Do Writers Have Big Egos?

writer, egoThat’s the question I suddenly ask myself after I’ve been on hold for 13 minutes. Thirteen minutes with a faceless woman who spells my name wrong, three times. Who can’t find my order for 6 minutes (see above re misspelling), and who does not make me feel confident that the order, once placed, will be correct.

And what am I ordering?

website, bookmarks, publishing, authors

Faceless woman.

Bookmarks. Customized bookmarks that feature my book and links to my book as well as my blog.Now, see where I’m leading?

Who wastes their time on faceless people after creating a bookmark for hours (oh yes, it took me a total of over 8 hours in front of the computer cursing, screaming, pulling out my hair and scaring the dog) while the ‘easy to use’ website crashed, burped, blinked, and generally made my life hell as I chose colors, downloaded my book cover, and then added text.

dog, writer, frustration, ego, authors

Scared dog – see him rolling his eyes at me?

Self-involved people, that’s who waste their time on these frustrating tasks. I never ever considered myself one of those people who think only of themselves – those kind of self-important people who are clueless about the world around them.

But. Gulp. Have I just described writers?

We sit in a room by ourselves and make up people, imaginary people with whom we use up (some would say waste) a lot of our time and energy.

We join our friends at a café but our eyes glaze over during the intense conversations about….life…. while in our heads we plot the next chapter in our imaginary characters’ lives.

We create blogs that talk about ourselves, and our writing, and our characters, so that everyone will know about our work when we publish. (Thank you, Karen Elliott for featuring my “A Brave New World” post on your Word Shark blog today!)

SEE??

We go on Facebook and post ‘Buy my book!” or “Like me and my blog and my newest publication.”

We spend our time marketing our books and stories, creating bookmarks and accepting invitations to women’s groups and book clubs, and library workshops to talk about ourselves, and our writing and our books and…

Oh dear.

writers, ego, publishing, authorsWriters must have big egos!

I sit back in my chair as the faceless lady takes my credit card number, and I realize I’m a self-involved, heartless soul, despite my years of parent-ing and wife-ing and attempting to be a good sister and daughter and meditating peace and good will to all.

But perhaps those of us with a passion, those of us who believe in what we do, whether it be writing fiction or skiing down a mountain or collecting antique cars or hitting a small ball on a long stretch of hilly grass, perhaps we all stroke our egos to allow ourselves to believe (and to encourage others to believe) in what we do.

And what, exactly, do we do?

We make up people – but in doing so, we help ourselves and our readers to understand life just a fraction better. To understand what makes us humans work (or not work) in the scheme of this confusing universe.

So really (my big ego says) we writers are quite important.

Perhaps I should have ordered 200, instead of 100, bookmarks… 🙂

33 thoughts on “Do Writers Have Big Egos?

  1. The loud voice of ego seems to roar its message whenever I am put on hold or having any sort of technical challenge. How dare someone mess with me, it says. Good to hear your challenges relate to some big accomplishments 🙂

  2. You have just described all artists in this technical world we live in today. Marketing is so different now, it’s amazing. You have to put your stuff out there. But what’s more amazing to me is how much time people spend on their facebook page in general, seeking validation for every minute of their day. Someday, I’m going to update my status to “I’m constipated” and see how many “likes” I get!

    • Ohhhh, I love a good laugh, and you just gave me one!! Yes, at least we’re not promoting our current deeds (like, ‘taking dog out for a pee,’ or ‘eating a bowl of broccoli soup).’ At least we’re promoting something worthwhile: our books and our photography and art work!!! Ahhh, thanks for putting some humor in the artists’ dilemma.

  3. Me, too, for a bookmark, please! Our library has a rack of bookmarks promoting books and events where you checkout. Maybe yours does, too, and you could promote your book easily without having to get ego (and time!) involved!
    Happy Birthday!!!

    • Hey, that’s a great idea! I’ll take some to our library (or just surreptitiously place them on the rack near the door). He he. Will send you a few as soon as they (hopefully) arrive to my door.

  4. I find clueless people in Walmart every time I walk through the doors. The aisle hoggers who have no idea that others are shopping!
    I guess I do have a bit of an ego, but it’s well deserved. I’ve worked hard at writing well, I take pride in my work, and I hire an editor (Shawn MacKenzie). And I publish no story or poem before it’s really ready. Love this blog post, Wight. And it is always my pleasure to have you as a guest on my blog.

    • Yes, this absolutely should make a difference. We WORK at having an ego about our work! Creating something out of nothing (whether it be a book or a poem, a photograph or a piece of pottery) is hard work, and we have the sweat and tears to prove it!

    • I love it when someone nods her head in agreement as she reads my post. Must be my ego smiling. Ack! Thank you for knowing what I’m talking about, as I worry about these things…

  5. A brave and wise post, summing up for me one of my fears in truly giving attention to the writer in me…because she’s quite powerful and, hmmm, yes, has one of those EGO things. Humour and humility in one – great post!

    • And there’s the rub. We writers do have to be humble and full of humility, to write about humanity…right? BUT, to get our stuff out, we have to let our ego shine through too. Not an easy combination.

  6. You are probably right regarding the ego, but writing a book – and then promoting it – in today’s market, is no mean feat! Go for it… Raise your head above the parapet. Best of luck with the book – and the bookmarks.

  7. “Ego” is not always a pejorative term, I think. To succeed in this field writers must cope with a great deal of frustration and failure. They need an ego; they need to have a belief in the quality of their writing to keep moving forward.

    But, like most things, there needs to be a balance. Those who are too humble or prone to suggestion get beaten down. Those who think they know everything and lack flexibility become obnoxious pariahs.

    You’re right, of course, when you say “Writers are important.” In my case, I would amend the comment to also read. “My writing will never be as important to anyone else as it is to me.”

    Now get out there and sell! Woo!

    • Well, that’s honest and so true – the writing is most important to the …writer. But that’s how it SHOULD be. If we don’t believe in what we write, why would we expect anyone else to? This helps me realize how important it is to have some ego about my work (and to survive that failure and frustration…).

  8. Yes, we writers can have *such* big egos. We’re so full of ourselves. Except, sometimes, we’ve become so big that we realize we’re full of every character in the Universe, too! So let’s not be so agonizing hard on ourselves. At least today. Amen. 😉

  9. Ha! I often hear it said that we have big egos. But sometimes I wonder if it isn’t just that we’re brave (says the part of my brain that likes this association better). I mean, it takes guts to do what you love, even if you’re not sure anyone will ever take notice, or if your books will be on bookshelves, or people will read them on Kindle. Right? And while we may not pay our loved ones as much mind as we should at times, and we may drive twenty minutes past our destination because we’re lost in thought about a story, we are honoring our inner artists. We could have ignored the call, but we didn’t. And so we write. That is brave, I think.

    (Was that totally egotistical? Hahaha) 😉

    • No, I want to totatlly agree with your assessment of the creative situation. God knows how brave we are (I know our non-writer acquaintances kinda shake their heads dismally that we’re going after an impossible golden ring). But the point is, WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE RING (thus, we can’t really be egotistical). We care about the writing!

  10. It’s good to hear a fellow writer admit having ego issues!

    personally, I feel this can be quite dangerous. I largely manage to keep it within myself, but there are some writers who become just plain bad when things don’t go their way. Writers should learn to be a bit more like their readers – an avid reader’s blog is all about sharing, discussing stuff and building friendships with other readers 😀

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