The other day I was reading Jessica Love's blog post "It's My Livelihood." Where it ticked Jessica off when a guy at a party came off snobby about the wine they were drinking and then justified his arrogance with "It's my livelihood." Then later in the evening the guy bashed "The Hunger Games" books. Jessica, the good YA writer she is, came to the books defense with a heavy dose of her own "Well, it's my livelihood, bee-outch!" (She may or may not have said bee-outch.) The point is, Jessica berated herself for being the douche bag that annoyed her earlier. I think Jessica is wrong. I've met her a few times, love this girl! She's fun and positive and nothing even remotely douche baggish.
People with low self-esteem often exude arrogance instead of confidence. Arrogance belittles the people around you. Confidence inspires. I find in our little writing world a bit of both,unfortunately. And sometimes the two are confusing. It has taken me quite some time to learn the difference.
My first experience was once when I exchanged a chapter with a fellow writer, three years ago, to see if we would be good CP's. Um...no. It wasn't the negative this writer pointed out in my work, but it was how they said it. They spoke down to me. Instead of saying "Pacing slow" and why, they wrote "BOR-ING" or "Yawn. More yawn." Though their comments were correct, it was their arrogance that turned me off. Not to mention when I read their work in return, I expected it to be mostly flawless. It was the opposite of such.
Writing is a tough business. We should surround ourselves with confident writers, not arrogant ones. People who build you up and look after you. If you are a new person to the writing/blogging community (which is doubling intimidating) you might first mistake arrogance for confidence. Be aware of how you feel after a tough critique. I'm not talking about the initial, dude-I-am-not-the-literary-genius-i-hoped-to-be-and-this-shit-is-work low feeling, we all get after a tough critique. But do you feel somewhat inspired, enlightened or maybe pointed in the right direction on what needs work? Or do you feel tiny and pathetic to core and think you might be better at toothpick counting?
Don't let other people's insecurity make you feel small so they can feel big. Find a core of uplifting writers and surround yourself with positive people. You will prosper so much faster in the industry and in life itself.