Brian Doyle says:
“It has nothing to do with talent. Somehow it has everything to do with a relatively small ego. The less cool you think you are, the better a writer you are. You have to have enough ego to sit your butt in the chair and try to say or shout or witness or transmit or report something, but not so much ego that you cross the line into rant or sermon or homily or advice or counsel or instruction; those are the lesser apostles, suitable only for politicriminal and religiodious people who are after your wallet and flaunt and flounce their importance because deep down they are terrified they are not important at all. Also good writing has something to do with persistence and diligence and showing up at the desk every day, if you can find an hour. Also it has to do with listening; I am a thousand times better a writer now that I am older than I was when I was younger because I listen a thousand times more carefully than I did when I thought I was the center of the known universe.”
What do we need to write or create or live?
Small-ish ego. Like Doyle says, “enough ego to sit your butt in the chair.”
Enough ego to have the audacity to think we have something to say or make or offer the world. Enough ego to believe our lives have meaning and our gifts are worth sharing.
But only a pinch, dash, and sprinkle of ego or you'll burn everything to the ground.
And, oh yeah, “The less cool you think you are, the better writer you are.”
Not terrible advice.