Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Humblebrag and some Navel Gazing.

I am attempting some time in The Land of the Living.  Thank you for the kind comments left on my previous post, the shortest post I will likely ever write.  Unlike this one.

Some new terms irritate me but I rather like this one.  It is, at least, rather fun to say.  Try it: humblebrag.  It is both a noun and a verb and was apparently coined by a writer of an American sitcom called Parks and Recreation, which I do not watch.  I do not watch it because I do not watch television, which is not a humblebrag because I must add that I spend what could be my television watching time on the internet.  Perhaps commenting on blogs is more satisfying than talking to the television.  Anyhow, my time on the internet has meant I eventually stumbled across this new term.  It's probably old now, but it's new to me.

We all know at least one person who humblebrags and perhaps do it ourselves sometimes. If we spend any time on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook we have experienced the humblebrag.   Essentially, for those of you even less in the know than I am, to humblebrag is to brag but add something self deprecating or negative in order to attempt to hide or downplay the bragging.  There are worse things to do in this world than toot your own horn but anyone who does it constantly is a boring companion and interestingly I think, it may be more tolerable to be around someone whose bragging is a bit more overt.  It's natural to want to share your exciting news, your happy moments or the things you are proud of with your friends and family.  With the rise of social media, sharing it with the world is the new normal and celebrities seem to be quite prone to it as well as the rest of earth's mere mortals.  

I have spent a good deal of my life learning to graciously accept a compliment, to find the right combination of modesty and confidence and along the way learned that much of my instinctive self deprecation, my tendency to say 'oh no, I'm really not that good,' can look like fishing for compliments and attention.  I am sufficiently self aware (bragging here) to know that it may indeed hold some of that to some degree.  I am less than proud to say I was always someone who needed a great deal of validation though I didn't seek it or ask for it.  If it came, I probably wanted just a little bit more, please.  At the same time, I had been raised to value modesty.  Bragging was a sin greater than sex before marriage and akin to vanity.  To be thought immodest would be devastating.  I am pleased to say (another small brag) that I have grown somewhat though I still struggle with these tendencies to self deprecate.   At what line does modesty become lack of self confidence? Where does seeking encouragement become an over reliance on compliments?  And conversely, Where does self confidence become vanity or bragging?  The line is a bit wavy.

For most of my life I have dabbled in art and writing but never until very recently dared to actually call myself a writer or an artist.  Hooray for some personal growth there too and thanks to a reworking of the definitions I now do, though still a bit hesitantly, call myself both.  What I desire is to be good, really good, to please people with what I create and what I create is by nature meant to be shared.  But I do not actually expect greatness (whether or not I should is a whole other psychology text book)  and everything I create is ultimately done for myself first.  That sort of selfishness was another thing I would once have shunned.  But back to this sharing idea.  I am taking steps to put myself and my work out there, as they say.  Even when it is raw, unfinished or experimental.  I am indeed scared at times.  To be told my work pleases someone is the greatest thrill but it will not please everyone.  Learning to be comfortable with that is a lifelong lesson for me, I think, though I like to think I am now more in the practice stage.  In the end what pleases me is the doing of the work, the creating.  Some final results I like better than others.  Although I am a very solitary person for an artist or writer, I am taking my first steps towards being less so.  I loathe the idea of groups but the internet is less scary.  How is that?  Likely through total deception.

If you have actually read all of this I love you!  If not here is what all that babbling and blethering is getting at:  I am working on a novel and am going to start publishing a chapter at a time on this blog.  Even if it is crap I will persevere but I am certainly hoping it is not or has the potential not to be.  I hope some people will read it and give me honest but gentle feedback. You will find it under Scribblings and Other Words on the top right margin of my blog.

 The Ultimate Guide to Relaxation, a new books soon to be released by Sophie.

* That's my leg on the left.


  1. I say GOOD for you! Can't wait to see your writing.

    It's all right what you are saying - I feel lots of similar feelings. I create because I cannot NOT create. I was a writer and artist (not necessarily in only "visual arts" sense - much, much broader sense) before I even realized that I was all those things, let alone called myself "writer" or "artist". At times, I am afraid that I am perceived as an immodest bragging kind. But at the age of 41, I am tired of wasting my life being afraid and caring what others think of me. The truth is, most of people do not really think too much about others (including me), and when and what they think about us... is none of our business. :)

    So I post whatever I create... other than my style blog, I do not get much response. But I'm not going to quit anyway. You never know how things that you create affect someone else. I get reminders of it from time to time. And even though we do not create "for" others, yes, there is this huge desire to share, and it is there for a reason. You said it brilliantly - stories are meant to be shared. There is nothing more to add. At some point, everything we create will find its audience.

    ps I love P&R - it's on Netflix, by the way. It's warm, funny and fresh, with quirky characters who care about each other, not such a common thing on TV... though who am I to judge - I do not watch TV for the last 10 years or so. :))

    Love and hugs and wings to you!

