Tuesday, November 9

Validate me!

Does this pile of certificates validate me as a writer?

They don't hurt.

But, honestly, if I counted on winning contests to validate me as a writer, then I'd be awfully sad. I was talking to a friend the other day about contests. In the last year, I think I've entered around twenty. And I've finaled in about half. The other half? Well, let's just say I didn't feel validated!

I have really struggled with this topic.

I'm not published. I haven't gotten any reviews.

So what tells me I'm a writer, a good writer?

My CPs?

Um, no. Not their job. Although a great crit is fantastic.

The contest finals are nice.

I've gotten really good rejections (if there is such a thing!) from editors and agents.

But what validates me is me. I like praise, who doesn't? But the bottom line is I have to know what I can do. What I have done. Where I came from. I can't rely on any one else for that.


  1. You should be commended for entering and putting your work out there. I am too much of a chicken to do that. What validates me. Its internal I feel the satisfaction of getting the job done.


  2. I think that you have the power of defining yourself. Not only as it pertains to writing but in every aspect of your life. No one knows better than you, how much work you put into your dreams or goals. Everything is not measured by success but by effort. Getting the job done is a great validation. And if you feel you're falling short of a plan, switch thought your thought process. In the end you're still you, hard work done regardless of the outcome is still hard work done and that is a defining moment.

  3. I agree with Hales, and with you, D'Ann. While a good crit is good, I never take it for granted. My gut tells me what's working and what isn't.

    I know when I've written something good; I get goose bumps. Seriously. That's my good-o-meter, the goose bumps. They validate me.

  4. You are so right! Being able to validate yourself - knowing the chapter-from-hell is good, knowing a book is as good as you can write it, etc. etc. - is a big part of the battle. i agree good contest scores don't hurt, either...

  5. I started out years ago by doing contests. Got some nice wins. But I've collected a slew of rejections in my time. I write and put my work away and then assess it at a later time. If I approve, I send the writing out for consideration. To me validation is acceptances, publication and pay. I'm a professional now and so rarely get a pat on the head or even expect it.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    new releases: STACY'S SONG--YA novel from L&L Dreamspell,
    TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS--sensual adult romance from Five Star/Gale

  6. being able to validate yourself is a huge accomplishment. so is putting your work out for others to judge! keep up the great work!

  7. In large part, the simple accumulation of words on the page validate you. (ever sit and stare at the cursor? Well, then you know it's a huge accomplishment to overcome that!)
    I like to keep some "inspiring" words of praise from my CPs or reviewers around, taped up where I write. Keeps me going on those low-low days.

  8. You're right. Why do we seek exterior validation on what we do. Is it for approval? What should be considered validation is the fact a person writes in the first place. Anything more than that is topping on the fact. I write, and although I'm published - it's not in the field that I want. So...it's not the same. It's like saying, "When I win that contest, then I'll be happy." Or, "when I get the acceptance letter, then I'll be satisfied." Better yet, "When I see my name under the title of a book on a Barnes & Noble shelf, then I'll be validated as a writer."

    So what validates me? Hell if I know!

  9. Great topic... And very similar to a blog of my own.

    For me, validation comes from within, knowing I have something good and knowing when I'm right.

    Someone mentioned about getting goosebumps when they write something that they feel is perfect.

    Ever have a CP or a contest judge say..."NOPE, sorry, but I'm not feelin' it?"

    That has happened to me, and there was a time when I'd say..."Okay, you have to be right because I'm new and I don't know what I'm doing." So, I'd change the sentence/paragraph or whatever, just because they (CP and Contest Judges) said so. Then I'd feel like crap and think that I can't write.

    Well, not so much anymore. And I have to thank one person (you know who you are) for helping me see this strength in myself after my last disastrous entanglement with a bad CP. I only need to look within myself for validation, which gives me the courage to say..."Sorry, but I AM feelin' it so it stays as is."

  10. If you write, you are a writer. If you submit your work, you are a working writer. If you win contests or get paid for anything you are a professional writer. BUT I hear what you are saying. Most writers would tell you that it doesn't make any difference after publication. Writing is a job and you just keep at it. The certificates, the praise from your crit partners or judges is your validation. Until you become the next Nora Roberts, you probably won't feel a lot of validation. I know I don't.

  11. Thanks, all, for coming by. I really appreciate it.

  12. Finishing and submitting your stories is a major accomplishment. One that many writers never achieve. You are validated.