It’s time for another Blog Hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
According to my dictionary, your ego is your conscious mind, the part of your identity that you consider your “self.” If you say someone has “a big ego,” then you are saying he is too full of himself. All too commonly, the word big is omitted, and ego is used on its own to mean the same thing.
Poor ego, it gets such a bad rap, being so often confused with “megalomania” and “vanity” and all kinds of other nasty things, but strictly speaking it is only a psychological term popularized by Freud meaning the conscious (as opposed to the unconscious) mind, or the awareness of one’s own identity and existence. Nothing wrong in that, is there?
Every individual needs an ego of a certain size to live and be a normal part of society. As an author, you have to believe in your book, in it’s worth and in your ability to write a great story. You have to be prepared to sing its praises (because nobody else will, at least to begin with), to do that requires quite a bit of self-confidence. The trouble is, a lot of people equate self-confidence with ego, with the invariable results that anyone blessed with abundant self-confidence is said to have a big ego.
Originally, this was going to be a somewhat depressing, downbeat post. Writing my original thoughts down made me reveal things about my past and my emotions that had no place in public. So, I went away and did something else to pass the time. On returning to this task, I’ve changed it around, got rid of a lot of the angst, as that kind of thing does nobody any favours.
Here is my story.
It’s a tale of optimism, then desperation, followed by realism.
When I first started writing, I reckoned that my stories were good. I hoped that I might achieve some modest success. I was confident that people would like them and that I could sell them, in a non-spammy sort of way. But I’d never say that I had a big ego. In real life, I’m quiet and shy, although I have enough self-confidence to function in society.
However, a few years ago, I attracted the wrong sort of attention on social media. I still don’t really understand why I was singled out, I wasn’t consciously doing anything that I hadn’t seen others do, or had been advised was good practice. Unfortunately, it upset some people and their reaction has changed me and the way I act.
I was going to tell you all about it (blow by blow) in my original post, I have rarely typed so fast as I did as it all came out. Injustice boiled over the page. My ego had been badly bruised by it all. Now was my chance to tell the world, get some sympathy. You see, at the time, I was starting to believe the suggestions that my work was rubbish, not worth consideration, unsuitable for publication. And that I should stop what I was doing.
Reading back the original post that I had written gave me a different perspective, it was not the sort of thing that was suitable for Monday morning reading. Yes, I feel that I was treated badly, but telling you won’t change that. I expect that a lot of us have been on the wrong end of a similar situation, incurred the wrath of anonymous (and not so) keyboard warriors.
It’s what you do about it that matters. I didn’t respond, didn’t try to defend or justify myself. I just left the situation. At that point, I could easily have packed up and gone home, never typed another word, left social media alone and you would not be reading this.
But that would have meant that the wrong side had won. What was left of my ego told me that wasn’t right, that I was allowed to tell you about my books. I deserved better than to be chased away. So, after a while, I started telling my story again, keeping well away from the places where I had previously hung out, finding a new tribe.
Since then, I have sold a few books and received a number of reviews. Most of those reviews have been good; for which I’m extremely grateful. That has helped me prove to myself that I was right to take the chance and put my work out there for people to read, proving to my ego, if you like, that I deserved to be here.
The best thing is, I’ve been left alone by those with an agenda. I admit that I don’t shout as loud as I used to, but I still tell people about what I do. Just not as much. I don’t follow the latest marketing trends, just in case. I steer clear of controversy, keep my opinions to myself. I’m careful to try and spot any signs that it might be happening again.
Back to the subject.
Is a big ego important? Well, you certainly need one that’s big enough to cope with the more unpleasant side of life.
Personally, I don’t think that mine is over-sized. I just want to be allowed to tell my story, the same as everyone else does.
I’ll be back on Thursday with another Showcase post, featuring an Indie Author with something to say. Please leave a comment below, then click the links to see the other great blogs on this hop.