Monday, February 18, 2013
*Insert cackling here*
So I've seen some quotes and memes and angst this weekend that have got me thinking about the writer's ego... and whether it is good, bad, or it depends entirely on the moment at hand...
Do first, let me say... Freud adopted the term ego for the organized, realistic part of the self... But we seem to use the term for the more self-aggrandizing component... And egomaniac, is NOT a person who goes around making things more orderly. Unless he does so by making himself emperor and forcing others to do all the work...
But what is egos role in ART? The confidence to be the SELF rather than copying some other artist? The belief we are creating something worth while? That sounds GOOD, right? Necessary, even.
If we are so confident in ourSELF, then we sometimes fail to LEARN. We assume our way is the right way... the only way... The discussion, when the sign was posted, was about schools... one of the people mentioned art students where she went to school who came in so convinced they had it all just right that they wouldn't learn from the instructors or fellow students.
Then again, my first thought on seeing the sign was I knew far MORE people who lacked the confidence to put themselves OUT THERE. They had a passion for a craft and worked away at it, but didn't feel able to SHARE because they didn't think they had what it took.
Writing is a funny, wonky path that I think for most of us bounces us back between soul-searching insecurity (I'm not worthy!!!) and grandiose ego (that boneheaded critic just doesn't GET me) and I think BOTH extremes can hurt us, but there is also a time for both.
I think all of us go through phases we are in love with our books. And I think OFTEN with our FIRST book, we are convinced it just emerged perfectly from our mind... we are sure it is ready AS IS for publication. This is one of the reasons I still really like the traditional process--a lot of people (me included) really needed to be pounded with that reality check. As with anything... the more we learn, the more we realize that we really don't know... and we get more humble as we improve... oh, irony.
I've spent the last several weeks editing, and am feeling very UNWORTHY at the moment. I read through and think, “that's stupid... anyone would read that and think what a strained scenario that is... why on earth do I feel compelled to put EVERY MEAL in the damn book? You've got to be KIDDING!
But see the plus side of feeling so DOWN about it is I really DO spot some big stuff that needs changing... and it opens my mind for the SERIOUS HELP I plan on pleading from a few readers.
But I CAN'T let the fear be so great that I don't even show it to anyone...
FIX IT, THEN let that darned ego take over and send it out to see if anyone wants it...
One of my very talented friends was lamenting her current work... feeling she didn't know if it was even decent... man... she's got a MOVIE DEAL... she should NOT be feeling that level of insecurity... but maybe that level of insecurity is because she holds herself to such a high standard.
So it's all over... Just breathe, my friends... it is all part of the process.