I came across this article the other day on seeking validation as a writer. Neil Gaiman, famous writer, sent one of his books to Ronald Dahl, another famous writer. Gaiman had hoped to get positive affirmation from Dahl; however, he never heard back. That turned out to be a good thing.
How’s that a good thing? The incident helped him realize how much he as a writes depended upon validation from others. He needed someone else to convince himself he was a good writer. Conversely, this also made him he realize negative statements could cripple a writer.
Why should either matter?
Gaiman argues a writer should depend on neither positive affirmation nor negative criticism. Instead, the writer should focus on the writing and be the best writer he or she can be.
I agree with Gaiman’s principle. As a writer, I’ve let someone’s less that enthusiastic response to a rough draft make me question my ability as a writer. I’ve also been told I’m a great writer. But both are only opinions.
I’m having fun and another’s opinion doesn’t fit into the equation.Andrew M. Friday
I love writing. I love putting out books. I’m having fun and another’s opinion doesn’t fit into the equation. I’ll just file what others think, whether negative or positive, in a side drawer of my mind–you know, one of those desk drawers you throw stuff into and rarely look in?
And not only is Gaiman’s advice good for writing, it’s an excellent prescription for anything I enjoy in life.