By Nick “Novel” Gabanski
Every single person who as ever taken up the pen (or keyboard) to create a story has a beginning. Beginnings are generally a good thing. It’s the start of a journey through life. However, with the beginning of a writer, this little thing called an “ego” develops and before you know it, it is no longer little.
I know this actually applies to all artists, but because I’m a writer and know this world the most, we will focus on the Writer’s Ego. There are many excellent and endearing works of fiction and non-fiction out in the world. Naturally, every artist aspires to create great pieces to be the next (insert name of great artist here). The only problem is, when you start out with an art form, nothing is even close to being of good quality. For writers who are starting out, their characters are often two-dimensional, blander than stale toast, and cardboard cut-out clichés. Their plotlines are often poorly-concealed plagiarism, make little to no sense, and shoddily explained. I know not all beginners make this many mistakes, but it can happen. I made several of those I just mentioned. And, with time, I realized that.
The problem with beginning writers is that, when they start out, their egos tell them that their sh*t is made of gold; that their writing is infallible and unassailable from criticism. I remember when I went through that phase. My ego was as big as the “Twilight” series’ popularity and just as bad. I thought my novel was going to be the next “Lord of the Rings” tale, that I would be the next Rowling author. Granted, I’m still hoping my novel will be the next “Lord of the Rings” but the difference between then and now is that instead of thinking my Fantasy story will be the next big thing, I’m aspiring to be the next big author in the Fantasy genre. There is nothing wrong with aspiration.
What is wrong is denying your imperfections and the low quality of your work when you start out. If you’re reading this and say to yourself, “I don’t have an ego problem as a writer,” stop lying to yourself. Yes, you do. If you can honestly look back on your past as a writer and say, “Oh yeah, I thought I was the king/queen with this idea, but now I realize I had a lot to learn back then,” that means you’ve outgrown your Writer’s Ego phase.
Unfortunately, not every writer leaves this phase. They can improve their skills and knowledge, all the while still thinking they’re the next big thing. Frankly, I’ve yet to meet a writer who ever showed great improvement in their work while maintaining that anvil of an ego. The less time you spend praising yourself and cursing anyone who questions your work, the faster you will better yourself as writer.
Edited By: Rebecca Fox