Comedy writers have the most fragile egos. Mindy Kaling
At various stages of our lives, our egos take a bashing but now, in the Autumn of my years, I care less about what other people think. And yes, this cavalier thought process even applies to my writing, except… when it comes to what the people closest to me think.
I can cope with critique from people with whom I’m not emotionally entwined. I will take what they have to say on the chin and rework with their philosophy at the forefront of my mind. But it is when I excitedly hand a printout of, in my mind, my latest literary triumph, to my nearest dearest, I do so with a degree of trepidation.
As I tend to write in a comedic vein, it is always of paramount importance to me that the family reader responds during the first 250 words with a smile or preferably, a laugh. Full on belly laughter would have me cartwheeling around the garden, but it’s when they sigh, frown and pick up the red pen, especially during the opening paragraph, I feel that I have failed.
My brittle ego falls to the floor and starts beating its frangible little hands on the ground. I feel like a pickaxe has been driven through its flimsy membrane as my flakey self-esteem goes into self-defence mode and I respond aggressively. My most important target audience and I want them to love every word I write, not strike them out or rearrange with the accursed red pen.
Still, my heart knows they are always right and my ego always heals. I’ve already been told by someone I have never met that “It’s worth making sure that you amuse rather than bludgeon the reader with witty lines – less is definitely more when it comes to comic writing.” And I took that on the nose without any tears or tantrums. So it’s always very important to leave your brittle ego at home.