Validation is a good thing. Sometimes all you need to hear to succeed is that you’re on the right path or that you’ve done something astounding or amazing or promising. Sometimes that is all you need to really get yourself motivated to do something even better. Sometimes that’s all you need to take the next step from being interested in a subject to devoting yourself to it. The person that pushes you to that next step is most likely a great teacher but it could also be a peer, friend, neighbor, parent, relative, or stranger. I can remember each of these people in my own life and the area they helped me care about more and improve myself in. And yes, there is a difference between your Mom telling you that you painted a pretty picture and an art critic telling you the same thing. Sometimes they both say it and that is a great thing.

I recently finished my second straight year of commissioned work for an organization. I’ve been hired to adapt case studies concerning ethics into a short dramatic form to be performed by students at regional conferences. After our first year I had heard that our work was very well received by the student performers and conference attendees alike. This is a form of validation about my work as a writer. It is not the only form of validation I’ve experienced recently though: there was another.

The second form of validation was my submission of a play to a short play festival. My play was selected (blind) by a committee of instructors. They did not know the work was mine and, therefore, selected it on its merit alone. This is another form of validation. My writing has proven successful within my own field by a group of my instructors and also outside of my field by an independent organization. I have not yet heard from my parents, relatives, or strangers (but I’d love to hear from them too). Seek validation from everywhere and keep working on what you love.