As an institutional writer, it has taken me some time getting used to being listed as “Special to the Times Star Chronicle Reporter Newspaper” instead of “Sara Palmer, Awesome Wonderful Writer and Communications Manager.”
I am, however, seeing my byline more and more lately, especially in Terre Haute’s local paper, the Tribune Star. I get giddy every time, even when my name is misspelled.
I know, I know… it is all about the ego, but I value my writing as more than a paycheck. Seeing my name underneath an engaging headline in a reputable paper or magazine is worth way more than paying my bills! That being said, separating my ego from my writing has really been a good learning experience for me. You really learn to emphasize the importance of the piece, the impact of the article, over the high-fives from your coworkers.
Really, when someone flips open the paper who, besides my mother, cares more about the writer than the content? We are not greater than what we have created. I think us creative types can easily fall into an ego trap. I mean, take, for example, this quote from some famous painter:
“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”
I find inspiration in this quote, but I also feel like I’m engulfed in his pride. There is no arguing Picasso’s greatness, but not everyone is as enthralled with his work as, well, it seems like he is. Maybe it is good for us to have these moments where we have to remove ourselves from our craft. It reminds us that we do this because we love to create, not to be applauded. We should aspire to create greatness, not become greatness. I write, design, photograph and film because it gives me a rush. I love hearing people’s stories and I love sharing them in a way that inspires my audience. I am always floored by the very idea that my frazzled, Mr. Magoo-like brain can even sometimes create stories that cause an emotional reaction.
I think we can easily forget our personal mantras. We lose our meaning in the day-to-day monotony, the discarded trash piles of life’s biggest stresses. Whether you believe in god, a goddess or just yourself, everything we create serves a purpose greater than ourselves.
“The creatures that inhabit this earth–be they human beings or animals–are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.” – The Dalai Lama