Beware The Writer/ My Ego

coffee mugThere are  times when being a writer goes to my head. Like this morning for example. My daughter has a big test today and asked if I would take her by a coffee shop before school. Since coffee sounded good to me too I agreed. So I dropped my son of at his primary school and took my daughter out for caffeine.

Yes, I know. Some of you are saying that is  horrible parenting, but there is  more sugar than caffeine in her drink. It is like glorified chocolate milk. She thinks she is drinking coffee and feels adult, while I con her into eating breakfast which is really what wakes her up. (Shhh that is parental trickery.)

Anyway, the line at the drive through was roughly 140,000 cars long so I decided to go in. My hair was pulled back in a pony tail and I was wearing sweats because it was chilly this morning. I originally had no plans of getting out of the car. I was just going to drop the kids off and come home to work in the garden.

(Before I continue, I should  mention that I have worked as a barista before. I understand what it is like on the other side of the counter. I did it for years.)

So I walked inside and I am the third person in line. Waiting patiently, I pick out the food I am going to order and watch the antics of the a very enthusiastic child in line ahead of me. Then suddenly it is my turn and I order, pay, leave a tip, and step to the side to await my food and drink.

Usually, they go over and bag up the food first. Instead the young man took the next person in line. Which I was okay with because it is Monday morning and all. People need their coffee or tea. Fifteen minutes later my drinks were ready at the other counter but I still hadn’t received my food.

I watched the young man rush around and prepare things for the other customers who came after me. I tried to catch his eye but he refused to look up. That was when I started to get annoyed.

In my head I was having a conversation along the lines of: Yes I am dressed down. If you give me my stuff I will leave! I have work to do. Oh no you did not just ignore me! You do not realize who you are dealing with my young man! Do you want that receding hair line immortalized forever in words?…tumblr_mlkf0pWOiX1s0x8bxo1_500

It went like that for another few minutes until I came to the realization that I sounded  like Chaucer from the movie A Knight’s Tale. Fortunately, a nice young lady came up and asked if she could be of assistance so I got my food and my daughter to school on time, even if she had to eat a bit hurriedly.

The saying is: “Writer’s get their revenge in print.”

I will not say I have never written people who have ticked me off into a story. Those annoying people are a valuable resource for a writer because they bring out strong emotions that translate to page and then to the reader. However, not  even that person’s mother would recognize them in my prose, because it is more that I write the feeling of them rather than the actual person. Writer’s draw on personal experience. That means both the good and the bad.

I even have a t-shirt that offers a disclaimer. It warns: “Be careful or you could end up in my novel.”


For those interested, here is the quote from the character Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale.

“I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.”~ Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale


Ups and Downs

Ego. Every writer that I have ever met (including myself) has one.  That secret voice that firebirdassures 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.201205241337900850054205_98dde3c74de5a8dff23c651d02d1a81f

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.)

anime_dragon_1024x768-634320For 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.gan2