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Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
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What constitutes having too big of an ego? In that, what are the behaviors that create a detriment to relationships? Not all people with big egos are deplorable to those around them. Some of them are very magnetic, very likable. Others will rub some the wrong the way, while a measure of egotistical persons are loathed.
A narcissist isn’t automatically hated. The most likeable folks can be major narcissists. Ask anyone who has been abused by one! Not all narcissists are abusive, though.
Sadly, many of those in the arts, especially those who make a killing at it, are judged by the greater portion of society as having large egos. I’m not keen on believing that. I think it takes lofty minds to create, and minds that aren’t always focused on the appropriate ins and outs of interaction with all human beings—creating some social awkwardness. However awkwardness manifests, it can be viewed as offish or snobbish by the person on the receiving end. In reality, it might just be a lack of grace in parting from a conversation. You don’t have to have Asperger’s to not be clued in on all the social graces. Also, some individuals lack grace in their expectations of others, such as meeting an author or artist and expecting an interaction different than what you get (not deep or connected enough, because the artist doesn’t owe you intimacy and friendship). A lot of people, for some reason, expect so much from celebrities, for instance, like making off color comments they think would be embraced, touching, or forcing more conversation. Then, you hear about how rude the celebrity was, and you have no gauge by which to judge other than the word of the storyteller.
Ego is in the eye of the beholder.
Being a public persona takes a certain level of showmanship, and showmanship takes a level of ego. Narcissism is something we all have to a degree, so it shouldn’t automatically be defined in the negative. Malignant narcissism is a whole other bag of tricks!
Let’s think about the portrayal of Tony Stark from Marvel’s Iron Man. He’s interesting, fun to hang out with, and a lot of people cheer him on. In the beginning, his ego has negative repercussions, which precipitate issues (or as he calls them demons) he has to face in order to maintain a positive balance. However, he never loses his ego. Part of his charm is that attitude, and by the end of all of the films, the fans adore him. The same is true of some of the most famous authors. Ego was sometimes responsible for causing feuds between them, too, just like between Captain America and Iron Man.
Part of the reason that I think I struggle with expanding my readership quickly is that I lack the ego and style that attracts people. I often wish I had the magnetism of Stark. Imagine the heights to be reached with your work if you had the money and style of Tony…
It would be exhausting. I’m an introvert, and even though I can adapt to extroverted behaviors, it takes so much out of me. Then, of course, there are the larger bullies and larger expectations. I’m not sure how celebrity level authors and artists manage all that, but they seem to do so beautifully.
All that said, I prefer those who are down to Earth and have a healthy excitement about what is they get to do. Confidence is great and it does help with the job. Confidence, let me remind you, is a matter of ego. It’s true! Where malignant narcissism is the negative aspect, confidence can be considered the positive aspect. So, a healthy level of ego does help an author succeed, as it does anyone in business.
Don’t forget to see what the other authors had to say on this topic by clicking on their links below…