Polly Stenham tells us that the collaborative nature of theater kills a lot of vanity in her work as a playwright. On the other hand, a quick Google search shows us that lack of confidence is a huge issue with the writing process. Somewhere in between excessive vanity and the Google search results is the right mix of confidence and humility that leads to great work and great writing (and Polly Stenham).
Maybe the secret is to do the work for something other than yourself. Work for a cause, work for a tribe. Of course, this in itself requires a story to tell others and to tell yourself to motivate the work, and to motivate others to follow your work. It also diverts attention away from the self, and towards the group you are working for. Less vanity, more confidence and purpose.
Personally, I suffer from a lack of confidence. I worry about what others think and I don’t get enough of my own work done. However, when I do create something I find myself staring at it over and over – spellbound like it is some kind of jewel or reflection in a mirror – vanity overcomes me in other words. If I am honest, I am still looking for a group to write for, and a tribe to be part of when it comes to my writing. I think it would take the pressure off of the writing process.