Don’t let your ego hold you back

Talk to the hand ego

Egos get the best of everyone.

I just read a great post on a writer’s ego – compliments of one of my favorite writing resources – the copyblogger. I feel the author of this post was eavesdropping on me while writing this because it’s really hard to take your ego out of the equation when you’re writing for clients, agencies or anyone else that isn’t you. Here are a few examples…

The Agency blog
I write for my agency’s blog on a weekly basis. When I first started doing this I thought it was a great opportunity to show my personality but also support the agency. Well, it works that way…to a point. There was a post I was REAL passionate about. And of course everything has to be approved before it’s posted, so I had to let my Senior look it over. I even warned her that – yes, this was a little edgy, but it’s humorous and witty, and I think it would be a great addition.

Two words. Shot down.

The article was completely revamped because it wasn’t taking a full agency stance. I could still use it, but let me tell you, it took me about a day and a half to settle down from the constructive criticism. Was this a major work of art? No. Was it going to give me a raise? No. So why couldn’t I just make the changes and move on? Because I couldn’t help but take it personally. If they didn’t like the content, then they were judging me. Well, no, that wasn’t the case. They just didn’t want to make our agency out to be something we’re not. And after I rationalized this fact, I made the changes and went on with my life.

The Website
Recently, I had to put together content for an internal staging site for a large insurance company. It was a website for their agents to pick out specific discounted advertising packages through the Agency. Pretty straight forward, didn’t have to be fluffy because it wasn’t even available to the public, but still, it was important to be clear and consistent with messaging. So I put together a couple drafts, worked off content and information that the sales team was giving me and sent it on over. 

Well, this came back with so many changes that it took another two weeks just to get everything down. Now, luckily, I’ve worked with clients directly and have gotten used to being a “yes” woman. But it was still hard to shove my ego down when the changes included making grammatically correct statements incorrect or putting hyphens where they didn’t belong.

However, I wasn’t dealing with the Insurance company, I was dealing with our sales team (who were making these preposterous changes), so I had to let it go because it would take so much more time and energy fighting them on every little change and inevitably sabotaging my future working relationship with them, then to just let them have their way.

Big Picture
So yeah – I have an ego. What writer doesn’t, though? The important thing to learn is that you will NOT get your way every single time you write something for others. Even working with other copywriters can be hard (sometimes harder) because you may not always agree with their style either.  But eventually you’ll get that book published, or you’ll get noticed and offered something better – and then hopefully you’ll be able to say that you created a great product and you’ll be humble enough to thank those for the valuable lessons that helped get you to this point.

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Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stephen King will not read this but I get why.

Stephen Kings, "The Dark Tower - Book 7"

Stephen King - just hear me out...

No one ever tells you how hard it will be. Scratch that. Everyone tells you. Bloggers tell you. Copywriters tell you. Hell even Stephen King tells you. But you won’t listen. You’ll bullishly put yourself out there, hoping that something may catch. But it really doesn’t sink in exactly how hard it will be until you try. Well, this is me trying to become a writer. And failing quite successfully. How long have I been trying? Really trying? Honestly – a couple of days. Not even a week. If you stopped reading for lack of sympathy I understand.

I do know one thing though, writers gotta write. So I guess I’m doing okay in that aspect, so far. And I’ll keep building on it. But where I get stuck is writing what I want to write, not what other people want me to write. Correction, I like writing for the agency. It gives me a sense of purpose. It’s fulfilling. It’s even a living. But my soul doesn’t yearn to create content for a moving and storage website (though I’m quite good at it).

And I’m sure countless respected copywriters will tell me to work the system. Start with small projects. The little $15 writing jobs where you talk about assembling a bike, or how to sell a moped on eBay. And I’m not looking for a shortcut. I just don’t want to put myself in a position where I’m groveling for a $30 copywriting project by showing them my portfolio of $15 copywriting jobs.

I want to inspire others. Provide some thrills. I want to write a gory futuristic novel that would make Stephen King believe that there is a shred of hope for our generation. I’d love to be published. I’d love just to write a novel that no one reads just to say that I wrote a novel. It’s all I can hope for at this point.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? If there is I’m a long way from seeing it. Anyone else struggling to make their way through the darkness?

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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