How To Big Up Your Writing (Without Sounding Arrogant)

By on October 23, 2017
How To Big Up Your Writing (Without Sounding Arrogant) - Writer's

One of the things that many writers would agree they could be better at is being more confident and able to talk about their achievements.

So often authors who have written a book, or writers who are currently working on and genuinely passionate about a project find themselves completely clamming up when asked about what they are working on or what it is they do.

Sometimes we fear we come across as snobbish or arrogant ‘oh I’m a writer don’t you know?’ Or we merely get the fear that someone will pull our idea to pieces, or perhaps say something annoying and obvious about how difficult it is to make money writing. Or possibly, (the worst) will simply look incredibly bored and disinterested when we start enthusiastically talking about our latest writing project.

Because of this, it is much easier for us to dismiss our writing, to get all shy and coy about it, or to avoid the subject altogether.

However doing so could mean you miss out on some great opportunities. For a start, being a writer is massively interesting to most people, and having written a book is an awesome achievement, so you should be proud of yourself - whether it is on the bestseller list or not. You also never know when you might be talking to a publisher or agent who loves your idea or even a potential fan who’ll go out and buy your book the very next day.

Above all, this, of course, is the fact that we should be able to talk eloquently and enthusiastically about our writing without feeling embarrassed or worried that we will be mistaken as self-obsessed, arrogant or delusional.

So how can you talk about your writing when the opportunity occurs? Here are some helpful tips:

Be able, to sum up your story coherently and confidently.

If someone asks about our writing, we can often get flustered if we aren’t able to quickly sum up what our story is about. We either go into way too much detail, are seemingly unable to tell the story in a linear fashion, forget seriously essential parts which help make it make sense, or are so brief that it sounds incredibly dull. Practice summarising your story in an interesting way so that when people ask ‘so what’s it about?’ you can tell them confidently without going into every single detail.

Be enthusiastic.

If someone asks about your writing chances are they are genuinely interested. If you start every sentence being self-deprecating, i.e. 'it’s a bit of an odd story', or, 'it’s probably not very good', you’ll either sound irritatingly coy about it, or they’ll believe you and won’t be interested to hear more!

Be prepared for questions to be asked.

Make sure that you know your story inside out and can answer questions such as ‘why does that happen?’ ‘How are you going to make people believe that part?’ ‘How did you come up with the idea?’ and ‘how do you plan to market your book?’ You aren’t being quizzed, they are just interested, but you do need to have answers prepared, so you don’t look like a fool.

Listen politely to other people’s ‘additional’ ideas.

Of course, if you talk about your book you are going to have to put up with people’s opinions about it and reactions to it. They’ll also probably ‘helpfully’ suggest ways you can alter your story to make it ‘even better’ - listen to them, you never know they might come up with something you haven’t thought of before!

Stop yourself before you say too much.

Remember, it’s easy, once you get on a roll, to talk about your writing project all day. But don’t ramble on about it for hours without pausing for breath. If their questions run out or they don’t seem that interested then know when to stop, otherwise you do run the risk of seeming a little self-obsessed.

Be honest about what you have achieved.

If you’ve self-published and your book hasn’t done that well, that's OK. It’s still a huge achievement, and you don’t need to make it seem otherwise. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if your book didn’t get picked up by a traditional publisher. Plenty of authors self-publish because they believe it is the right thing to do for their book - and become way more successful that way anyway.

Of course, you will always make a slightly negative impression if all you do is talk about yourself all evening, whatever the subject, so do remember to spend an equal amount of time talking about them too!

Talking about your writing accomplishments is not something you should shy away from. Your writing is a huge part of your life and in some ways is what makes you who you are. So embrace the fact that you are a writer, be proud of it, and be prepared to speak up next time you are asked!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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