“Here is what we’re trying to tell you, young writers of the world: You don’t have to do shit just because some media outlet asks you to. You are a writer. You are not a ‘brand.’ You can write about any topic in the whole wide world. You do not have to write about yourself. You do not have to write sexy, salacious, crazy, wild, demeaning, shocking, depressing, or self-glorifying stories about your own life in order to get published. The fact that such stories may be easier to sell does not mean that you have to write them. You can write about—never forget this—other people.
Writing about yourself as a character is a process that feeds on itself. If you set out with the intent of making yourself a ‘brand’ with a certain image and persona, you are locking yourself in a prison of your own creation. Media outlets will always be interested in cheap thrills. Your mom died in a fire? You were molested as a child? You slept with five different dudes a night every year at Harvard? You did something, anything, that will titillate a bored office drone slacking off on the internet? Sure, write it up. It’s ‘exposure!’ It’s good for your career! Blah blah blah!
Do not believe it. It is not necessarily bad to write about yourself; but remember that there are six billion other people in the world with equally compelling stories. Part of the reason that media outlets like to publish these types of confessional first-person essays is so that we, the readers, can mentally scold the writer for being so self-absorbed and unwise. First person writing about ourselves should be unleashed only on special occasions, like that Christmas sweater in your closet. Don’t rock it every day. You’ll just look ridiculous.”
Hamilton Nolan, "The ‘Writing About Yourself’ Trap”
I spent half an hour today trying to remember where I read this article and what it was titled. I’m linking to it here partially so that I’ll be able to find it in the future.