My ego died a little more today

A while ago I wrote a post about facing the dark creative void, which was received with slightly mixed reviews.

A few people noted (or responded privately) that for them creativity is about light and love and joyful expansion, not darkness, not ever. Many other people connected with what I was talked about.

I certainly can and do connect with the beauty of creativity at the high points along the creative path.

But there are also days when venturing into creativity feels like a terrifying journey through a dark forest laden with the most horrifying monsters I can image.

It’s no wonder why scrubbing the toilet can suddenly seem alarmingly important.

As I’ve been working on my current script I’ve been aware of a background conversation that runs something like this:

  • What if it’s too dark?
  • What if no one likes it and it’s too depressing?
  • What will people think of me as a mother if I write this? (It’s a sci fi story about a mother.)
  • What if they hate it?
  • What if the ending is too bleak and horrible?
  • What if it is too powerful emotionally and people judge me for it?

And today I noticed that all these questions  have to do with my ego.

It’s my ego that cares what other people think.

But my spirit doesn’t.

My spirit says, This is a powerful, painful question you’ve been given to explore and to answer  for this character. So don’t shy away from it, don’t hold back. This is a gift you’ve been given and you are giving, the power to explore this darkness. Don’t be afraid.

My ego died a little more today so that my story might live.

Your Turn

What are you birthing, despite your fears? How can you release what your ego thinks in order to more fully claim your creative visions? Share your thoughts with us in the comments on my blog.


Coming Attractions

~> Wednesday, November 16th at 3 p.m. Pacific Time. My live video Writer’s Chat. Did you miss it? Sign up now and we’ll get you the recording link.

~> November 28th. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Sign up here. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and get a coupon for a savings on your first session.

~> November 29th. It’s my birthday! I’ll be holding a birthday sale for the entire week. Stay tuned for details. :)


~> Saturday morning. The final bits of my Right Brain Business Planning with my buddy Kris Carey. Can’t wait to wrap this up and share with you.

~> Ongoing. Writing for the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. The “plotting and outlining” journey continues and it’s amazing!

~> FRIDAYS & now daily too. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.


  1. Wow, Jenna– that is so powerful! Thank you. It brings tears of joy, and RELIEF to my eyes, and to my soul. Thank you.

  2. As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I have learned that you cannot have the light without the darkness. You can’t have yin without yang, and vice versa. And, if you look at the yin/yang symbol, there is some yin within yang, and yang within yin. Because everything is interrelated. And when one thing ends, another begins. Most great light comes from a deep pain being released. Having been a creative gal all of my life in some capacity (through illustration, writing, singing, spoken word performance, dance, among some), I’ve found that creativity and true birthing of ideas is either about creating light from darkness, and/or a release of energy in true expression (and how can you really delve into the truth without exploring your fears as fully as possible?) I have always found sound words in your emails and blogs, and this is another post that doesn’t disappoint. Certain people say that things should always be light, love, and with joyous expansion, always, without any darkness whatsoever. Of course, light and love is desirable. In fact, that can be the goal. However, creativity is a journey, and journeys contain obstacles int he road, challenges to address, darknesses that once were to be shone light through, to illuminate oneself. Thanks for reminding us that it is important to face our fears, and to discern between ego and spirit.

  3. Hi Jenna,

    I second Margarita, without light and shadow we could not see anything. We need them both. We are made of both. There could be no happiness if there nothing to relate it to.

    Here’s another example. I tried to live in Florida year round but found I didn’t look forward to the warm weather because it wasn’t a reward for surviving the cold winter.


  4. Jenna, Your questions resonate with me because I have many of the same running through my head. What I am birthing despite my fears is my blog. This past week I thought I was going to give it up for the same ego issues you were talking about in your blog. Then I joined you for the Writer’s chat broadcast and I guess you could say my ego died a little as well. I am working on my next post which I thought was not going to happen. Thanks Jenna.

