Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Today I'm looking at validation.
Some writers, feeling loftier than others, will claim the writing is validation enough. They don't feel the need for others to support. believe in, or worship (ok, a bit much ;)) their work. They are "artists". (Their words, not mine.) To them I raise a pint of Smithwicks and say, "Carry on!".
Hey, if it's working for them, great! Power forth and what not.
Now, for the rest of us.....
Validation is part of the human mindset for the vast majority of people- we're wired that way. Where we get that validation can vary by person and just what is being validated.
Narrow it down to writers and writing and our entire sense of self AS writers, and well you still have various forms. But let's face it, many of us see the traditional publishing world as the great validator.
Now we all receive little validators along the way. Folks we trust (and trust not to just say they love it because they love us ;)) telling us our work is good. Writing instructors, feedback at conferences, professional writers-- all saying, "Hey, you've got something." Getting to the point with your submissions to agents and editors where they are passing on your project for things other than skill (market, etc).
But that big one, the bright and shiny, "I'VE MADE IT", we believe comes from that NY pub (or any of the bigger independent presses) contract (you published authors, stop laughing).
However, the publishing world is changing so fast- too fast for NY it sometimes seems to me. Self-publishing (aka Indie) is calling me more and more. Both in feedback of what the market wants (when I see sales of books similar to mine, but they aren't the MAJOR best sellers NY wants), and things I hear from published authors about the dark under belly of contracts.
Self-publishing seems like a viable option when done right. But scary too. If I do need outside validation- where would I get it? Reader reviews? That way lies madness me thinks ;). Is it possible to be a happy, mentally healthy writer without traditional external validation?