Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Validation

Most writers appreciate a morsel of validation from time to time, whether it's from writing peers, industry pros, or family & friends. As Rachelle Gardner wrote in this post, "It's perfectly natural to want validation for your work."

Are writers especially needy? I don't think so. Here are my thoughts:
  • Musicians are validated when fans buy their music.
  • Teachers are validated when a struggling student breaks through.
  • Employees are validated when they receive a raise or promotion.
  • Parents are validated when they receive compliments about their children
No matter where we are on our writing journey, with each project we finish, each positive critique we receive, or each lesson we learn, we validate that we're on the right path.

Jenny Torres Sanchez wrote in this must-read post: Sara Zarr at SCBWI -- VALIDATION -- "When you feel like you might be setting yourself up for failure or are unsure if you'll ever be able to clear the next hurdle, then hearing that what you do matters, that it is important and necessary, well then, that is one hundred percent, unadulterated validation."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Do you receive the validation needed to keep going? Do you offer validation to fellow authors?

If you're looking for inspiration and validation, check out Jill Kemerer's post about Nurturing the Fragile Writer's Ego.

56 comments:

  1. I think no matter how much we try to lend ourselves all the confidence we need, everyone needs a little validation now and again:)

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  2. I agree. We all need some type of validation.

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  3. I receive validation when someone buys one of my books off the Kindle store. Sure they probably aren't going to read the whole thing or give it a good review or anything, but they might read some of it, so that's good.

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  4. I thought about that while watching a concert on TV the other night. Musicians get validation every night they perform, but writers usually don't have a stadium full of people cheering them on as they read.

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  5. I find when I give support, I am validated back double of what I give, usually through friends, blog readers, and other writers and photographers. I agree that validation is important and is part of the basic need of relationship with others for us to thrive as people.

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  6. You're absolutely right. Every profession has different forms of validation and as writers, it's extra important that we cheer each other (and ourselves) on!

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  7. I think that's why the writing blog community is so important. I have my husband who always cheers me on, even when he doesn't understand where my frustration is coming from, but now I have writer friends to tell me I'm not crazy for feeling so up and down about writing.

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  8. I think that's why the writing blog community is so important. My husband is always willing to cheer me on and support me, even when he doesn't understand what my doubts are about, but having writer friends who can tell me I'm not crazy for feeling the way I do sometimes has helped a lot.

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  9. That's why I love our group! We give the tough feedback, but we also point out the good stuff. ;D Plus it's SO MUCH FUN. But I digress... Sometimes that kind comment from someone else makes all the difference.

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  10. Thank you. I needed this. It is the same way as Christians in that we are to 'encourage one another'. Being new to the blogging world, it is harder to receive validation with a smaller reader data base but I CAN validate others! Great post...Now I will read the blogs you referred to!

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  11. I try to! Even if the writer has a long way to go - they still need to hear what they are doing right and how they are improving!

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  12. Great post. I think we all need a little validation from time to time. I've found that it doesn't have to be much, but a kind comment makes all the difference :)

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  13. Even something as little as getting honorable mention in a first-line contest can be validating when you've gone awhile without any. I love the quote and the examples!
    erica

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  14. We all definitely need validation, not just time and again, but often. Just a kind comment, positive feedback about our writing, go a long way in brightening our day.

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  15. I think that's the real validation for writers. Not being a bestseller or having a film made from your story, tho those rock and pretty much do validate. But it's often the one reader that lets you know how much they enjoyed your work-pubbed or not-- and what it meant to them. That is validation.

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  16. I agree, validation is really important. That's one of the reasons I enjoy blogging -- I know that my work is being read, even if I'm not being published in the traditional sense of the word.

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  17. When musicians go on tour, they have thousands of screaming fans. Wouldn't it be great if thousands showed up for a book reading? We all need validation, it just comes in different ways and different forms.

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  18. I'm not sure it's so much as validation as the fact that wrtiing is so hard that it's great if you can get feedback. If you're doing something right or are on the right track, it's encouraging to hear!

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  19. Published or not, it's still good to know that people appreciate what I write. I feel validated as a writer even when my work is criticized. I believe that at some point of the other, we all need a bit of encouragement and reassurance that we're not wasting our time writing.

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  20. This is such a great post. I think of those who validate me on my blog. It is so wonderful to get those validating comments. Thanks for validating me :)

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  21. Super post. Love the links. I'm so blessed to be in the BEST critique group ever. I need so much hand holding I feel like an octopus. BTW - I'm validated as a teacher every time my students giggle or smile. They are my rays of sunshine.

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  22. Absolutely! And when you are feeling good about your work it resonates into your work and inspires those around you too.

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  23. I think too often we have to find that validation within ourselves, especially when we're first starting out. But it really does make a difference to have some kind of feedback. That's why I blog...I get that instant feedback.

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  24. Very true. No matter what we do, we all need some sort of validation. :)

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  25. No matter how good of a writer anyone is, we all need validation from time and time again.
    For me, I know that's why I want other people to read my work. Hearing their thoughts on what I've written gives me the validation I need to keep going.

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  26. I completely agree that everyone needs some sort of positive reinforcement. It lets us know we are doing something right in the world. There is nothing wrong with writers wanting the same thing! Great post!

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  27. I'd say you got a little validation of your own recently, yes? too cool~ :o) <3

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  28. You hit the nail on the head… I love to make people want more; it’s what makes it all worth it. I write for me first and foremost, yet it brings a wide smile to my face to share my world with those readers who get what I’m trying to create. And it is glorious when they do.

    Thx for all you do...

