Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Am Writer - See My Ego

This blog was supposed to be a log of sorts, documenting my experiences in indie publishing.  Of course, I go off the track regularly and the blog in turn becomes more of a personal journal.  Sometimes, the experiences are personal.  Maybe because I'm learning more about myself but also because I'm learning more about other writers and the ebook audience. 

I used to think that all writers must be similar.  Introverted and shy with a distinct lack of self confidence.  I thought they all put readers up on a pedastal and wrote for them.  I was wrong.  Oh, so very wrong.  Just like any other group of people, writers can be friendly, down to earth, egotistical or even stuck up.  Some are brash and excellent at the hard sells.  Others are meek and more interested in organic readership.  Some have a chip on their shoulders and believe the world owes them something.  Still more actually look down their nose at the people they are writing for.  This one was a real shock to me.  And still is.  Maybe I consider myself to be a reader first because I get very offended on behalf of those who are mocked because of the genre they read/the fact they are keen to connect with their favourite writers/they haven't written a book themselves so what could they possible know/etc.

The egos - bloody hell the egos - can be ridiculously swelled.  It's so easy to get that instant gratification online.  It's also a bigger shock to the system when you're called out on your evil ways.  I've only realised now that I have a bit of an ego thing going on.  I never expected it.  Because I've very little in the way of actual confidence in myself.  So it feels strange to know that there is arrogant, blind, egotistical part of me that can be fed very easily.  Also, I'm a snob.  I look down on certain people and I refuse to be associated with them.  I'm happy with that part of myself because it makes taking the high moral ground sooooo much easier and posts like this are a breeze to write.  ;)

Sometimes I think the swelling ego thing must be a defence mechanism.  As indies, we get hit with criticism a lot.  Reminders that we couldn't get published the traditional way can be stinging.  Of course, not all of us went down that route in the first place and there are lots of excellent books that never made it past the query stage but it is a lot easier to make a hit with a remark like - If you had any talent, you wouldn't need to publish it yourself.  It's no wonder we sometimes counteract this attitude by talking ourselves up and boasting to pad our own egos.  The problem begins when we believe our own hype.  Especially if there is no sensible person by our side keeping our feet firmly on the ground.

I'll admit that I know where to go for praise.  If I need a boost, I know I can share a piece of writing that will be accepted with encouragement.  I try not to.  Even if it does make me feel all warm and tingly inside.  Because I don't want to write for praise.  It's oh, so easy to lose that want.  Which is why criticism is so good at blasting through that ego.  Unless it has gotten too big and thick skinned.  Then the truth just bounces off said ego and drifts along without reaching its intended target.  It is so nice to indulge in the warm glow of generous praise and so hard to then shiver in the path of cold, harsh truth.  A balance of both does us all some good although we all like to lean in one direction more than the other if we're honest.

A bit of ego doesn't do anyone any harm.  In fact, it might help you feel confident enough to try something new or look for a wider audience.  It's when you stop listening to that audience and believe that you are somehow better than them that the trouble begins.  I've noticed this happens when there is a little devil on your shoulder, feeding into your ego.  Our egos aren't soley our faults, they exist because they have been persuaded they have room to expand.  But sometimes you have to learn to rein that ego in because it can be the single most offputting side to a person's character.  There is a huge difference between believing in yourself and trying to convince the world that you are the greatest talent to have ever walked the planet. 

You know you need to have a sit down with yourself when somebody dares to say they didn't like your work and your automatic response is - What would you know?  You're an amateur.  You've never even written a book.  You're so jealous of me, you can't bear to bask in my obvious glory and talent.  In fact, you don't even have a life to speak of so you read my books instead.  Be grateful, plebian.  Or some deriviative of such.  :D

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to have your say.