Oh God, Please Validate Me!!!!
Okay, so as a creative, I have learned one thing about myself, and I think probably all creatives…at least in general. I am sure there are a few exceptions. Or maybe it’s just me. But I also don’t think this desire for validation in our work is limited to just “creatives.” It’s just more evident with creatives because we often don’t have that consistent paycheck coming in and so it’s kind of more “in your face” when we don’t feel that validation.
Even in the traditional 9-5 (or whatever hours one might work), the need for validation is there, just not so apparent to ourselves. If nobody notices our work, then we start to doubt how good we are at it….am I right?
I think Jim Carey explains this whole concept of the human nature's need for validation and how we are never just satisfied with the current level of validation in our lives, generally speaking. I included a YouTube link for you to watch a video on his comedic explanation of how hopeless the pursuit of validation is. After all….he should know…he is a two time Grammy award winner….or more by now…who knows.
So, I realized this futile necessity of mine to be validated even more than I have already been validated by God. Now, I say “by God” because although it is through the material realm that such validation is received, I believe that God is the one that in a way “validates” my work through the material world.
I have recently learned that as a “creative type” I will probably never really get enough validation, no matter how many people tell me I am good at writing fiction. Here is the kicker…God has already validated my writing in half a dozen ways, and until December 2018 I really didn’t realize how much He has validated me!
So, here’s the story…. or history…or whatever…behind this post.
In 2018 (the year I really decided to take my writing to the next level and try and make it a career) I posted a short story on Wattpad. If you don’t know what Wattpad is, it is a creative forum where writers can post their work for free, and readers can read it for free. So, anyway, I created an account and posted one of my short stories on Wattpad. A couple months later I found out about a Wattpad writer’s contest, so I submitted my short story “Legion” into the 2018 Wattys. Well, I made the long list, meaning I made within the top 800 stories which meant I was one of the top 1% of entries in the contest (if I remember correctly). NOW IF THAT ISN’T ENOUGH TO TELL ME THAT I MIGHT JUST BE A DECENT WRITER, I don’t know what is!
To top that, around the same time, I found out that I was nominated for the 2018 Christian Literary Awards. That's two whammies! You would think I might start getting that I’m an okay writer. But here’s the deal…. I didn’t make the short list, and so I got bummed out. I remember thinking that if I only made the shortlist…not necessarily winning the Wattys, but at least getting to the short list, then that would validate me as a writer.
Fast forward to December. I thought to myself that if I win the Christian Literary Awards, THEN that would be enough and I will KNOW that I am a good writer. Well, I didn’t win, but during that ceremony…after losing…. I thought shouldn’t I be validated enough already?
You see, I have had one guy tell me that after reading a few of my Bible short stories that he went back and read the ACTUAL passages in the Bible, which was the whole point of writing these shorts….to minister and reach a people group that may never read the Bible and then they might decide to see what the Bible said happened. Now, there’s a bit of validation there.
Then I had this other Wattpad user contact me and tell me that she isn’t a believer, but she really liked the story. AGAIN, there’s that whole ministering to a new people group thing.
To take this even a little further, a few more people on Wattpad told me they liked it. Others that read my stories told me that they liked it….so….do you get my point. It just seems like no matter how well I will do, I’m just not sure I will ever REALLY THINK that I am a great writer…. even if I get a movie deal, or make millions from writing.
So, this is the long story of why I think we creatives will never really “feel validated” in our line of work. I could be wrong, but I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who has been validated, but it just doesn’t seem like enough validation yet.
To be honest, though, although I know I am a good writer, I still don’t really think I am. Does that make sense to you, or no?
Thanks for reading. I hope you all enjoyed it.