this kind of label is more than upsetting. It means something. It's the highest form of insult.

I can usually let stuff roll off me… take what I need, let go of the rest. I bounce back.

This has not been one of those weeks.

I try very hard to keep balance. Evidently, I'm not balanced enough for their liking. Their reasoning? I can't go more than an hour without having to check Twitter. I can multitask by making supper, cleaning, changing diapers and twittering all at the same time. (In fact, I live for the challenge of it.)

Everyone has good and bad days with balance, I suppose. I know I'm no different. But my kids are fed. They are clothed and we do fun things. My house isn't in complete shambles (dust bunnies may be running amok, shhh…).

None of them understand Twitter or blogging. (It's just to stroke my own ego, right?) Hell, I didn't understand them until this past February. So I get it. Doesn't mean their words hurt any less.

Twitter, in specific, has been an eye opening and lovely surprise. I've met amazing people and you (yes, you) make my day rich because of it. Yes, it's true--->I can honestly say I look forward to chatting with my fellow miscreants. It's like the water cooler for the virtual job on my computer screen and in my head.

In my "real life" jobs… I work with family members or I work alone. As I said earlier, I'm the ONLY extrovert of the family. Dealing with just family members every day doesn't cut it for me. THAT is when I start to go insane. Additionally, in their eyes because my job as a writer isn't paid, it doesn't matter as much, I guess. I shouldn't take it as seriously, or something. Even though it is what I love to do.

*scratches head*

I'm sorta befuddled.

What are your thoughts? Does interacting on Twitter and writing a blog (with stories about ME) make me a complete narcissist? Am I insane for thinking I was heading in the right direction?


Amelia James said...

No you're not insane. You're a writer. In order to sell our books, we have to sell ourselves. It's part of the job. Anyone with experience in sales or marketing knows that personal relationships build the best customer/reader loyalty. If a reader feels like they know you a little, they're more likely to buy your book and eagerly anticipate the next one.

Our families don't get that, and they probably never will. But they don't have to

J. A. Bennett said...

Oh my gosh, I feel exactly the same way.
My family doesn't get it either and they don’t understand why it's so important to me. Writing a blog in no way makes you a narcissist. Aren't you talking about other bloggers all the time? Plus extroverted writers (I'm one myself) need to talk through the stresses of writing and why not talk to other people who understand?

Anyway I'm going off now, but I will say, don’t give up. This is your dream so forget what every one else has to say about it because some day it will pay off.

KendallGrey said...

You know my thoughts on this, but I'll reiterate. As long as you're taking care of your family and nothing else in life is suffering, keep doing what you're doing.

No one becomes successful by sitting on her ass. You have to work at it. That means you write, create a platform, and sell yourself through social media or whatever means at your disposal. That's what successful people do. End of story.

I'm behind you, girl! Totally.

Sherry Adrian Dumpprope said...

My only advice would be, why do your family members feel the need to comment on what you do with your time? People generally think about themselves, so it must trace back to them somehow. Perhaps they have lost valuable time with you that they previously cherished. So instead of having a heart-to-heart of how badly they miss something that has now been taken away (your time), they are lashing out in anger that you chose strangers over them? That may be how it looks to them.

Perhaps setting aside designated time to just "be" with your neglected family members without any interruptions would help? (Try to see it as a compliment that they adore your time and attention so much, though they should focus on communicating a little more politely!)

And just so you know, my above rant isn't about me at all. Personally, I feel like we have become closer because of this dream that you are pursuing. We have learned so much about each other in talking about your characters and story. But we are both super analytical, so it works for us. ;)

Ava Jae said...

Carissa! You're not insane nor a narcissist (I know narcissists too, and from what I can tell you are nothing like them)--you're a writer.

I take it you don't have very many writers in your family. Many writers don't (including me) which is why your family doesn't understand. Like most people, they equate productivity with someone that pays the bills. They think writing/blogging/building your platform can't be your job if it's not drawing income, right?

It's something that many writers have to deal with, and yes, sometimes it can be a little hurtful. But don't worry, there's a community of people out there that understand exactly what you're going through.

Keep your chin up and keep doing what you're doing.

charlie nitric said...

Hi Carissa -

I've become quite attached to Twitter myself and punted FaceBook for the most part. I never know what to do in FB 3 minutes after I get there, lol. With Twitter, you really do have the world at your fingertips and for the most part, in real time. I've also discovered something about Twitter that's not the norm with FB. As a whole, the people on Twitter are real...not many frauds I've experienced at all. I'm glad I met you on Twitter. Keep on Tweet ya Big Tweep, lol. ^5

Anonymous said...

You're not alone in feeling this. As life has gotten complicated, people get married and move farther away, socializing in person has gotten harder. My family lives just 6 miles away, but I have no car, and so never see them. They complain loudly if they want to do something on a day when I work, or a day when the bus service doesn't run, and I explain the amount of time it will take me to visit them.

