To Any Writer Struggling With Ego…
Have you ever listened to a kid tell a story? They can just go on and on making stuff up and they sure don’t need an ego to tell a story.
And writing a story is just a learned skill, not something that takes an ego.
As I have said in a number of workshops and lectures, I am convinced all of my stories suck. And I honestly don’t care because even if I write a story that doesn’t work, who cares? I did the best that I could and to me that is all that matters. If I had ego in thinking every story needed to be perfect, I would care and it would stop me like a cold dead fish.
I do the best I can, that’s all I can do.
All any of us can do.
I keep learning and keep doing the best I can.
Does it take an ego to clean a house or drive a bus or do computer work for a company? Do any of the fine people who do those jobs worry that they don’t have enough ego to do them before they start each day?
Writing is no different than any of those. We just sit alone in a room and make stuff up.
But at the same time, we must defend ourselves against attacks, and most attacks come from the inside, not the outside. So we must learn to never question our work. Just do it as best we can do at that moment and put it out and see if readers buy it.
Now realize I have believed all my work sucks for forty years, yet over 23 million people now have bought my books and more every day around the world. If I took that number in, I would be too “important” to ever write again. But if I believed there was no point because anything I tried would just suck, I would never write again.
So the balance is just creating a space in our own heads. Nothing is important really, but everything should be done the best we can do.
Be a window cleaner. Make the window so clean no one can see the glass and take pride in that and then move on to the next window.
Writing is no different.
We should all take pride in the work, do the best we can, keep learning, and then release and move on.