Skip to content

Whatever you do, don’t be a needy writer

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
2 min read

Before I crack on with this post, I should probably get one thing clear. This is as much a note to self as it is advice or comment. We can all be needy writers from time to time and I’m no different. But that doesn’t make it right.

First, let me explain what I mean when I talk about being needy.

Needy is that craving for attention that you often get as a writer. It’s that feeling that becomes aroused after spending hours, days, weeks, months or even years on a writing project and finally deciding to show it to the world.

It’s what happens when you want recognition.

What’s the problem?

Hey, what’s wrong with a little love when I’ve worked so hard? Why shouldn’t I expect a pat on the back? It took me ages! I deserve it!

See. You even sound needy when you’re arguing that it’s okay to sound needy.

The problem is, you’re likely to be at your neediest when you’re asking for feedback. It’s when you’re vulnerable because your writing fate is handed over to someone else. All you want is a positive response. It’s nerve-wracking.

And that’s the point at which you must also remain cool. You need to be the coolest you’ve ever been, like an eskimo’s nipples or the Fonz. You must retain your objectivity. Avoid getting giddy.

If you don’t stay cool, you’ll get nothing from the feedback. You’ll be so worried about whether you’re good enough that you’ll interpret every hesitation and every trace of red ink as some huge disaster. Any positives that come your way will drown in your stinky sea of self pity.

You’ll behave, dear readers, like a bit of a tit. And that’s no good. It never is.

What’s the solution?

The obvious remedy to needy-writer-syndrome is to somehow find a position on your carpet that allows you to quietly, privately get over yourself. But that’s easy to say and rather difficult and painful to do.

However, one thing you must always remember is that most writers feel just like you do. Many will be feeling the same way at exactly the same time, wherever they are in the world. Being a needy writer is normal.

But you should try to fight it. If you’ve reached a point with whatever you’re doing where you want to ask someone for feedback, then ask them for feedback and expect feedback.

Now that’s a lot of feedbacks, but the point is this. You have to accept the rough with the smooth. You’re asking someone for an opinion on your work, not confirmation that you’re as brilliant as you certainly hope you are.

Don’t be needy. Be cool and improve your writing.

Image: sirexkat

Share your thoughts

Are you a needy writer or are you kool like the proverbial kukumber? Is it easy to stay objective or inevitable that your emotions will run wild? Get talking in the comments section below!


Iain Broome

I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica and the sender of Draft Mode, a weekly newsletter that helps you improve, publish and promote your writing.