Ego. Every writer that I have ever met (including myself) has one. That secret voice that assures us that the words we put down are some of the best that have been written in the history of the world….okay maybe not an ego quite that big. (Though I have met a few people who do have egos that grandiose.) Still the ego is there, like a brightly burning firebird. It tells us that our work is better than even some well selling authors. (Our egos are sometimes correct in this.)
For me, this proud voice usually appears when the writing is going well and the story is falling from my finger tips with hardly any effort at all. It crows loudly when I am on fire with inspiration. Having an ego isn’t necessary a bad thing as long as it is kept in check. It pushes us confidently forward. It allows us to take steps that, if we stopped to consider, might make us hesitate under normal circumstances. Of course, if you let it run wild it will rage out of control leaving you with ashes instead of light.
However, as in most things, their is an opposite side to this coin. Self doubt. I have never met a writer who didn’t possess this (in spades) as well. If ego pushes us forward and gives us an unusual amount of confidence then self doubt holds us back. It makes us ask negative what if’s. (What if I screw up? What if I’m not good enough? ect.)
For me, the self doubt dragon raises its head when I haven’t written in awhile or I reach a difficult spot in my stories. The ends of first drafts and sometimes even second drafts are often written in the shadows of the self doubt dragon. It tells me just how much talent I lack and encourages me to give up. Sometimes it is a real fight not to just give in to self doubt.
The battles that rage inside books are nothing compared to some of the battles authors fight just to write them. Each book is its own adventure. Each story has its challenges to face in order to get the words down. There are always two sides to every story; one is in the words, the other is in the writing.