The Writer's Ego

Another reason
I'm suspect about the majority of blogs out there, is that many of them
tend to be little more than exercises in ego.  Don't get me wrong
– I've got as healthy of an ego as anyone (maybe healthier ). 
But again, is it big enough to think that my random ramblings are
important enough to take the time of anyone who may be out there (let
alone, to take additional time out of my already busy days to post
them?) 

This got me thinking about the ego of the writer.  I worked for
the Writers Guild of Alberta for three years and encountered a lot of
writers at various stages of their careers, writing in all genres with
varying levels of success.  One thing I always found interesting
was the writer who would say “I don't think/care about awards.”  I
always thought to myself that if a writer doesn't have the creativity
to at least imagine their speech on the podium at the Awards Gala,
they're probably not a very good writer.  Not to mention that
awards usually are a recognition by a jury of your peers that your work
is some of the best produced in that year.  So unless you've only
writing for yourself and not trying to reach anyone else (a perfectly
valid reason to write), you probably should at least admit to caring
about awards.  I don't know – maybe it's a “modest Canadians”
thing?  Obviously we all have egos but perhaps it's embarrassing
to admit you want people to actually like and buy and recognize your
writing.  Or your blog. 


Which gets back to my original point.  That's why the best blogs are about something
the writer's favourite TV show, a certain brand of electronics,
happening in a particular city or whatever.  Otherwise, a
completely random blog is only really about one thing – you. 
Which (again) is a perfectly valid reason to have a blog if you don't
want to reach anyone else (outside a narrow band of your family and
friends.) 
But if you want your blog to add something to the world
in a larger sense, having some sort of theme is probably a good idea.

So far, this blog is much closer
to the first type than the second (Happy Birthday mom, by the
way!)  But it's early and we'll see
how it develops.  Even the current title (“Yet Another Library
Student's Blog”) hints at where I might go with this. Or I could try
and write a bit about the Canadian book industry in the larger sense as
I've been involved in so many aspects of it – book publishing, awards
programs, non-profit literary organizations and now libraries.

Oh, one more point on the writer's ego thing.  I don't have it in
front of me but there was a book published a few years ago by the Banff
Centre Press called First Chapter: The Canadian Writers Photography Project
The book featured portraits of various writers along with their
responses to one of two questions (something like “Why do you write?”
or “What would you tell your younger self now?”)  Someone pointed
out to me that there appeared to be an inverse relationship – the more
famous and successful a writer was, the shorter their answer to these
questions were.  I always thought that was revealing.

Classmate of the Day: Marni Harrington is hosting a “drinks & munchies” party tonight which will be fun. 

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Okay, and another thing blogs are for : keeping up with people who are Away, on *their* terms. When we care about someone, we care about what's happening in their life, even the little things like “I tripped on an errant stump and hurt my elbow today. That made me mad”. It brings us closer together; gives us insight into those people we're too cheap to phone (and anyway, with telephone calls, there's always this expectation you have to have some ground-shattering news in order for the call to be worthy of the howevermanycents a minute you're being charged – maybe it's the Scottish in all of us…).
    Sure, it's about ego. Someone I know has a journal called “the centre of the universe”, and of course, the centre of the universe is you. Or rather, me. I mean, the person who's talking. The narrator. Oh hell; you get my point.
    You want to, maybe *need* to talk about what's happening, even if it is just about having tried a new cheese. You might not think it's important to “the world at large”, but it's important (or mundane) enough for you to want to mention, and those are the kinds of things you'd most likely mention were we across the room from one another. And I like to read it. Because I like to hear it.
    It makes me miss you less.
    Cheers.

    Posted 15 Mar 2006 at 9:18 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Okay, I hope this works since I haven't actually used comments on my own blog yet! (Edit: think I changed the setting so that people can post without setting up an account. Bring on the Viag4a Spam!)
    First off, thanks for being the first to leave comments on my blog. I didn't even know this site was public but I must've clicked something when setting up the account that got Technorati indexing me. Damn, I didn't even get to send out invites to the launch party!
    Thanks also for the thoughts on the role of a blog. Even though your blog tends to be more of the “personal journal” style of blog (in my opinion), at least you a) keep it entertaining and b) write regularly, something a lot of blogs I come across don't do and which is one of the main reasons that I'm sort of ambivalent about blogs in general and joining the game myself specifically.
    I guess the 10% rule applies for blogs as much as it does in book publishing – 90% of everything out there is crap and 10% is decent.
    I'm not convinced that the best role for blogs is to type about the mundane stuff of everyday life but it's hard to define what exactly that is and then, everyone will have their own definition of where the line is.
    I keep thinking back to 1999-2000 when we were being told that E-Books were “the future” and by 2005 at the latest, print books would be a thing of the past. Blogs are getting similar amounts of hype these days and though I don't think they're going to disappear in five years like e-book readers did, I'm still cautious (which is strange for a guy who tends to be pretty pro-technology in general.)
    Yeah, so anyhow, thanks for dropping by Casa Del Bloggo. Hope you come back regularly.

    Posted 16 Mar 2006 at 9:30 am

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