A Link Between Ego and Creativity

Obviously, there is one.

I think the clearest one is the amount of confidence it takes to look into something, identify value after combining concepts for a final product, and especially to put one’s name on it and as a matter of ownership, say, “I made this!”

People with unfortunately shattered, damaged egos don’t do this. People with super inflated egos think that everything that comes out of them is gold. It seems that self-worth gets transferred to something the creator identifies as coming from the self. It’s got to be a healthy instinct to want feedback and criticism, because it puts a creator somewhere in the middle.

But there’s this other thing too that’s not quite criticism, but is certainly a form of feedback. “Maybe if you-” is usually how it starts out. It’s feedback that I’ve found can happen even when people really love something, and somewhere between hard criticism and soft opinion. It also has a corollary of “I’m not going to do the legwork myself, and I already read it, but if you try this, maybe I’ll go along for the ride with you! Maybe.”

And that’s how it should be.

An old, old piece of advice for writers is that it’s their job to know what advice to take. Sometimes it’s said by a person who’s about to shoot any old opinions like it’s water from a firehose, and sometimes it’s said by someone who’s tentative about giving really good opinions. It’s up to the creator to discern.

But I think that old addage should also be added to really important pointers such as: opinions and like/dislike preferences aren’t the same thing as advice, and who the hell has the right to give a creator advice?
Let’s take the super popular idea of youtube as an easier channel — can anyone name a single famously successful channel that is devoid of criticism, that doesn’t have dislikes, and where if the creator was running around and sharing it with friends and family, got a unanimous response of “Boy, this is probably perfect. You did it.”

No. No you can’t.

And the last thing I’ll point out is, I think it’s common practice for any fiction author to become a little revisionist — and make ~20 different drafts of something as arduous as a novel. I still remember watching a documentary about Stallone writing Rocky, and smirking when he acknowledged that there’re 20 (paper!) copies of the first script, and that he had about 20 slightly-to-very different version that, I’ll wager, he never went back to ever.

I guess my resting point is, an author needs to have some ego, definitely, and an author has to respect their audience, but also realize they’re the creator, and figure out if opinions or advice are really right for them to incorporate when doing those twenty different rewrites. Maybe even give any feedback double/triple/quadruple weight in professional relationships rather than say, workshops, friends, or family, but still weigh it, rather than take it. It’s going to be the author’s name on the final product after all, and above all, it’s a creator’s job to be successfully captivating and even entertaining, more than to capture and entertain ideas.

And that’s not even a novel point.