Recently, I was struggling with ego’s seesaw. I explained to friends that writers are often private people—loners who tend towards isolation. That’s how we get the work done. But once the writing is done, we need to persuade people to back our work…either as publishers, promoters or as buyers. That requires ego.
Of course, everything requires ego to some degree. But promoting and receiving praise for my work engages my ego in a big way, and that can be dangerous for a recovering alcoholic like me.
There are clear connections between ego and my drinking: if someone offers me a drink and I take it, I’ll want the rest of the bottle (or wine box); if someone offers praise, I crave more…and more and more. I abstain from alcohol, but the success of my work doesn’t allow me to abstain from ego.
My pal, D, responded with a copy of “Desiderata” in which Ehrmann says, “enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”
With ego, the healthy answer rests inside balance. But as with sobriety, the challenge is maintaining that balance.
(Image by Irene Shpak at deviantart.com)