They don't get it either. And we use facebook to chat, somewhat.

Being the square in a family full of round pegs myself, I just had to learn to explain that my meaningful interactions are on twitter. They happen with a group of people spread across the whole country. And if glancing at my phone can keep me in the loop, then so be it.

What makes you feel good cannot be bad. Especially if the other facets of your life are not falling apart. I think your family is just jealous that there is something out there you truly enjoy. That enjoyment doubtlessly hovers around you in an aura of happy, and they get disgruntled about it.

Kate said...

Well, most who reply to this are going to agree with you. That being said, I do completely. There's nothing that says this is harmful to anyone unless this is interfering with your life or keeping you from doing what you normally would.

That being said, there are people *ahem,the ex,ahem* and I use the term people loosely, that believe social media ruins marriages, destroys lives, and basically transmogrifies into this giant menacing dragon that will eat small children, pillage and set fire to small towns, and eventually destroy the world. These types of people don't see talking on the computer as talking to people because they only do the face to face or over the phone. They don't understand.

Stepping away from the true narcissists who are just jealous of you taking attention away from them, there may (might) be a teeny point here.

If (IF, PEOPLE) it is interrupting your conversations or interactions with other people, that's really the only reason I see for complaint. Is it eating your time up that you were spending with family? Maybe they are upset with the fact that you are spending less time with them but are displacing blame. You've written a book! That takes time and they can't be mad at you for that, so what else takes up your time? Twitter, blogging... internet. Ok, let's blame those things instead.

Either way, you do most of this stuff while you are at home, alone, taking care of your kids and working from home. So, What the hell does it matter?

Anita Grace Howard said...

You are NOT a narcissist. Writing is lonely (not to mention it can make us downright neurotic) and networking with peeps who GET that because they're wired like you is the best way to keep sane. So ask your fam if they want you functioning/multi tasking, or lying in a drool of slobber with your head plastered to the keyboard. Because that's the alternative. Yeah. Tell them that. Harumph.

cherie said...

No, not a narcissist. A true narcissist only cares and sees themselves completely. As in, COMPLETELY. I know 'cause I've met people who are true narcissists. Social media and networking is only bad for you if you are so immersed in it you have lost grasp of your reality, your real life. If you are shunning real, face-to-face company for a chance to tweet or blog, then yes, you should be alarm. If you've become obsessive to the point of neglecting your family's very basic needs (like forgetting to feed the kid's the whole day or something) then yes, you may need to take a step back.

I know you're a good mom, so I don't think you are selfish or self-absorbed. Being a writer is part of who you are. If they're asking you to cut off this part of you, then they're the ones with a problem. I'm sure they'll come to understand...hopefully. Sometimes when people are extra needy, it's when they want more or at least enough to tide them over till the next wave of extra-neediness comes by for a visit.

Carissa Elg said...

Thanks, for all the comments, guys. I really appreciate your feedback and your support. It was really a surprising week for me.

If my family just wants a little more time, I am perfectly down with that. But there are better ways to ask.

As they say, This too shall pass…

Love you!

Erica Lucke Dean said...

My family was having a hard time with my constant devotion to writing, tweeting, and managing my website until I had a little temper tantrum. I screamed at the top of my lungs that it was my turn to pursue my dreams. It was my turn to put myself first. I had never done that before. Everyone else had been given a turn and now it was mine. Oh sure, they thought I was being selfish, but at the same time, I think they realize it really is my turn. They all know how much this means to me, and even though they forget at least once a day, I think they are starting to get it.

I wish you all the luck in the world getting your family to see the big picture. It's a beautiful view.

T.S. Welti said...

First off, you are NOT narcissist.

This is such a touchy subject for a lot of us writers who are still in the process of building a platform. As everyone here has already said, those who are not actively engaged in trying to build an online presence don't understand the importance of it.

The bottom line is that you are doing this because you are dedicated to your dream of becoming a successful author. Part of that means dedicating yourself to social media. Our families aren't always as supportive as we'd like them to be. It took my family a while before they understood the whole social media thing. But don't let that lack of support stop you. Who am I kidding? I KNOW you won't let that stop you.

Andrew Kincaid said...

Nah, I wouldn't say that blogging about yourself is narcissistic, nor is using social media. It isn't inherently so - sure people often use it to stroke their own ego, but it can also be a wonderful way to branch out and meet new people. For introverts like myself, it's especially good. It's all the fun of socializing, but with an off button :D

I find that it is often the case that, when someone tries to make a change in their life, there are people there to tear them down. Be it writing, working out, or otherwise. Usually it is because your action somehow threatens their Ego - they feel bad about themselves for not following their dreams, and so tear down someone else who does. It's kinda like tearing down all the other houses on the block so that yours looks better.