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  29. I do think it's important in all parts of our lives. We want to feel that what we are doing is good, worthwhile, appreciated, liked... It's a positive motivator, and we all need a little every now and then. :)

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  30. Validation is huge, but hard to come by in this biz.

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  31. I like your examples of how different pursuits, like parenting and teaching, provide validation. It's so important!

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  32. You know me, I'm all about supporting and validation! It's something we all need at one time or another. I've been tremendously lucky to know people like you that help me when I need it and that's part of what makes me so eager to pass it along!

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  33. It's hard long journey as a writer. This is why I think it's so important to have a supportive community.

    We need other writers to let us know when we going down the right path. It helps a lot! :)

    This is why I like blogging because I get to meet other writers (like you) who make this not so lonely. :)

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  34. Congrats on the agent, first of all. woot woot!!

    I think writers need validation, at different strengths, at different times in the process. I remember at first I didn't want anyone to know I wrote anything. Then I let more people read and as I got the feedback, I wanted more. I wanted to know what I was doing was valuable and good. Now, I have a handful of people I care about to read my stuff. The rest can wait until I'm published. I don't need the fluff as much. Also I realize that I'm growing everyday and what I write now won't be as good as years from now.

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  35. All writers want some validation but I try not to rely on it too much. I was at the SCBWI conference where Sara Zarr's spoke and it was life-changing! Great topic, as always. :)

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  36. writing is a lonely business, so yes - anywhere you can get validation for your work is important.

    btw big congrats on signing with an agent - way to go julie!!

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  37. Firstly, still dancing for you--talk about validation! Well done!

    I'm lucky enough to have a fantastic CP who waves pom poms whenever I ask. That said, I still remember the moment I finished my last draft. I shouted hooray on Twitter, and a heap of people--some who I didn't even know--started celebrating with me.

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  38. I HOPE I'm someone who validates for others! I have a couple of CPs who do it for me all the time.

    And honestly, getting request for my ms and having my husband (and mother) be shocked/thrilled was the most validating feeling in the world!

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  39. this is so right on Julie..I love when someone says...they love what I wrote. Validation...yep...I need it. ☺ Hey and want to wish you a Happy Easter/Passover.

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  40. Yes, validation is REALLY nice. I love to write so I don't need truckloads of it, but even just sharing my work with my critique partners is very satisfying! :)

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  41. What a wonderful post, Julie! I think we all need a little validation now and again for everything that we do. And certainly in our writing. Happily, I do receive the validation I need to keep me keepin' on. And I sure hope I dish it out enough, too--and always sincerely. : )

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  42. I'm late to the party, but I completely agree with you! Aspiring writers don't get performance reviews, pats on the back, or even paychecks. We get rejection and criticism. So whenever we get a morsel of validation, we need to savor and cherish it. It's the plant food necessary to keep us growing.

    Thanks for linking to my site, Julie. I really appreciate it.

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  43. Hi Julie,

    Of course, you know I totally agree with you! Like Jill said, in the face of rejection and criticism, it's those little bits of validation that keep us going. Or spite...never underestimate spite, lol. Sorry, Seinfeld moment.

    Thanks also for the link!

    Jenny

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  44. Great post, Julie!! I'm glad the writing community is so supportive!!

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  45. Oprah was just mentioning this the other day on her behind the scenes show. She mentioned that having your own talk show and being greeted by adoring fans was the same as being celebrated for who you are every day. It got me thinking about writers and how what we do is very solitary until we dare to reveal our work to the world.

    I vowed to be better at supporting other writers. Everyone needs a pat on the back once in a while.

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  46. I need and try to offer validation. If all we writers wait for is the NYT bestseller, we'll give up before we get there. It's too long a wait!

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  47. Validation is SO important. My writer friends have been good about validating me, and I always try to pay it back!

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  48. It is a bit about validation. When I write a post and receive only a single comment I wonder where I went wrong while if I get a dozen or more I know I'm in the right direction. All of writing is that to some degree. If' you're churning out content and never receive any form of feedback it just feels less valued even if it ends up in print.

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  49. Lovely post! Like so many above, I receive lots of validation from my critique group--couldn't survive without them. I think this is one of the main reasons I blog, too. Hearing that I helped or encouraged even one person is worth more than a paycheck. It's enough to make my week! Thanks for another encouraging post :)

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  50. YES, I need validation! :) But I don't think it's particularly characteristic of writers. Even if no one ever reads our stuff or tells us we're doing well, we still stuff our journals with words and spend the moonlight on our Secret Novel.

    I think we may just tend to whine more.... :)

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  51. I am loving your blog, Julie. Since I am on vacation (Holy Week is a four-day weekend here), I just might spend all of tomorrow reading the whole thing through.

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  52. Yes, we all need validation. That's what I love about my critique group. They give me plenty of constructive criticism, but also validation as to what works. And when an editor or agent tosses out even a tiny srap of validation, hey, it's like throwing a dog a bone, and I'll take it and chew on it for a while! I make sure to validate other writers. It's such a roller coaster ride, and we all need some validation so we keep going and don't get caught up in second guessing ourselves.

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  53. The blog is very good!
    Congratulations!
    http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com

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  54. I feel validation when someone tells me something I said/did/critiqued helped them. I think we take what we can get in the pre-published stage as it all keeps us going. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  55. There have definitely been times when I thought, "I don't need to get an agent/get published right this minute, but I do need some sign that I am headed in the right direction." Not long after having that thought, I got the validation I needed and it kept me going through the next rough patch.

    So yes - we all need it, no matter what stage we're in with our writing or any career/endeavor. Therefore, it's critical to give it to other people whenever we can.

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