  5. So happy to know that I’m not alone in this struggle. We’re given these gifts of a more spiritual nature to coax the same out of those around us, or in the least point out the areas that they struggle with so much that they reel back in fear or turn away from IT altogether. Such is our lot!
    I still don’t know exactly what it is that is getting ready to come out of me. I’m still shedding emotions layers and untangling psychic sinew… My ego (apparently) is still heavily involved.

  6. Mira Frank says:

    How can I release what my ego thinks?
    I recently returned from a 6 week silent meditation retreat at Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre MA. The focus of our practice was awareness of present moment experience such as thoughts, feelings, body sensations, emotions. I understand we have many thoughts each day, perhaps each moment. At times, I noticed how I grab onto a thought –often one with negative content such as “I should not have done that”. I then get lost in stories of “all the things I should not have done” thinking about something that happened last week, last year, 20 years ago. At some point I become aware of being lost in thought. I don’t try to change what I am thinking, I just become aware of it.

    Since I was on retreat, I was able to see how a negative thought could solidify—take on a life of it’s own. Occasionally I would notice my body tighten up, or my breath become more shallow. At some point –a few minutes, sometimes hours later-I would become aware that I had been lost in thought. Often I would then “drop” the thinking, or maybe even make a gentle note about the experience-“Oh, that was just the gremlin” (To use words I have learned from Jenna.) I would then honor being back in the present moment. Occasionally if I felt relaxed and confident, I might become curious about how I got lost into that stream of thinking, how I feel in my body, emotions that might underlie the experience., etc. If I get lost in thought again I might become aware of a neutral object like my feet touching the floor, go get a drink of water, or go for a walk.

    Another technique I quite like is “the committee” or the “board meeting”–giving a specified period of time each day for a particular “problem” or “issue”. Here is an example. On retreat each of us “yogi’s” had a 30-60 minute job each day. I helped prepare salad. I had an issue with something I was supposed to do during work and I noticed that I was constantly thinking and problem solving about what to do, say etc. So I allowed myself to think about the issue for a specified period of time (eg 30 minutes) and then told myself that committee will not be meeting again until tomorrow-so those thoughts would have to wait. Clearly this did not stop my obsessive thinking, but each time I noticed thinking about “what to do” I would gently remind myself “the next committee meeting will be tomorrow at 10:00 AM and I can bring it up then.”

    This is the first time I am commenting to a blog so I hope the info might be useful or at least understandable.

  7. Jennifer Carmack says:

    I want to rewrite the story of the hero/villain dichotomy where the ego is the villain and the spirit is the hero. I respectfully sumbit the idea that rather than killing parts of our egos, they need healing to return to balance within the holy trinity of body, mind, and spirit so that we can create courageously and joyously.

  8. If 30 minutes ago you could hear some crazy woman screaming “THANK YOU”, that was just me. I’m SOSOSO grateful to have come across your blog today. It validates (I hate that word some days) that I AM on the right track, and I DO NOT need to be sent off in a straight jacket. THANK YOU!!! You totally get what I keep thinking and do not know how to express in words.

  9. I have just one word about this – Buffy!
    And a reminder that there must be darkness to see the light.

  10. I always find the play between the ego and spirit really interesting. The idea of killing the ego has always felt like a battle. I would like to think that it does not have to be a battle. More of a letting go and then picking back up with dance.

    Most people, including myself, live with fighting the ego, to let go of pain, suffering and to live more from spirit. The problem with that is that the fighting of ego is just another aspect of the ego, so they have ego, fighting ego. Maybe the work is to create an ego, have it kill the old ego, and then create a newer ego to kill that ego. Then one day there will be no ego left to kill, then BOOM enlightenment. Time to go on the mountain, perform miracles, give wisdom and not really care about it because it is all an illusion.

  11. Linda Mcmahon says:

    The ego and the spirit will always be two different entities and they can’t go together as one.

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