Writing Is an Act of Ego; Admit It!

Ninva

Анна Ахматова
The author of the classical non-fiction writing guide On Writing Well said in one compound sentence: "Writing is an act of ego, and you might as admit it." This short insert of humor struck me. It was the escape rope from my torture, the pink fairy in my bottle, the resurrect ability in my spell book. Actually, it was a brief moment of pure shock and delight.

For many years now, I've been writing as an act of ego; yet I could never publicly admit this. I always had to speak in second person to avoid criticism. Well, why bother? William Zinsser says that we shouldn't limit ourselves. There is no noble cause for writing. Writers are narcissistic, stubborn, immoral and crazy members of our society. Kurt Vonnegut writes in his infamous autobiography TimeQuake: "FUCK ART."

Why spend our time trying to model an ideal Homer who is only known to be a concept? Aristotle was the first person to actually start this craze over morality in literature. He said that "[Homer's] greatness was that he himself was nowhere to be found in his story. His characters were everywhere." - The Odyssey by Homer (Translated by W.H.D. Rouse and introduced by Deborah Steiner)

You may then wonder where I’m going with this. Well, in the literature community, we creative folk like to chat from time to time despite the fact that most writers are considerably hermits that pop out of their holes once in a while to either yell at someone or go shopping. Now, the writers I always seem to meet are self-righteous pricks like myself. So we spend the next half hour duking it out using our expanded vocabulary with the intent to embarrass the other. And this last sentence always comes out of the other writer’s mouth: “You’re such an egomaniac!”

That would be the winning punch. My pride would be shattered. I’d sit there in deep thought. Why am I writing? Did I really have a reason to write? What’s his/her noble cause: an audience? That’s a bunch of bull. All writers write for an audience. All writers know that a stranger will be looking over their material. Why am I the only egomaniac?

Well, it turns out that all serious writers are slightly egomaniac. They spend night and day working on a story for what – a dying friend? No, they work on a story because they want to. And if that’s not selfish, then what is?! All you who are diehard writers are ego obsessed jerks. Admit it! But now that you know you’re selfish and very fond of your opinion on a variety of subjects, embrace your ego. Take that energy and write! Use that selfish attitude of yours and express yourself with characters, background, ideas, and stories. Embrace your humanity and become great with your craft.

---

Read On Writing Well by William Zinsser for more tips on writing! This short article was inspired by chapter "Style."
 

DM Cross

You want to see a magic trick?
Staff member
You think too much into this.
 

Genkora

Frog blast the vent core!
I certainly agree that writing is an act of ego, but I disagree that there is no noble cause for writing. Just because I think I'm smarter than everyone doesn't mean I can't have a valid point on some fault of society or life. The truth, no matter how harsh, is always noble; most of the time truth is found only in satire.
 

Ninva

Анна Ахматова
I certainly agree that writing is an act of ego, but I disagree that there is no noble cause for writing. Just because I think I'm smarter than everyone doesn't mean I can't have a valid point on some fault of society or life. The truth, no matter how harsh, is always noble; most of the time truth is found only in satire.
There's nothing you can say that can't be said. A writer should provoke. He or she should never fix.
 

ReVolver

Moderator
Staff member
No offense but this is why I don't like writers or would like to be one :p

Writers are just people who want to force their opinion and make it so that your opinion or your believes are bias.
 

ReVolver

Moderator
Staff member
Ha, I don't think "force" would be the right word to use. We persuade. ;)
Pssh! You writers and your picky words. :rolleyes: You know what I mean :p I fail at persuading people that's probably why I don't like to write =/ I have a strong believe that 90% of the people I try to persuade are not gullible.
 

Genkora

Frog blast the vent core!
There's nothing you can say that can't be said. A writer should provoke. He or she should never fix.
I'm not saying fix, but speech never gets anything accomplished. You can argue with a book, but you won't win.
 

Ninva

Анна Ахматова
Pssh! You writers and your picky words. :rolleyes: You know what I mean :p I fail at persuading people that's probably why I don't like to write =/ I have a strong believe that 90% of the people I try to persuade are not gullible.
I'm not a very big salesmen myself. My tactic is to question tradition, so people begin discussing. I do this everywhere.

I'm not saying fix, but speech never gets anything accomplished. You can argue with a book, but you won't win.
Atheists believe they can. *joke*

Thoughts lead to words; words lead to actions.
 

Jesus4Lyf

Good Idea™
A writer should provoke.
I agree with that.

Now if I'm to be that niggling insect drilling itself between the pores of your skin to reveal that there is in fact blood underneath, I think not of myself, but of my target.

Wherefore does ego come in? Assuming I have the right to do so?
But I do... Someone has to.

Perhaps not so much egotistical because of the act, or assuming yourself to have a voice to hear, but egotistical in the way it aims to challenge the ego of everyone else. ;)

Like I never had a fault.
(And therein we write to be perfect?)

Now review my story, Ninva! :p
 

DM Cross

You want to see a magic trick?
Staff member
I have to disagree with this entire thread really. But I'm on my phone right now and away from my computer, so a lengthy rely will follow when I sober up :)
 

Seb!

You can change this now in User CP.
Good article. An author, in fiction, is creating really a whole new world of characters and events that all revolve around the author's world-view. The most innovative authors - the ones that press for social change - are expressing their opinion in a very egomaniacal way. :thup:
 

BlowingKush

I hit the blunt but the blunt hit me.
Writing is just a mechanism by which information is transfered.
It is up to the interpreter to determine its signifigance.

If writing is egotistic, then I suppose speaking, and making eye contact with any living object is too, because you might actually communicate an idea.
 

Genkora

Frog blast the vent core!
You know, it is an interesting idea. But I still have to partially disagree. Writer's have been some of the most influential people in history, and it generally is towards better ends. If I notice some huge flaw in society or government, and I provoke it and abuse it through my writing, the flaw will become more apparent and lead to it being fixed. Or at the very least people will come to light with the truth.

I don't write to help people, that's true. But I also don't write as an act of some superiority complex. I write because I like to, and regardless what my means may be in a particular essay or story, it will be interpreted differently by different people, and the ends may very well be noble and help people.

Writing an act of ego? That's the part I partially agree with, but no noble cause? Oh no no no, there is nothing more noble than writing. Protesters can scream and bitch and moan, but unless they actually do something nothing will happen (not to be confused with strikers). Writing is more effective than telling.
 

Samael88

Evil always finds a way
First thing first, what is the word ego?
It is latin for self.

I am Samael88 = ego sum Samael88.
This means that you are saying that writing is an act of self?

That would be quite obvious, since if I write something it would probably:
a) Be something about myself.
b) Be an extenction of my thoughts, and since my thoughts are reflections of me, then it my writing is an extenction of myself.

And the one that is the most obvious of them all:
I write things.
Ego exaro dictata.
Probably not the right grammar on write, but the first word is the important one;)
 
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