As an (as of yet) unagented, unpublished writer, I've given a lot of thought to the idea of validation. Sometimes, I don't feel I have the right to call myself a writer, and I rarely feel justified in prioritizing writing over, well, over anything really. So, a bit of validation can really make or break my confidence.
In Does Traditional Publishing Validate an Author?, Mike Duran argues that writer's shouldn't require professional validation to keep writing. I agree, but I also don't think it always makes sense to continue trying to find a path to publication in every case. Maybe a particular MS just isn't very good. In that case, I don't think the writer should stop writing for their own enjoyment, but it could be time to stop pursuing publication, right? There's always a time to trunk a novel. And writers need some level of external validation if they're going to pick themselves up again and try to get the next MS published. Jenny Hansen agrees.
It could be something as small as a glowing piece of feedback from a CP or Beta, a contest win or even a personalized rejection letter from an agent. But whatever it is, I need that form of external validation every now and then to be able to brush off the rejection and critique that pile up. And The Insecure Writers Support Group leads me to believe I'm not alone in my need.
What about you? Do you need external validation? Or are you a never-ending well of confidence (if you are, I'm totally jealous)?