I think they validate me – a term my mom, the psychologist, uses to describe something that affirms the positive values you hold dear.
(Did I mention it’s handy to have a mom that’s a psychologist, when you’re a writer? Cuts down on therapy bills.)
I tend to seek out people that demonstrate the traits I want to have (my mom would say we all do this). I’m lucky to have a world of blogger friends to choose from. I get a lot of validation and insight from these blogger friends, and I try to pay it forward when I can.
Validation through Critiques
I try not to seek validation through critiques, but it is really hard to avoid.
A long time crit partner was seeking validation yesterday – she had recieved four critiques, three that were positive/constructive and one where the critiquer clearly did not understand what she had written. Really, really confused. I tried to point out that there will always be people that don’t get your work – sometimes they’re critiquers, sometimes reviewers, sometimes readers. Agents and editors are (in my experience) the most likely to get it, just because they see so much variety, but even then, your work is only going to resonate with those that “get it” in a major way.
Critiques should be used to improve your work, not so much validate it; but again, it is human nature to want that validation.
Validation through Milestones
The BIG validation that writers seek is publication, or milestones along that path (like getting an agent). Michelle’s insightful post and comments remind me once again how varied people are in what they need to validate them in their writer’s journey. It makes no sense for me to tell you what should validate you – only you can know what affirms the positive values that you hold dear. This is related to The Equation for Writing Success, but different: validation can happen in small and big ways along the way.
Here’s what validates me:
- A blogger friend who says that publishing is not the end-all-be-all; writing is.
- A critique partner who says that my manuscript is the best unpublished work she’s read all year*
- A blogger friend who swoons (publicly!) over my published work.
- A writer/artist friend who wants to draw the characters in my WiP
- A reader who tweets a demand for a sequel
- A book contract
*so, my CP reads this and want to make a correction. She says it’s the best unpublished work she’s read EVER. Can you see why I love her? 🙂