October 23rd, 2004
Vanity and Ego

My dh and I were discussing how much vanity and ego one needs to lead a healthy life. What changes would you make to your life if both were factors in your behavior? It also got me thinking about the writer’s self-esteem and how easily it’s manipulated by forces we cannot control. Would being a bit more vain and having a stronger ego help in this business? Or would it hurt?

I’m leaning toward it being of assistance. Vanity and ego could keep you up even when your spirits are down. What do you all think?

11 comments to “Vanity and Ego”

  1. I agree with a writer’s ego being manipulated by forces we cannot control. I sent the opening of my GO winning story to a critique partner and it came back completely decimated. LOL I was totally floored and I freaked out about it for hours before I was able to re-examine the advice. It’s still something I’m struggling with. Later, I got a bit of validation from the editor who judged the story and it came at a really good time, since I was feeling pretty down from the critique. Some would think that the successes I’ve experienced this year would make me fairly confident in my work, but I’m still VERY insecure about it. So every kind word means a tremendous amount to me, as does every critical word.

  2. I sowwy, Sylvia!!

    I felt like that about a recent contest entry I got to revise before sending in. Only one CP came back agreeing with the bleep judge but that CP broke it down in a way that made sense.

    I definitely think you’ve got to have some ego–enough to believe you’re good and realize that bad days just happen. And I think part of it comes w/maturing as a writer. I had a friend recently ask how I could not be pissed off at another judge’s comments (different contest/different manuscript and I didn’t final). I knew from reading that judges feedback she came at it from a very personal angle (she had a fat relative and totally hated my heroines self-depreciating humor–I’m fat and I think it’s hysterical) and there’s no way she would ever like that story–even if she did compliment my voice.

    Eventually you start to realize there’s truth in the words “it’s subjective”

  3. Yes, I’m coming to believe that having a robust ego can really help you survive and succeed in the publishing business. 🙂 I struggle in that area, but I’m now making a concerted effort to focus on my positives as much as I can, and cling to them through the knocks and setbacks.

  4. I agree with you all. It’s important. I think writers/artistic people in general are overly sensitive about their work. I plan to ‘act as if’ until I actually begin to believe. Thanks for weighing in ladies. 🙂

  5. You know, I we’re on the same wavelength. I was thinking of blogging about something similar. See, lately I’ve been thinking about how I can be more secure and aggressive in my writing and marketing of myself. Up until now, I’ve been rather wimpy. I think it’s because I’m afraid of Karma. You know, brag or be arrogant, and it’ll bite you in the butt. So I’m afraid to toot my own horn.

    But I’ve seen a lot of arrogant writers with HUGE egos get published and/or reach success. So maybe it won’t come back to bite you?

    So anyway, my new goal is to become more aggressive and just be more confident in myself and my writing.

    We’ll see how long it lasts…

  6. Larissa, Karma tends to only happen if you’re mean or treat others badly. To my understanding, as long as you aren’t arrogant toward anyone you should be fine. The kind of ego and vanity I’m talking about is the kind that builds your self-esteem, not the kind that tears someone else down in order to build yourself up. Again, when you mention being afraid of Karma, all you’re talking about really is FEAR. (Which should be our new four letter word.) As women, we’re taught to be modest and to not brag or bring attention to ourselves. Unfortunately, in business, that’s the worst thing we can do. There are enough things beating us down in this world without adding ourselves into the mix.

  7. I say that ego and vanity is something a writer needs, but not neccessarily in those terms. I say, confidence and tenacity. Very confident in your abilities and very confident in your weaknesses. Tenacious in knowing what you want, tenacious in knowing that you can achieve or reach it, and tenacious in going for it. To me, Ego and Vanity implies false pride and false confidence to cover up insecurities. But I do believe that confidence in yourself and your abilities and posessing the knowledge that what you’ve put out there is your very best work at the time will allow you to go far in this profession. Ego and Vanity can be shattered easily by an unkind word or a tactful criticism, whereas confidence allows you to see everything 100% clearly–negatives and positives–and not see the negative in constructive criticism.

  8. I’ve decided that my writers ego, or self confidence, can’t handle any more contests, free or not, rwa or not. I just don’t do well in them, for whatever reason, and even knowing it’s all “subjective” doesn’t make it any easier to take. Funny thing is, I’ve never thought I was particularly succeptable to that sort of thing. I’m usually confident, but I guess everyone has their soft spots, huh?

  9. Sidonie, I never thought of ego as false pride. I can see where vanity could fall into that trap. I think confidence comes from having a healthy ego. Tenacity is an absolute MUST for any writer wanting to make a living in this business. You cannot get published without it, and if you do, you’ll need tenacity to keep your career rolling.

  10. Sasha, I’m sorry the contests have gotten to you. They’re so HARD, no matter what contest you enter. Only one of the Brava entries I turned in was picked to be a finalist. That’s just how it goes. I told the people who didn’t final to submit to the publisher anyway. There were some REALLY great entries that didn’t make the finals. Don’t let the fact that you didn’t final stop you from playing the game.

  11. Thanks Jordan. I won’t give up on getting pubbed where I want. (ie: Brava) but I think it’ll be a long long time before I enter another contest. I take it to personally. LOL