    1. I am so glad you reminded me a bout your other blog with your sketches! I had added it to Bloglovin and then stopped using that and was using my blogroll here and forgot to add it here. I've done it now. I think it is great that you are drawing and sharing it and I love the confident lines of your drawings. Soon I will be buying one of your paintings! I think perhaps you are going to specialise in light fixtures. ;-)

      I have put a link to my writing on the right margin of my blog-Scribbles and Other Words

    2. Thank you, Shawna :). About the sketches... I don't have ambitions, it's only one way of exercising creativity - surprising to me because I did not draw for many years. It comes and goes. I had periods when I was into artistic photography, into sewing, into knitting, into container gardening, into interior design, into cooking - and the most complicated one yet - creating, designing and building from scratch a new community, including school. I wrote a blog about it, and possibly some day it will be a book. I consider all of these things exercising different forms of creativity, different forms of art. They all were meant to be shared (you are spot on), but at the same time born from the pure desire to create. Writing is the one form which stays with me through all these years, the rest of them change. I think blogging is my main form of art for now... To me, it is my art.

      I will read your novel chapters, glad that you published them! I think sketches/drafts/scribbles are fascinating and worth sharing. We are more familiar with artistic (visual) sketches, and much much less familiar with writing sketches. I actually did series on my previous (Russian) blog of daily writing sketches and loved it. We need to get rid of the silly idea that every published word/sentence/paragraph/story HAS to be a finished, polished piece. It's just not how it works. I have so many thoughts cooking in my head around this subject. Maybe I should write all of it in my blog, not in yours. Sorry :) But that is precisely the reason why writing groups can be precious. But they have to be with the right people - you know what I mean? with sort of your writing soulmates, not just anyone who writes. OK, I better stop here. :) I am really, really happy for you that you started publishing your creative writing in a separate blog or "department" of your blog. Rock on! :)

  2. oh wow shawna! i´m very exited to read your novel! i loved the little episode you published here months ago. your "humblebrag" explanations make me laugh and think at the same time. we really need to be proud about ourselfs and what we create! there is one who will love it - sure. but if we never "brag" (i.e. show it!) nobody will know!

  3. AHHHHHHHHHH, so there's a term for it. I sometimes worry I'm doing this when I talk about school stuff on my blog since I only try to post positive info in case any colleagues or parents found my blog.

    I sometimes get frustrated when people compliment me for something I do not deem compliment-worthy and always want to convince them it is not but inevitably, this feels like fishing sometimes. I played a flute solo recently and I felt it was ok but not brilliant and I somehow don't want people to think that's the best I can do. Ho hum, hard to get a balance. Should just accept the compliment and keep schtum. Good luck with your novel! Tres exciting! X

  4. AAaaww, Sophie is so fluffy I'm gonna diiiieee! I am so happy you decided to start a novel, and I bet my ass it's not going to be crappy at all! I would wait patiently for each chapter ^_^
    I used to put myself down every time, especially when people complimented me. Now it's quite the opposite, I'm so sick of my low self esteem I intentionally present myself as the coolest, sexiest, most intelligent freak ever to have lived in this forsaken world. I do it with irony of course and with a dash of humor, but it's easier then to just throw up something like "blah, I suck at everything" :D

  5. Wonderful! Though I must admit, when I read your title I was like, "Parks & Rec fan? :D" Another mash-up I like to use is 'complisult' which is from the show Community. You say a compliment to someone but in a sarcastic and insulting tone.

    I'm so excited for you that you're writing a novel, and how cool of you to share it with us. One of the hardest things for me is putting something I have created up there because it internalizes to me that it exists, and that I must accept it for what it is and accept myself for not being perfect at something (or even being terrible at it!) right out the gate.

  6. As always, the best questions don't have pat answers. We all do the "what? little me?" thing ... women are particularly susceptible to the brain washing. Boys, not so much. They're rarely told to soft pedal the self confidence. I use self-deprecation a LOT ... but I try to pull it from a desire to amuse .. fine lines indeed, and less from the neediness you mention and that we all share to some degree, if we're honest. Thoughtfulness and a love of clarity are virtues you have in big heaping doses, so you'll be dandy, I just know it.
    I try never to critique the visual art of friends ... my experience has been that no matter how much we say we want it, it's rarely well given or received. I'm not qualified to critique writing at all, so you're out of luck if you want my opinion ... but I'm more than happy to cheer you on!
    Hope you're feeling much groovier when you read this!

  7. Wow, how great about your novel! I am excited to read it as you publish it here. The whole taking compliments thing is very hard for me, too. I really try to be better about it, but I almost always end up brushing it off or saying something self deprecating, which I am certain annoys the compliment giver or makes them think I am fishing for more. It's tough. I should just learn to say thank you and move on! Good for you for putting yourself out there more. I think that is awesome. It is definitely something I also struggle with and I find this post very inspiring!

  8. Yes, the margins are small here, aren't they? While constant self-criticism or downplaying are as irritating and unhelpful as relentless self-promotion, the lines are blurred...
    Well done on your plans for sharing your novel, I am another one who is cheering and encouraging you from the sidelines! xxx

  9. Lovely to hear you have returned to the land of the living and creating again! I have left a comment on your writing page. Xo JJ

  10. Another one cheering you on from the sidelines!
    I'm not sure what I find the most irritating, massive egos or the woe is me brigade. Fortunately I'm no longer trapped in the workplace with people like that, my real-life & on-line friends are all equally fabulous. xxx

  11. Cheering you from across the world special lady ... I certainly will be reading your novel!!!


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