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Thursday, August 03, 2017

THE WRITING EGO VS. THE INTERNAL CRITIC - WHERE DO WE FIND THE BALANCE?

I WAS SITTING OUT ON MY DECK LAST NIGHT - I do this a lot in the summer, because...well, it's summer, and winter in Alberta lasts forever, so I have to appreciate the great August weather while it lasts. And as often happens, when I'm surrounded by my trees and garden, my mind drifts to writing, and the ego, and the insecurities most writers share - those moments when we think we're good at our craft, followed immediately by the finger-wagging critic in our mind who tells us you aren't there yet, darling. In spite of your successes, don't let it go to your head.

That internal critic - she's a bitch, isn't she?

On the other hand, Inflated Ego is top heavy - he has a hard time getting his head through the door.

I'm not saying we should let either of them get out of hand. Of course, as a writer, there's always something to learn and a higher level for which to strive. But it's also important to celebrate our successes when we have them. So where do we draw the line between congratulating ourselves yet keeping our egos in check? As I enjoyed the balmy evening, the answer came to me.

If we are grateful for how far we've come, grateful to those who have helped us get there, grateful - simply for the fact that we are who we are - creative people who have had some success in our work, we aren't letting our egos get the better of us. We're maintaining enough humility to be glad of who we are and what we do. As writers, I think we often flip-flop between thinking we're great and thinking we're not. The 'not' side tends to dismiss the good that's been done, while the 'I'm fantastic' side exaggerates it. If we're grateful, we rise above both.

So be grateful. For who you are, what you do, for any successes you've had, and for those who have helped you reach them. Have faith inspiration will find you, and that future successes will result, whatever they may be.

Happy writing - Susan.