Make Sure You Don't Have a Horrible Personality

I’m a huge fan of the Ira Glass talks on storytelling.

You can find the first one here; you could also follow me on YouTube and find them all stockpiled in my “favorite videos” list.

In the video I’ve embedded above, Ira Glass talks about one of the biggest problems with submissions he receives for his show:

The person has a horrible personality.

Who are people with horrible personalities?

The ones who only seem able to talk about themselves.

Herein lies, I believe, one of the great secrets to being a writer: You are curious about others; you are curious about the world.

To be interesting, we have to be interested in other people. That’s how it works.

(If this doesn’t describe you? Fake it for a while until it does.)

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4 thoughts on “Make Sure You Don't Have a Horrible Personality

  1. Katrina Lantz

    LOL. It’s so true. Some of the worst things I’ve read (and written, unfortunately) have been autobiographical. Using personal experiences=good. Not considering anyone else’s perspective=bad.

    Well said. Thank you, Ira! And thank you, Jane, for posting this!

  2. Tracey Baptiste

    I recently did a panel where one of the authors only talked about himself and his work. It was supposed to be a talk about the industry. It was pretty infuriating. Then again, he’s waaay more successful than I am, so maybe it’s getting him somewhere.

    Good to know others consider it bad form.

  3. Tom Bentley

    Thank god I have managed to conceal my horrible personality so that now it is merely awful. But Ira’s got a good thing going here: curiosity about people and the world is a prime impetus to writing, and writing that questions and that seeks to understand. Even understand horrible people.