Many people contact me, seeking guidance on how to launch themselves as “Writers of Narcissism.” Every time, I’m thrilled that a fresh perspective, a unique lifetime of stories of narcissistic abuse will become available to all of us.
But here’s the thing: everyone makes it too hard, too complicated.
You want to write about narcissism? Here’s some tips and tricks.
Play to your Strength
Like Sheldon Cooper, I’m a big believer that “it’s called a comfort zone for a reason.” Everyone has different gifts and I believe we should embrace our gifts and play to them. That’s not meant to discourage you from writing about narcissism. Rather it’s meant to direct you to the venue where you will shine.
Let me tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, I found myself transferred to the IT department of an international medical corpporation. We were engaged in rolling out a new, proprietary medical software to each of our clinics. One member of the team was assigned to teach hundreds of users how to use the software, mostly via online webinars. Naturally, she was also assigned to write the user guides.
There was only one problem: she couldn’t write. She wrote as incoherently as she talked. For four years, I “edited” (actually, rewrote) every guide she wrote. She hated it; I hated it. While writing wasn’t her strength, she had other skills. She should have played to those strengths.
No one was more pleasantly surprised to hear the words “You’re a good writer” than me. But I wouldn’t be caught dead making a YouTube video or recording a podcast. That’s not my strength so I don’t play to it.
But YouTube might be your métier. Or podcasting. Poetry. Songs about narcissism. Or, yes, writing. Think about it carefully and choose the venue most comfortable for you.
Talk to Me
People make writing way too complicated. For me, writing is nothing more than putting your way of talking on paper. Just talk to me.
If you and I were to sit down together over lox at Bruegger’s Bagels (oh, how I crave it!) and have a conversation about, oh, parentification or cult-like families, it would sound much like my articles on that subject. I talk to you in Narcissism Meets Normalcy exactly as if you were here, in this room with me.
If I say “outta,” then I write “outta.” Or “gotta.” Or other abbreviations and colloquialisms. It may not be “proper,” but it’s real. It’s human. It makes my articles approachable, down-to-Earth and fun. Or so I’m told.
Tell me a Story
Growing up, my favorite time of the week was Saturday night. That evening Dad settled down with a huge (and I mean huge!) bowl of popcorn and waxed eloquent. He told stories about his childhood. Stories about playing sports in High School. Stories from the Civil War and WWII inspired by all the history books he loved to read. I grew to love stories and admire skilled raconteurs.
What is more powerful? Talking about “narcissists’ lack of empathy” or telling you about a parent who told their son (now my husband) that, “If we take you to the hospital and there’s nothing wrong with you, you’ll get the thrashing of your life.”
He had appendicitis.
So tell stories. Real-life stories in your writing. They’ll get the point across much faster than all the pontificating in the world. Plus, people need to relate their family to your family, their narcissistic abuse to your narcissistic abuse…in detail. That’s the best way to fight against denial, denial, denial.
Life is the best inspiration. Life will give you your article topics. Current events. Memories of past events. Something you read. Inspiration is golden. Every time an article topic occurs, write it down immediately.
While some writing classes suggest outlines and suchlike, I suggest you take a nice, long, hot shower. That’s where I write my articles: in the shower. The whole thing is drafted in my imagination, from start to finish, in soapsuds and clouds of steam. Then I rush to the keyboard and type it down before I forget it. Oddly, each article is almost exactly 1,000 words long – give or take. That’s really a little too long.
Spice it Up and Make it Funny
How do you talk? Are you sarcastic? Do you throw in some salty language? Anecdotes? Humor?
Then do that in your writing! So many comments and emails have specifically called out the humor in my writing as a feature readers like! Such a dark, dour, unhappy topic as “narcissism” needs some humor to lighten the mood.
Nothing deflates and defeats narcissism (and every evil) as humor. We learned that from Charlie Chaplin’s movie The Great Dictator. By mocking and mimicking the evil dictator, Chaplin stole his power. Evil, narcissism, control thrives on being taken seriously. A good ol’ belly laugh leaves it gutted. Don’t forget to make your writing humorous!
Of course, there’s the boring technical side of writing. So let’s dispense with it as quickly as possible.
- Learn good grammar and punctuation. (Then, take liberties with it.)
- Look up the definition of all questionable words.
- Don’t be afraid of adjectives and adverbs!
- Don’t talk down to your reader. Use unique words. (The thesaurus will be your best friend.)
- Do use section headlines to give readers a chance to catch their breath.
- Include quotes from other writers, poetry, songs, movies, etc.
- Insert clips from YouTube, etc.
- Link back to your past articles.
- Attach good tags so Google can find you.
- Educate yourself regarding defamation.
To drive hits, cross-link with other people’s sites, such as this one.
And my favorite thing: make connections between things, as Katherine Hepburn said in Desk Set. Movies, poems, songs, historical events, news events — use “connected things” to lead into the narcissism-related topic you want to talk about! I just did it by mentioning Desk Set!
Out-Lasting the Haters
Prepare to be hated. Haters gonna come outta the woodwork and hate, hate, hate, hate, hate! If you expect it, you won’t be so surprised by it.
Most of them will be strangers. Some will be acquaintances. The worst will be family members you are writing about. Within two weeks of Narcissism Meets Normalcy, a sorta’-kinda’ relative had tried to get PsychCentral to give me the ol’ heave-ho!
Here’s the trick: haters tucker out quickly. All you have to do is outlast them. When they can’t discourage, threaten, terrify nor shut you up (thanks to a little thing called “Freedom of Speech”), they’ll give up. It won’t take long. So stay the course and don’t be intimidated. Keep writing!
Do you want to write about narcissism? Then for goodness sake, get off your rusty-dusty and just do it! Many websites are free and user-friendly to set-up. That’s what I did. Created my own website in 2015, started writing about narcissism and the rest, as they say, is history.
Don’t hold out on us. Tell us what you gotta say. The world and all of us will be richer and wiser for it.