A.J. Hartley: A drop of arrogance

Have to point you toward this excellent blog post by fellow North Carolina author A.J. Hartley, a Shakespearean scholar and prolific author of everything from grownup thrillers to young adult novels and a new novelization of Macbeth — and a great guy to enjoy a pint with at any writing conference. The basic message: Don’t be a poseur. But acknowledge that, when the world has millions of novels and stories, thinking that it needs one more from you is arrogant, anyhow, so you may as well own that and use it to propel you:

Let me add another necessary but much maligned word: arrogance. Writing requires a little of that too. I realize that plenty of writers are fairly shy, retiring types who relish the quiet and solitude of a glowing computer monitor, but I’m not talking about being an extravert in personality terms. I’m talking about the kind of arrogance that says “I have something to say: a story to tell: a way with a phrase.” I mean the arrogance which is required, which is NECESSARY to say to friends, family and (ultimately) the world in general “I’ve written this and you should really read it.” It takes courage to start writing a book, but it takes a certain monomaniacal arrogance to finish it.

Having just watched the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team lose to Florida State last Saturday because they didn’t walk onto the court with the swagger — and serious determination — they deserved to have and needed to win, this rings especially true.

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