pe 13 — How Big Can an Ego Grow? Someone Burst My Bubble–Now!

Personal Essay Button I’ll be writing and posting Personal Essays on the last Tuesday of every month. They will be honest, sometimes vivid explorations of my life.

I’m writing them for two reasons: to help put my experiences in perspective and to purge myself of any residual compost.

Since it is good therapy, you are invited to join me, post your link in comments and I’ll be sure to drop by.

Let it begin:

I can’t believe this is happening, but I’m starting to resent being treated like a reader rather than a writer. I haven’t been discovered and I’m fully aware of my rank on Amazon, yet deep down when I’m invited to a *fill in event here* at Goodreads I actually stop and sigh. When did my ego do this leap and become so massive that innocents are tripping over the thing? I know I’m more of a reader than a writer. What’s my problem?

My Amazon author ranking is in the kazillions. Sure I’ve had some shorts published but so what? And Goodreads was designed for readers to explore their shelves not for my personal ego stroking. I need to get a grip on this. Even my rejections, three in January alone, have not knocked me off my pedestal. All I know is I can’t succeed until I’ve got a handle on this.

I’ve known about the swollen ego for years, met some, tripped over others and we all know it is bad for everyone involved when it gets too close. Emotions explode. People bubbles-582541_1280walk on eggshells. Friends lose your number. Watch any news item where a star does it and their headliners or gone forever.

I love books, stories of any kind if you want the truth. To me it is the ultimate entertainment. I do dissect the stories I love best and try to learn why I love them so. I also enjoy critiquing and beta reading because I help a colleague bump up their story while fine tuning my skills. The writing community rocks and I love everything about it.

What scares me to my core is success. Am I going to evolve into some arrogant jerk freak that I can’t stand? I don’t want to become someone I absolutely hate. The only solution to this is to kick myself back down to where I belong. I need help because I can barely look myself in the eye; tell me how do you keep your feet on the ground?



35 responses to “pe 13 — How Big Can an Ego Grow? Someone Burst My Bubble–Now!

  1. You can’t get more honest about your life than this post! Don’t beat yourself up about still believing in your writing. In this business if you don’t think you are a good writer, you will soon lie in the gutter in the fetal position whining and crying. You’ve got to be strong to battle on to success! Put on your super writer cape and fly, GRRLLL !!!

  2. I think you are brave to post these essays, and I admire your honesty! I’ve never had to worry about keeping my feet on the ground because I really haven’t had any success that would make me feel arrogant, LOL, but maybe someday that will be an issue. For now though I just keep writing because I love it and it makes me happy. I agree with JQ, put on that superhero cape. 🙂

  3. What a brave thing you’ve done here. I think all writers need somewhat of an ego or we wouldn’t be able to put ourselves out there. Believing in yourself is essential. On the other hand, just knowing when you’re ego kicks in too much is half the battle. You won’t ever be “the jerk”. People who turn out that way would never do what you’ve done here. You’ll be just fine, Anna. From reading your blog it’s obvious that you have a good heart, and that will always get you far!

  4. I once read that every writer has their ego a bit high, you need to because you have to believe that what you write is good enough for someone to read. I don’t think is a bad thing.
    And like someone here said, from your blog I can say you are a good person, keep your family close and everything will be fine.
    Ruty @Reading…Dreaming

  5. I think if you’ve still got your ego intact after a while in this business, then thank your lucky stars and be happy! Most people run for the hills at the first critique. If you can hack the criticism and the haters, and still feel good about yourself, Anna, then that just says something about your character. You’ve got staying power. Don’t worry, continue to be happy!!

  6. WE all have to start somewhere and positive thinking is always a must. I don’t think you have anything to be sorry about one way or the other. 🙂

  7. But you are a writer. That’s different from a reader. You study the craft, put yourself out there, complete projects, maybe publish maybe not, wordsmith sentences. You do all that. Readers don’t. Why should you feel like you should deny it?

    • I don’t know. I’m worried I’m getting too big for my britches. You’re right about how hard I work to improve though. You’ve definitely given me food for thought. 🙂

  8. I’m afraid I have the opposite problem. I feel like a fraud claiming to be a writer, despite the fact I have written most my life and in the last 31/2 years toward publication and more seriously this last year. I have always been the storyteller among my friends and family.

    I find I am grateful to make writing friends and awed at the acceptance, encouragement and help I receive in the writing community. It is through my actions with other fellow writer that my “writing persona” has become a fact, rather than the dream of one day in my mind. I am grateful, but I need stronger confidence and a maybe “a bit of ego” to help me sail the rocky waters. I think having a bit of ego is a good thing and only becomes negative, when it is used to reflect negativity that is harmful to others–in a positive light it can arm you and help others grow. We all need mentors.

    • I’ve come a long way, and have a long way to go, but I help everyone I can as I go. I know what’s like to struggle with what you need to know to succeed and what can be put aside for future use.

      I want make my bones (so to speak) and thanks to mentors I have a great start. 🙂

  9. Awesome post. I fear the same thing. You are a writer and you’re a reader. I think sometimes it’s hard to realize we’re both. It helps me to read something really good and let it inspire me.

  10. It’s not ego. It’s a healthy and firm belief in who you are and what you can do, and don’t you ever let anyone take that away from you!!!! You are a writer and things like Goodreads or amazon ranks do NOT define a writer. You are a writer, Anna, and you are good at it, and rejections are part of being a writer. Even the King said it. 🙂

  11. The internet is a weird and often deceiving place. It’s probably best to take what we read about ourselves with discernment and consideration of the source and to take care about we put up about ourselves.

    Also each of us are trying to preserve our own egos and sometimes that blinds us about nursing the egos of others. We all have our own individual problems and interests and sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond ourselves. A balance of building others and preserving self-image is the ideal. I guess that’s why having agents and promo people are so helpful. If we could all afford or earn that luxury we’d be in a nice place as far as the work we had to put into keeping the ego bubbles intact.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  12. jenniferbielman

    Hey, if you are of aware of it, then you will never go too far with the whole ego thing. The people who think nothing is wrong are the ones who should worry.

  13. Your family and friends will keep your ego from getting too big, so keep them close! And the others are right that you do need some ego to survive in this business. Keep up the good work and before you know it, we’ll all be saying we knew you when! 🙂

  14. To be honest, a little arrogance as a writer isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It will help carry you through those tough times when nothing seems to be going right with your writing. Somehow, I don’t think success will turn you into an arrogant jerk.

  15. Anna, I agree with what everyone’s said so far. You need to be strong and thick-skinned to be a writer. I especially agree with Jennifer’s statement that people who don’t realize that their ego has taken over are the ones who should worry.

    I don’t believe you have a big ego. You’re confident in your writing and good at what you do; there is a world of difference. If you had an over the top ego, I doubt you would care enough about helping others the way you do. Trust me, I know. I love seeing your avatar shine on my blogs when you visit. 🙂 Hugs to you and have a great night. Eva

  16. Terrific essay, Anna. Rejoice in your confidence. As others have said, you have to have confidence in this business. While the writing counts, it means nothing without perseverance, and you can’t persevere without believing in yourself. Revel in every ego stroke. As long as you don’t allow your self-confidence to deafen you against critiques or make blind to flaws in work, you are exactly where you need to be!

    VR Barkowski

  17. I’ve never been in your situation but I think it’s like bloggers who get a lot of followers. Their ego rises with them in some cases. It’s okay to be proud of yourself but you are a reader and a writer. Never forget you are both and just try to relax and enjoy both those sides of you.

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