You Need An Ego

It’s a fact that many quite good writers find it very hard to find a publisher for their work. What they create may be at the very least as good as many of the less famous novelists, scriptwriters and so on, but it’s easy to become famous, if you’re already famous, or infamous… if you see what I mean.

Creative people are often not at all good at selling – particularly themselves. Add to that, an author’s latest work is a sort of “Frankenstein’s monster” that they conceived and bore all on their own in a quite “unnatural” manner and they (probably subconsciously and quite naturally) want to protect it from the critical eyes of the world. Additionally, we also often tend to hide ourselves behind our characters and plots. But the truth is that we need to put ourselves and our work “out there” in order to have any chance of success. It’s a bit like going into a relationship – if we want it to succeed and last, we have to be prepared to be vulnerable.

However, I’m not just waffling as usual and there is a point to this post…

A while back, I wrote an item on women’s bios. If you’re interested (and I think if you’re a woman, you should be) take a look at it here

I’ve noticed that many women, in particular, who are serious about writing do seem to have a very different type of bio compared with those who are solely bloggers for the sake of it – not that I’m criticising that in any way – I’m just pointing out a difference. These women have much more of a “male” style of bio. They are (for example) a writer, scriptwriter, novelist, blogger, wife and mother, etc. So, there is a clear difference in the way in which they perceive themselves – they are first and foremost (to themselves) whatever their particular artistic talent is and someone else’s wife, or mother second.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that that makes them any less of a wife or mother, or that they don’t work extremely hard at their relationships, but their perception of “self” is (probably necessarily) different from other people and that makes them altogether more self possessed than others and, to my mind, they’re perhaps more liberated and that’s good, isn’t it?

In short, such women have an ego and they are prepared to let is be on show. Of course, I dare say they have their hang-ups just like the rest of us, but they just seem more able to rise above them.

It seems that, if you really want to write, you need an EGO (of some sort at least)…

😉

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12 Responses to “You Need An Ego”

  1. I did! I left a comment! However, it’s back on the aforementioned post!
    😉

    • Yes. Good comment (on the other post) and I’m sure you are right – in many ways at least. However, I do think that (purely as a generalisation), many women are first and foremost more caring than men naturally are and that may lead them to be less interested in “self” when they should be. I don’t mean that to be unpleasant about men or condescending towards women – it’s just nature (I think, although where nature stops and nurture takes over, who knows).

      Then again, I think there are two important things that people and most particularly women need to learn from an early age – first, being aggressive and truculent are not the same as exercising free will; such behaviour is just being obstinate and awkward for the hell of it – it’s belligerent… BUT, secondly, that DOESN’T mean that it’s not OK to say, “No, I don’t want to do that,” or “Yes, THAT is what I want and I’m sorry if it upsets you.” Of course, as children, we should learn to do as we’re told, but as you I’m sure you will agree, there can be limits to that too.

      It’s all about “being your own person” and NOT defining yourself as merely a part of someone else, which can be suffocating to that other person, and very limiting for you. Does that make sense?

      • BarbaraA Says:

        Does it have to be one way or the other? Do you think it is possible to be happy in one’s own skin and ALSO consider oneself as part of a larger whole?
        I agree with you that one needs a good dose of ego, but I tend to think that in an ideal situation, the person who is truly centred is the one who can take pride in her own accomplishments as well as being the wife and mother. The two don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

        • Oh, no. I didn’t intend to suggest that the two SHOULD be mutually exclusive, or are not equally important – only that so many women bloggers describe themselves as wife of, mother of, etc., etc. and then (apparently as an afterthought) an artist, writer, office worker, whatever. In other words, THAT is how they think of THEMSELVES!

          I think that most MEN appear to define themselves in terms of their career or profession and are “also happily married with two kids, etc.”

          I agree with you that a balance is ideal, but I don’t think it does anything to forward women’s independence if they start off by defining themselves solely in terms of their relationship to other people – sort of: what about YOU as an individual, honey? If you see what I mean. Serious female writers and artists etc. often seem to me to do that less.

  2. BarbaraA Says:

    Youre right. My priorities have always been family first, career second. Maybe we can now say that your musings are now a generational thing.

    I’m from that pivotal generation, when women were just beginning to buck (change the first letter of that last word as per your liking) tradition to mix home and career. Years ago, it wasn’t ‘ladylike’ to conduct one’s life so that work came first. Those few women mavericks who put work first may have been respected by some, but were regarded by many as aberrations. In order to survive in the new world of work and home, a woman had to be a Supermom–equally devoted to home and the workplace, and that spelled disaster.

