Saturday, May 26, 2012

Validation versus Worth

Hi folks, I'm directing you to a wonderful interview by Lois T. Stover of Conrad Wesselhoeft. She asks him questions about the healing value of the arts in young-adult literature and he encourages us all to "swim toward the shimmer." Good stuff.

This week I'm going to talk about validation versus worth. One thing that I have noticed about the publishing industry is it doesn't always get behind great writers. Readers don't always rush out and buy copies of the best books. Friends and family don't always approve of writing in general, treating the craft as self indulgent and lazy. Many wonderful writers received little validation in their lifetime: John Kennedy Toole, H.P. Lovecraft, Franz Kafka, Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitizgerald. These are a few that come to mind. For many more authors validation is a glacial process.

The bottom line, the system of validation is imperfect. This includes published books, shiny stickers, and massive sales. I say move away from the crazy. Excessive validation hunger leads to bitterness and  grief. It will overwhelm your creative spirit.  Validation is like gold in the Laura Marling song, "Alas, I cannot swim." The lyric goes like this: "Gold is fleeing. Gold is fickle. Gold is fun!"  Validation is like that gold, Have fun if it comes but don't seek it. That desire can mess you up.

What you can do is continue to ask yourself to jump up. I think recognizing your worth as a writer is important.  But more so, I say seek worth.  Ask yourself what can you do to make your work stronger.  Determine to finish works. Take time to celebrate all small successes. Follow the paths of those that have created master works -- persevere, imagine, dream, and work your b--- off. Pack as much caring and love for others into your work as you possibly can and don't worry about the rest. Embrace the pressure and believe that it will transform lowly carbon into fabulous diamond. 

O, seize the day, creative ones. I hope you do. I really hope you do. 

Here is this week's doodle: "Moon Shining on Water".

Here is a good quote to tuck in your pocket this week.

Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Abraham Lincoln


Candilynn Fite said...

Your artwork is beautiful! I couldn't see a link for the interview. Did I miss it somehow?

Your insightful words always seem to come at the right moment. How do you do that??

I will miss y'all on Wed. We are burying our beloved Grammie. :( Please tell everyone hello for me!

MollyMom103 said...

I am out of town. I will get the link up tomorrow when I return to technology. Glad the words help.

Janet Lee Carey said...

Love this Molly! It's all a Yes.

And so strange the doodle is Moon on Water -- because I've been journaling about images in my book and just a few minutes ago wrote in my journal
... An opening where wind comes from also sends a shining on the water that can only be Dragon Moon ...
I'm also looking forward to the link.


Vijaya said...

Amen! Validation is nice, but there are so many other intangibles and wonderful things besides it.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Candy! I have added the link!

Janet, Oooh, I'm so glad I posted that doodle. Dragon Moon, feels ripe with mystery. It's so comforting to me that space and time mean nothing to harmonious minds.

Vijaya, yes, yes, the intangible, the unseen, the secret places, the unknown, I hunger for these things.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic article. It's too easy to fall into the trap of thinking if no one "liked" this post, or there were less sales on this book, or whatever, than we are not as good as we are - or are less than others out there. Do what you love, and do it the best you can. I LOVE the Abraham Lincoln quote. Thanks!

MollyMom103 said...

Hey, Thewritingblues, I'm glad to have hit a chord. :) Thanks for dropping by.

Faith Pray said...

Thank you, Molly! Once again, I'm lifted from reading your posts. I like your advice to "jump up, to seek worth." I find that as a mom, I'm in a role of caring for others all day, every day and it's so hard to view myself as also worthy of time and effort. But I am! And writing makes me feel happy and worth something.