Ego vs. Creativity: What Matters Most for Good Content Writing?

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.

Writer’s Tips: How to Spot a Bad Client Before It’s Too Late

I’ve been freelancing for a long time, and I’ve had my share of awful clients. While most are passionate about what they do and confident about what I can bring to their business, there are a few rotten eggs.

Most of the time it’s obvious when a bad client comes along, but freelancers who are eager to work and create a portfolio often ignore the warning signs.

To make things a little easier, here are 4 warning signs to look out for.

  1. “I Have Lots of Work, But Here’s a Little to Start With.”

If a client comes to you with the promise of lots of work only to give you 1 or 2 articles, to begin with, chances are your experience with them isn’t going to be great. If the client claims to need 40 articles in the next 2 weeks and you’ve already negotiated your rates, why do they need just 1 to start with?

  1. “I’m More Concerned About Your Rates Than Your Results.”

If you’ve been going back and forth via email and still haven’t managed to agree on a price, or if the client spends hours with you on Skype just talking money, you should see a giant red flag. Based on my experience and those of fellow freelancers, I’ve realized the best clients aren’t concerned with fees, they care about quality.

  1. “But Other Writers Charge Less.”

If a client compares your work or rates to other writers, move on. How familiar does this conversation sound:

Client: what do you charge?

Freelancer: $50 for 1,000 words,

Client: Can we get that down to $20?

Freelancer: that’s my rate for this piece considering the research and format required and I always aim to get my clients results.

Client: I know other writers who can do this for much less. I just can’t work with you for $50.

The client then spends the next hour discussing your rates with no mention about the project or your abilities.

This client has little regard for your dedication and is taking up too much of your precious time trying to negotiate your rates when you could be working for someone more appreciative.

  1. “Anyone Can Write.”

When a client tells you you’re charging too much for something anyone can do, run! As a writer, your greatest asset is your feeling – about your worth, your abilities and how much value you can offer.

How a client treats you often depends on how much value they think they can get from you. If they think anyone can do it, why isn’t the client doing it himself?

Drop Those Bad Clients Right Now!

Some freelancers feel that getting a client to contact you is the most difficult part of generating business and as a result, you should retain every single client. But is it really worth it?

I think getting clients to contact you is the easy part; ensuring they’re a great match is much more challenging and something that could affect you negatively if proper precautions aren’t taken.

If any of your potential clients have the above traits, drop them now.

Have you been able to spot a bad client before getting involved in a project? How did you deal with them?