The writer’s ego is an interesting thing. We are literally gods to do as we please to our world and our characters [see: The episode of Friends where Joey was dropped down an elevator shaft for disgruntling a Writer.], and we can write you out as fast as we wrote you in, no matter how much our readers may love you.
But the writer’s ego is a fragile thing too. It’s a bubble that’s made of sugar glass and the least bit of pressure it pops and sends us into a spiral. It takes time to trust in that spun gossamer webbing that surrounds us. For me, it’s taken a lifetime.
This past week I’ve stumbled onto one of my ego poppers, and now I’m having to learn to ignore it. Write this into the column of what NOT to say to a writer, new or experienced. “You’re so lucky you can write.” “I wish I could write too.” “I’ve given up on being able to do that too.”
Those three sentences, and other variations on that theme, are manipulators. You may very well be jealous of someone who’s able to push out the wordage. God knows I am, and I’ve been guilty of saying such things to other writer friends. [I hereby apologize. Sincerely.] But those type of phrases are guilt makers, at least to me. Deep down inside, I’m a facilitator. I want you to be able to do what you love too and if I can help, I will. But these phrases make me feel guilty that I’m doing something you can’t. These phrases serve to put me back into the closet of writer’s block, out of fear I will hurt your ego by expressing mine. The roots of this tendency of mine extend way back into childhood and others trying to be helpful in encouraging things I could do, away from things they didn’t believe I could manage. I’m learning to shake free of those shackles, but phrases like this, gentle reader, make me cringe.
So jealous though you may be of someone stretching out their wings and crowing over writing being done, encourage, and let their success be encouragement to you too. Writing is 90% determination, 10% talent. Cliche, because it’s true. Harness your determination and then we’ll be jealous of you.