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.