Sometimes I feel like being a writer is like swinging on a very large swing.
Up and down I go. Up and down. One minute, I'm high up in the air, the next I'm barely above the ground. And then up I go again. Up and down. Up and down.
When I'm up, I'm the greatest thing ever. I write the greatest stories in the history of storywriting. Everybody in the world will want to read them. They will change people's lives. They could even change the whole world.
Then, before I've even had a chance to think about it, I find myself right back down again. What am I thinking? What makes me think that my stories are so great? Why would anybody ever want to read them? What even gives me the right to think about putting them out anyway? After all, there are already so many stories out there, mostly written by writers who are far more proficient than I am. How presumptuous am I to even think about putting myself in the same league as them.
And then, before I completely give up in despair, I'm right back up again, marvelling at the wonder of what I've been able to create.
It's a pretty odd sort of world, swinging between such extremes of egomania and insecurity, but in a funny kind of way, I suppose they're both essential to an effective writer.
The egomania is essential because without it, what would keep you writing? You need to feel that you have something to say that other people are going to want to read. Otherwise, what's the point of the exercise in the first place?
As for the insecurity, it helps to realise that maybe what you're writing isn't the most super-fabulous thing in existence. That way, you're more likely to spend the time trying to improve it – to iron out errors and fix it up so it shines in every possible way.
So that's why I reckon swinging between egomania and insecurity are perfectly normal and perfectly healthy for writers. I guess the secret is not to be overwhelmed by one or the other – not to get caught up with thinking you're the greatest thing since Dickens or Tolstoy (or whoever else rings your bells) and also not to fall in an abject heap.
So, whether you're right up at the top or right down at the bottom, hope you have a happy and productive week.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as