The Kernel of Arrogance
In her excellent post, Joni mentioned my thoughts on the "kernel of arrogance" each writer needs to be successful, so I thought I'd expand on the theory.
In the heart of every writer, there must lie a tiny kernel of arrogance, hard enough to withstand all slings and arrows. That kernel is what allows the writer to keep from folding to rejections, requests that squash her vision for her work, lousy (i.e. "misguided" reviews), and of course the odds. ("Never tell me the odds!") It's what allows the writer to believe she has something worth saying and to write with sufficient confidence to veer from the expected and take creative risks.
Faced with too much heat and pressure, the kernel will pop, so you have to tend it carefully. Soaked in too much hubris, it with expand and swell until your kernel resembles the KFC Colonel in parade-leading regalia, which is not only obnoxious but can prevent you from hearing valuable advice.
Keeping one's balance in all things writing is always tricky but keeping one's kernel intact may be the toughest yet most important feat of all.