We all have them, but how do we get rid of them?
I realized that so much of my writing work was previously tied up with my own ego. So much of life in general is as well. It sort of powers a lot of our volatile emotions and makes us do crazy things. It also powers things like our motivation. In a way having an ego is what powers so many of our desires. But it also blocks us from taking the small steps we need to take to accomplish the larger goals we have.
This week I dealt with a lot of egos. It’s easy to get sucked in. I didn’t end up working on Book People that much because I was sort of just in constant reaction mode. I decided that I won’t beat myself up about it too much because I was handling a lot. So what if I am inefficient some days, I’m not a machine, I will have off days. The point is that I keep getting back on the proverbial horse.
Spending the week dealing with other people’s egos made me think about my own.
I started this Substack with the idea that I want to be Malcolm Gladwell. I mean, I still very much do - have you seen the man’s hair? I wish I could have hair like that. But now I can see that this really shouldn’t be my underlying motivation. And slowly I am realizing that it is not. Because that motivation - to be a famous writer, to be published in a certain way, to receive recognition and accolades - that is all ego driven. When you strip that all away, what I have left is just a simple desire to tell my husband’s story. To memorialize that time in his life which was so formative and so strange. For someone else to say “I see you” and “wow, you had such a weird experience”. This is the crux of the thing. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. That’s the motivation.
With Book People, I started with so much ego and ambition. I was in a rush to get there (the recognition). The ego actually blocked me from writing. As the months went by, I slowly understood that I had to keep stripping it all away. At one point I even wondered if I wanted to write this book. Now I understand that I really really do. And that desire to do so is becoming less and less ego driven. The less the ego, the more that comes out on the page. Isn’t life so wonderfully strange?