Monday, 27 June 2011

Validation and the insecure writer

Goal 100: To publish Fallen Warriors

I submitted a short story to a magazine on Saturday, first in over ten years and only the second submission I've made ever. I'm still way off completing, let alone publishing my novel but I need to start putting my writing out there again, and not just on this blog.

I keep telling people about Joe Konrath's blog at the moment and I guess I will while what he writes makes an impact on me: "The need for validation is often rooted in insecurity--something writers have truckloads of."

I deliberately included lots of specific goals related to publishing my novel in my 100 goals and all of them have some root in my own personal desire to be validated. I'm not sure whether I need validation as a writer but I certainly want it. I seek validation primarily in being paid to write. If someone, anyone (please...) pays me for my writing then they must think I've written something worthwhile.

I have been paid for a few articles I wrote and that was a great experience. But, since I've mainly wanted to write fiction - that is what I really want to be paid for.

This blog is partially an attempt to get validation. I can post my thoughts, musings or even - as I have this last week - my freewriting, and can get feedback. Sure, I'm hoping to get positive feedback which will feed my desire for validation, but I am beginning to appreciate more and more - feedback which helps me improve my writing. Stephen King touches on this in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

King's advice to me and every other wanna be author is to keep writing, keep submitting and learn from everything.

I don't know if the magazine I submitted to will like my story but if they don't, that is okay. This morning in the shower - a place where my subconscious seems to be especially active as I often solve work related problems while attempting to wake up - I realised how I could have improved my story. So, if they reject it, I will rewrite part of it and send it somewhere else.

To paraphrase many others: I cannot control whether I am published by someone else, but I can control how many submissions I make and how I improve my craft.

I think I am a better writer than I was ten years ago and part of that is recognising that when my writing is rejected, I don't need to feel insecure about that - I can learn from it and write a better story next time.

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