On False Claims From Bloggers

I came across a blogger recently who had some interesting things to say about herself. She’s young. A teenager. I remember reading that she’s been writing since she was 12. She goes on and on about how long she’s been writing, and how great she is at it. And then she claims to be an expert on writing YA. With loads of information that would greatly help other authors writing in the genre. She could barely write a blog post that made any logical sense.

Honestly, this person isn’t even the first to make somewhat outrageous claims. I have no idea what her fiction looks like on paper, but I can’t imagine it being much better writing than her blog posts. It just baffles me when people say stuff like this. It’s like everything is a competition or something, and they’ve gotta be winning it.

I’m sure there are plenty of solid and great writers on WordPress. And I’d bet most of them are working to be better, unlike some who think they’re on top of the world with their minimal writing ability.

Have you come across anyone who went out of their way to tell how great they are at something, and they really weren’t? I know you have.

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41 thoughts on “On False Claims From Bloggers

  1. Huh. I’m happy to say I haven’t come across this. Hopefully I never will.

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  2. I’ve certainly come across a few of these, though none as extreme as your example sounds. They often seem to be very young people. Maybe it’s a mixture of naivity and over confidence with a dash of self-delusion. They might genuinely believe they have some talent, though it’s a shame they don’t have a strong enough critical faculty to realise where their writing’s lacking.
    Most of us can see some of our own failings and try to improve on them. And always better to be self deprecating than over confident – people are more than happy to point out your failings if you brag too loudly πŸ™‚

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    • I think you’re spot on. There’s nothing wrong with confidence. It should be encouraged. But there’s something off when someone with very little experience starts thinking she’s got more knowledge and talent than everyone else. It’s also a little disappointing. Because I’m sure there’s talent and knowledge there, but not nearly as much as she probably thinks.

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      • And that talent may grow stronger in the future, with more experience behind her too. Always dangerous, setting yourself up as an expert in anything unless you have those 10,000 hours of experience under your belt. And she sounds too young to have done that much writing.
        I really want to see this girl’s site now!

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      • Yes. I remember reading Outliers and thinking, “Wow, this makes sense.” Maybe I should have recommended she read it. Hmm.

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      • Well, I think there’s a lot to say in favour of the theory – not sure about that specific figure, but continual practice is absolutely essential to getting better at something.
        I haven’t read Outliers, but I heard about what Gladwell says about successful hockey players having birthdays early in the year – that certainly makes sense. There have been studies here in the UK that say children youngest in their year at school (because of the way we run our school year that would be kids with a birthday during the summer months) are statistically less likely to do well than children born in the autumn and who are therefore the oldest in the year. It all seems to be due to rates of development, not necessarily ability.
        And yes, maybe that blogger should read Outliers – give her a hint about where she’s going wrong!

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      • Yep. If you’re interested in the 10,000 hour thing and a number of nice examples, then you might enjoy Outliers. I think one example he gave was the Beatles. I think. And how they were doing shows like six days a week for years. Something like that. It’s a great book with lots of insight. I’m saying that even though I was basically forced to read it. So it must be good.

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      • Yes, I saw that about the Beatles – 1,200 hundred gigs while they were in Germany. That’s quite some apprenticeship! It is really interesting – and who of us wouldn’t like to learn how to be more successful πŸ™‚

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      • Well they had a drive and determination to make that most people can’t even dream of. The number of hours they put in to really master their craft is insanity.

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      • Yep. I had no idea they’d played that much in Hamburg – they must have played a gig pretty much every day. They must have adored being on stage.

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      • I think it may have been multiple shows each night. I think. I read that book in 2010.

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  3. Despite the support system I have and any praise I’ve received for the writing I do, I have never considered myself to be a “great” writer. I think I’ve just always been my hardest critic in anything I do–which is why I’m always so surprised to hear of things like this. In most cases, I admire the confidence. But this seems a bit different, because it seems like she feels as if she has nothing left to learn. Maybe it’s a phase she’ll grow out of, though, or something she’ll learn the first time she gets harsh feedback.

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    • Exactly. I’m not currently writing anything substantial, but I know that when I start again I still have lots to improve on. Probably everything. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning and trying to improve as a writer.

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  4. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have confidence in your self and your ability. Really, when you think about it, it’s a little sad.. that person must not be so lucky to have the kind of networks or friends to support them or help them grow and improve as a writer.

    It’s not a false claim. Maybe more ‘misguided’.

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  5. I’ve come across it, and not in new writers. There are established writers whose blog posts make me wonder how they ever published a book.

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  6. I read: “teenager, writing since she was twelve…” but no, good thing that is not me:)

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  7. I think most of us were pretty confident when we were teenagers. Big fish, small pond. In some ways, that naivetΓ© is charming. You almost don’t want them to lose it, because self-doubt is a painful thing. But unfortunately, failure and critique is how we grow, and most successful writers had to pick themselves up from the dirt countless times before they “made it.” Stories about writers who never heard anything bad about their work and snagged an editor on the first try are just that: stories.

    I was pretty well lauded when I was that age too. But when I got older and started putting myself out there as a serious contender for publication, it’s suddenly like “whoa, look at all these little things you never even considered could be wrong with your writing.”

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    • I know. Some confidence and even just a little bit of unawareness aren’t so bad. But I think writers need, even at that young age, a greater sense of awareness than this girl has. How many writers who have yet to really accomplish anything would think they’re essentially perfect and set? None. At least none with some common sense.

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  8. Pingback: My Year: 2015 | Johnny Reads

  9. I was pretty confident in my writing as a teenager (if I remember correctly), mostly because I was the best writer in my middle school, which isn’t really saying much considering most of the students who went there… I think I would have been too shy to post anything like that though, it’s like asking someone to call you out. The years I felt the most confident were still before blogging had become common/popular and before “social media,” so even if I had felt like bragging it wouldn’t really have been to anyone other than my friends. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there will never be enough time to “master” the craft, there will always be something which can be learned or practiced to make better. I think this girl’s problem is partially that many young people today live too much in the “now” with technology. They post how they feel etc. as it happens and don’t give themselves time to reflect.

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    • Great point. Young people living in the now. And there’s nothing wrong with confidence, of course. But it’s a little baffling to see a 16-year-old think she’s a master at anything. Especially something like writing.

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  10. Yes. They’re known as Legends in their own Minds. Really, humility wins for me, every time… which one hopes comes with maturity – but unfortunately, doesn’t always.

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  11. John, I thought you were British because you used the phrase “spot on” at one point (veddy veddy English), and also I thought I spied you using the verb ending -ise instead of -ize, as in “realise.” Or similar. Anyway, doesn’t matter, does it! πŸ™‚

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  12. LOL. Yes, I think we’ve all met these folks. Unfortunately, a lot internet marketing folks tell you to this – claim an expert status. Consequently, the Internet is full of experts and very few who need to learn something, apparently. Frankly, if someone has something to teach me, I can usually tell without them having to tell me. Right?

    Annie

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