    I think that the new generation of women can unabashedly define themselves by their career first, without as much resistance from society as we have seen in the past. The question will be, as you raised, what will eventually happen to the roles of men and women as parity of life priorities between the sexes approaches.

    • Yes to all of that, in my opinion at least. I’m not sure that ALL men are happy about that, but that’s just too bad! Many women are now (at last) becoming whole people in their own right. That doesn’t mean that they don’t share part of their lives with others – husbands, kids etc. – just as those husbands share part of their lives with their wives. The ideal relationship (to me, I think) is probably part ME, part YOU, and part US – the part in the middle where our interests meet and share.

      There is therefore, as you so rightly point out, a generational element to this, since it is only the latest generation women, or parhaps two at most, who have finally truly “discovered themselves”, so to speak.

      Where will it end? Who knows? It (again, in my opinion) is undoubtedly true (as a generalisation) that men and women are better suited to certain roles and I don’t mean that as any kind of a superiority thing – women most certainly better at some things than men will ever be. That, though, should not stop a woman doing a “man’s job” any more than it should stop a man doing a “woman’s job” if they are able and want to.

      I think (hope) that much of the confrontation between men and women will eventually fade and we may both then find in time that what we once saw as a huge priority for us personally is not quite so important after all.

  3. An important debate and one I have had with myself on occasion.

    I really tire of the man’s job/woman’s job issue in the realm of hardcore feminism and that concept of black and white-ness that seems to follow extreme feminine writers. I’m not sure some are even aware of that or mean for it to transcend to the masses that way. Not to invalidate their opinions, of course, but as much as I believe in equality for all in terms of equal pay and basic human rights, I find it difficult to evoke a sense of strength and resilience with my readers if they don’t have a glimpse of my vulnerability first; which I believe, is the core of any decent exchange of art.
    Or humanity for that matter.

    • Thank you for visiting and commenting.

      Yes. I agree 100%!

      Your “vulnerability” (for instance) is part of who you are and part of what makes you who you are. Many people (both female and male) mistake vulnerable for weak and agressive for strong.

      Further to that, I believe that the belligerent feminist often does a disservice to her cause (in my opinion). Looking for a fight, or a collision of worlds, where none needed to exist is, I think, counterproductive. But then, except in a sexual sense (I’m afraid I’ll always be very hetero, but each to his or her own preferences, I always say), I don’t really see men and women, merely people. The fact that, in general and very broadly speaking, I prefer the company of women, is simply that they are more often the type of people with whom I find I have more in common and prefer to associate.

      However, just because a woman is not looking for a fight, doesn’t mean she shouldn’t always try to be her own person and be prepared to fight if necessary. That is not, in my opinion, going to be achieved by defining oneself in terms only of those others who are around and about one.

      I also agree that ANY human relationship (be it artistic, friendship, or sexual) can only really progress if the parties involved are prepared to let themselves be at least a little bit vulnerable – but that does require a degree of courage that many of us may not always be able to find, don’t you think?

  4. Agreed! Well said.

    Vulnerability is my almost favorite word and one I always come back to when I’m struggling with the muse. It partners well with authenticity..which also takes courage and seems to be lacking in relationships and in writing. I don’t think either is worth a plug nickel though without the willingness to be vulnerable and open.

    It takes courage to trust yourself enough – and love yourself enough – to risk exposing who you are and not give a care what anyone thinks. Not any easy road sometimes but sooooo worth the rewards.

    • Yes. So true… For years now, I’ve always thought and said that, instead of being needlessly confrontational (although that too is necessary at times, of course) women will not actually be free or achieve their true potential until the day comes when they don’t actually give a damn what any man thinks (or says) – why would they if they truly regard themselves as equal? Of course, reciprocated feelings in a relationship are excepted – and that is the vulnerability thing – by choice!

      Yes, trusting yourself is a big thing – not easy. Many seem to cover their self perceived weaknesses and fears with false arrogance, or they allow others to define them. Getting the balance right is very difficult for most of us.

      I guess we’re back to the question of ego? 😉

  5. By definition, the ego IS self.
    The question is….which self will you be?

    • We-eeell… Yes, technically – so good question – but I think the extensions of that are more accurate. It’s more self worth, or self esteem, or even opinion of self, isn’t it.

      Nevertheless, in the end you’re right – it’s up to YOU to get over it and learn to walk that fine line between timidity and arrogance. To learn in fact that you’re worth more than most people will naturally grant you…

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