Dictionary.com defines ego as, “self-esteem, self-image, feelings.” The same site defines creativity as, “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.” The question is, not whether one is more important than the other, it is how to get them to work harmoniously.
The ego is that which propels people forward. It gives them purpose and the will the fight for what they believe should be theirs. Ego compels people to exclaim, “Hey I can do that,” or “I can do that even better than the others.
Ego is synonymous with pride. It is how you feel when you know you did a good job, especially when others take notice. However, it is also synonymous with arrogance. This means that you have so much pride that it has become a negative thing. Others feel put down by how much you think of yourself.
For writers, pride is the feeling when you submit your work for an editor or reader to evaluate. You know you worked hard and put every effort into choosing each word. It turns to arrogance when you start to say and ultimately believe that no one can write as good as you.
Creativity is a writer’s ability to choose the right words to use and put them in the right order to tell a story or convey a message so that it is different from every other story and message. Creativity is synonymous with artistry and genius. Genius is the choosing of the words and artistry is how they are put together.
Ego and Creativity: How do you put pride, artistry, and genius together?
Be confident enough to know that you can accomplish the task at hand. You can write a good story, create an interesting campaign, or write a blog post worthy of reading. That is ego pushing you forward. Then let creativity take over so that you can create your work of art. Whether or not it is a masterpiece, remains to be seen, but you can strive to make it so.
If it does become a masterpiece, or even if it does not, you can be proud of your work. Just do not go off the deep end and tell the world that you are the next great artist. That will cause others to find fault with your work and knock you down to size. Then your ego will be bruised and you will need to figure out how to brush off the pain and continue on to your next piece.
In order to do good work, you need to know that it is good; you just cannot let others know that you know it. When people get wind that you know you work well, it seems as if the world works to knock you down. There needs to be a balance. You should be aware that you write well, but are not above having an editor make suggestions. Heck, even James Patterson and Stephen King have editors.
Another way to keep ego and creativity working well together is to not take on too many projects. If your ego tells you that you can get it all done and then you feel overwhelmed, you will not be as creative. Your workmanship will suffer because you do not have enough time for the process to come to its rightful conclusion.
Therefore, you will either create shoddy work or not get anything completed. Either way, your ego will take a hit and you will feel like a failure. You will then have to build your self-esteem back up so that you can write with creativity again.
In order to be a successful writer, you must know what you are capable of and know your limitations. You must be able to put your writing into perspective and be able to take criticism. You also need to be able to use these tools to be able to plug into your artistic side. Only by creating the right balance will you succeed. As with anything else, the only way there is to practice until you get it right and even then, do not stop.