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Don’t Let Your Ego Get In The Way Of Your Writing
By Bethany Cadman on November 24, 2016
Writers egos are funny old things – in one sense they are incredibly tiny. We tend to be full of self-doubt, always questioning whether we are simply fools for thinking we can make a career out of our creativity, constantly comparing ourselves to others and telling ourselves we are not, and never will be good enough.
On the other hand, our egos are massive and uncontrollable. We are in love with our writing; it is the most precious and incredible thing to us. If someone dares to reject us, it is crushing (so often we don’t let ourselves ever be in that vulnerable position). If someone offers us constructive criticism or dares to suggest ‘tweaks’ we are filled with an uncontrollable rage and loathing towards them – they obviously just don’t GET our story. More fool them.
The problem is these two extremes can be very dangerous to a writer.
The tiny, quivering, nervous ego can slowly destroy our confidence. That inner critic, the little voice that says we can’t possibly write anything good and mocks us for trying isn’t going to get us anywhere. We need to boost ourselves, believe in ourselves and never give up on our dreams. Without having some form of self-belief and an ego, we will be too afraid to write anything. Even the slightest knockback could send us scattering for the hills never to emerge again, so we don’t send our work to publishers, we don’t even let our mums look at it! A tiny ego can be just as destructive as a huge one.
The massive ego is equally concerning. We simply cannot understand why we are not a famous, rich and hugely popular author! We read other well-known books and scoff at their lack of originality; we stand aghast each and every time we get a rejection – how could that publisher not recognise our talent? How could they not see how brilliant and unique we are? So what if we didn’t submit our manuscript how they asked for it, we wanted to do it our way because surely, more than anyone else, know how best to represent our own work?
So how do we find a balance?
Stop making it all about you. The key to controlling your ego is letting it have less of a say. Stop caring about yourself and care about your writing instead. If you do this, you will be able to take negative feedback and learn to either dismiss it because it isn’t helpful, or use it to make your writing better because it is. You’ll be more willing to revise and reshape your work to fit in with other people’s needs and expectations, and you’ll be able to celebrate your peer’s success rather than turn into a wailing green-eyed monster.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel nervous when submitting your writing, and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe in yourself – visualising yourself as a bestselling author is great! Being nervous shows that you care. However, without keeping your ego in check you could end up damaging your writing career, so next time you feel it is getting out of control, take a step back and remember what it is all about – the writing. If you do that, you’ll find the process so much more enjoyable and produce better work too!