So, about that resolution to get out of my way? Needs a little work.
The writer's ego is a tricky thing, I think. On one hand, a writer is completely self-centered. The first obligation of service is to her/himself. John Lennon is a great example of this. When approached by a fan who was beyond star-struck, Lennon told the kid to stop taking the songs so seriously. "I wrote them for me, not for you." On the other hand, the writer is selfless the moment her/his work is published and is exposed for all to see. And yet, it's an extension of "Look at me." Art for art's sake is one thing, but dammit, I also want to make money. I want you to like what I write. I want you to like me.
A writer has to learn balance, not only in terms of time, but also ego and self-service. At what point does self-promotion become badgering? We need to promote ourselves and manage our careers because no one else will, but we also need to learn how to be part of a community that does more than look out for number one. There is nothing I like more than to be part of a community of writers that look out for each other. It's my pleasure and honor to assist another writer, and I've had several opportunities to do so.
I got a lesson in this last night. And even as I argued my case in favor of self-promotion (I know I'm being vague here and leaving out a few key details that would put this conversation in a much clearer context, but I'm not ready to disclose yet -- projects are in the works), I heard myself saying, "Stop trying to be right, shut up, and get out of your own way." But my ego wouldn't listen. "I can handle this," she said, but in the end felt rather selfish and ashamed of it.
Make no mistake: there is nothing wrong w/ looking out for one's own interest. We need to. But experience has told me time and again that what I give comes back to me multiplied. However, sometimes I get scared. Sometimes I fear I will fall into obscurity. And when my car is in the shop and my credit card balance, the one I worked so hard to reduce, is rapidly rising, I let dollars and cents rule my judgment. That's ego backed into a corner.
But what really does me in is my flawed perfectionism and the fear of being perceived as disingenuous. I have to move beyond the ego and remember who I really am. It's more than a writer, teacher, promoter, sophist, or any other label I bestow upon myself.
Much, much more.