Monday, June 14, 2010

Banishing the Ego

I'm an advocate of the daily writing practice.  Each new sentence we write teaches us more about the art of language and its ability to transfer imagery from our minds to the imaginations of our readers.  Every paragraph is a lesson in connecting ideas to build a story.  Learning the craft is a never-ending, day-by-day endeavor.

Sometimes I show up, only to find my muse has taken the day off.  Those days are frustrating.  Still, I write on.

I've noticed something interesting during this journey.  The times I try to write something brilliant are the times I fail the most miserably.  It's almost as if the pressure I put on myself stifles my creativity.

It comes down to ego.

When I break it down in my mind, I realize my love for writing comes from the soul, but the desire to succeed with my writing is driven by the ego.  When you want something too much, it becomes an energy-sucking enterprise.  A kill-joy.  An abomination.

But how do you stoke the fires of self-motivation necessary to write every day, to push yourself and improve in your craft, without inviting the ego to the party?

For me, it takes constant self-surveillance.  My internal dialog includes a pep talk playing on an endless loop, reminding me to indulge in the art form, enjoy the daily process, write what I'd want to read.  It's okay that not every sentence is a masterpiece.

And sometimes, when I dismiss the ego, when I dive into the creative pool of my mind simply to enjoy its soothing waters, I tap into magic.

Do you find it challenging to strike a balance between pushing yourself and needing to succeed?