Ego & the Author

A friend recently commented to me, that she admires my determination in continuing to write. I am, by nature, a determined person—sometimes to the point of foolish stubbornness—which I prefer to view as being tenacious or stoical.

I just get on with the job, until it’s done, and this includes writing, editing and trying to sell a novel. I have faith in my work. Being British, with a stiff upper lip (above a loose, flabby chin!) I’m also modest, but all the same, I wondered how much my ego was driving me to succeed.

I’m not after fame from my books, and, as a way of making money writing novels is an absurd proposition, so what is driving me on? I’m still enthusiastic, after completing the fifth of my crime novels, but will I be as joyful and driven by the time I begin the tenth in a few years time?

William Zinsser, the writing guru, said that:

‘Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it.’

George Orwell observed in his Four Motives for Writing:

‘Sheer egoism… Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen – in short, with the whole top crust of humanity.’

They say that one should ‘Starve the ego to feed the soul’, but I have to remain a bit of an egomaniac to keep writing—and what I write satisfies my soul too.

How much of an egomaniac are you?

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