Validation Drug Trip

I’d love to say that I need no outside validation for my writing…but then I’d be lying. However, validation seems like a drug. Every time you need a little bit more than last time to get that lift.

Fairly soon I’m going to have to resort to a cheap compliment fishing expedition to get the validation I crave, even though that kind of validation is never as good as a pure freely-given compliment.

HOw much do you rely on others to tell you your writing is any good?

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10 responses to “Validation Drug Trip

  1. I know what you mean. I feel totally confident when I’ve got what I think is the last draft of something.

    Then I hand it to someone, and even a correction in spelling has me reduced to a bowl of self-doubt jello salad. Complete with grated carrot and raisins.

    Sometimes I’m able to tell them I like it how it is, but a little ego stroking goes a long way.

    • Yes, egos need stroking now and then. I wish I could say mine didn’t!

      “Self-doubt jello salad.” I’m going to use that.

      And don’t be done it. Or at least train yourself to recover quickly.

  2. It’s nice to get validation from others. Excellent in fact. Especially when that person is someone I truly admire. But in the final few moments, if I could just convince my son to read a few of my short stories and say, “Wow, she is a writer,” then I’ll be happy.

    • Yes, some people’s validation matters more. Right now my son is too young to read my work, but in future I imagine I’ll feel like you. Right now it feels like he’s going to grow up baffled why his mom spent so much time on a dream that was never going to come true.

  3. Validation is always needed and I think the more we care about something, the more we want someone else to validate it. Interestingly one of the nicest pieces of validation I received recently wasn’t about my writing but about myself – a few days ago someone commented on my blog that reading my blog made them feel like I was someone they would like to hang out with. It sounds like a small thing but it felt like a huge compliment!

    Oh, and I’d better add – mapelba you’re awesome! 😉

    • Thank you, Vanessa.

      And it is strange where validation can come from. One of the best moments for me came from a student. I teach English as a second language to adult international students. At the end of one term a young man from Japan said, “Before I took your class I didn’t like writing. Now I think writing is fun. I want to write more in my life.”

  4. It’s… well, it’s certainly complicated, isn’t it? We want honesty from readers (at least, we usually say we do), but it’s hard to recognize criticism as honest. (Hmm… I wonder what his/her hidden agenda is? Jealousy? Yeah, that must be it…) What we want is honest praise! 🙂

    The only way I’ve found to listen to feedback without going mad is to picture my writing in a book or magazine. It stands to reason that in an open society with a high literacy rate, even mega-bestselling authors will get read and liked by a tiny portion of the reading public. Somebody offering feedback — whether somebody we know or not, and counting “professionals” (agents, editors, reviewers, fellow authors) as well as those who know “only” what they like — anybody offering feedback is really just giving his/her opinion. All that separates this opinion from any other readers’ is that you (lucky you!) get to know what the opinion is. It’s a pretty flimsy difference on which to hang any big decisions (rewrite the ending! rewrite the beginning! quit writing for good! start epublishing!).

    When I read my own stuff — during revision/editing or later — that’s the only time I’ve got a reader whose opinion really truly matters. Because I want the story/blog post/email message/whatever to be something I won’t be embarrassed to re-read later.

    (When I read a book, I’m usually checking off a list — whether I know it at the time or not — of things I like/dislike about it. I should be able to do the same thing with something I’ve written myself. If I know I’ve told the story I wanted to tell, as well as I could, then I can’t let myself be freaked out if someone thought he/she was reading a different story. See?)

    • I understand what you’re saying.

      Sometimes I think what I really want is evidence that certain people actually care that I write whether they like my writing or not.

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