Writing goes in cycles between selfless observation and selfish recapitulation. I’m talking about practical uses of self.
While in observation mode, the writer dissolves himself in empathy, supplanting his own concerns with those of others in an attempt to find multi-individual narratives.
While in recapitulation mode, the writer must ensure his own comfort so that he can focus and produce a work of power.
Extensive difficulty lies in keeping the selfless and the selfish patterns separate (not necessarily temporally separate, but separate in terms of motivation, opinion, questing, etc.).
Coddle himself so he can write for others – almost sounds paradoxical!