Do Writers Need Validation?

You bet they do!

Writing is a somewhat solitary experience which is part of why we writers value our online community so much. The dimension added to my writing life with my More Cowbell posse, my WANA friends and my online groups is so very valuable. I literally would not be the writer I am today without all the wise and special people I have met.

How much validation are we talking about?

Y’all know I dig Chuck Wendig. He warm and wise, funny and foul-mouthed. Basically, the perfect combination of qualities to turn me into a gushing Fan Girl. In his post today over on TerribleMinds, he discusses how “Writers Must Kill Self-Doubt Before Self-Doubt Kills Them.”

My favorite segment, in a post filled with incredible writing, is near the end:

Don’t go looking for validation elsewhere. Don’t look for it from friends, loved ones, publishers, editors, agents, mailmen, or cats.

External validation isn’t a bad thing. It just isn’t what you need. Because it matters little that they believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. The confidence you find elsewhere is hollow, a ladder made of brittle twigs. At the end of the day you’ll never be sure if those around you are just wrong — or maybe they’re lying! — or maybe they’re suffering under the depredations of some wretched brain parasite that tricks them into liking mediocre things!

Because just as doubt is one of the writer’s greatest enemies…

…confidence is one of the writer’s most powerful friends.

I agree with him wholeheartedly, and I think he strikes perfectly to the heart of why so many writers feel like frauds. And even though I agree with him, I will still argue that a little validation from the outside is really, really cool.

Especially on those days when I spend long minutes on a post that bombs or my novel falls flat, my pals are what keep my spirits up. Periodically, my WIP feels like a frozen tundra – cold, brittle, and uncrossable – and on those days, it’s my blog and my writing friends that help save me from self-doubt.

My appreciation goes to all of you on this Lovin’ Friday. Special thanks go to the people who have given me the following nifty blog awards (in the order that I received them):

The Versatile Blogger and Stylish Blogger Awards (from K.B. Owen)

I can’t even remember how Kathy Owen and I became pals but she was one of my first true Twitter pals outside of my WANA Alumni from Kristen Lamb’s March class. Kathy writes the best blog series. Her Masters of Mystery Monday posts and Watercooler Wednesday posts are two of my faves each week. Check them out!

This summer, when Kathy bestowed these two awards upon me, I was so excited. I didn’t have a clue what to do with them, but I was still thrilled. Then Gene Lempp posted earlier this month on blog awards and the light bulb went on. Here’s a link to his must-read post on the subject!

The Versatile Blogger Award.
Versatile means being capable of handling multiple subjects and tasks.

There are four bloggers that I read consistently that deserve a shout-out for their versatility. I’m offering it in appreciation of the hours of enjoyment I get from their blogs. I always learn something when I read their posts.

1)    Piper Bayard – I’ve yet to meet a blogger who is more versatile than Piper. Whether it’s politics, love, spies or writing advice, there’s always something new and different at her blog. I always tell her my blog wants to be like hers when it grows up.

2)    Elizabeth S. Craig – Elizabeth was my very first friend on Twitter. She is generous beyond belief to her fellow writers and a genuinely sweet person. If you’ve not clicked on the Writer’s Knowledge Base (her brainchild) in my right sidebar, you’re missing out. Ditto for her Twitterific blogs each Sunday.

3)    Kristen Lamb –Jedi Master Lamb is not only a Social Media Maven, she’s also the gal you’d want to hang out and chat with at a conference. Kristen manages to combine top-notch writing and social media advice with health, love and trips down memory lane. If you haven’t hung out at her blog, you need to sashay over there and bend your mind a little.

4)    Roni Loren – Roni is so very versatile, she has TWO blogs. Fiction Groupie, which I linked to her name and her author blog where she’s got more leeway to post about adult, 18+ topics. Both are amazing – I always walk away from her posts thinking.

The Stylish Blogger Award.
Style is one of those intangible things and the following four have “IT” in spades. I try never to miss a post from any of these writers and I encourage you to do the same. They’re damn good writers. Plus they possess a kind, warm and generous online footprint stamped with their own wonderful, unique style.

1)    Natalie Hartford – because she always makes me laugh, and she does it while coordinated in cute pink outfits. Natalie’s got some seriously cool style over at her blog.

2)    Jami Gold – Not only does Jami give amazing writing advice, but if I was gonna go fight some werewolves in a dark alley, Jami would be my “wingman” of choice.

3)    Gene Lempp – Not only is Gene a “Maven” but he is a bloggers’ blogger who takes time and attention from his own busy life and writing schedule to encourage others. And he speaks squirrel! If that doesn’t scream style, I don’t know what does.

4)    Chuck Wendig – As evidenced by the excerpt at the beginning of this post, Chuck not only writes his ass off, he will have you in stitches while he does it. I don’t know how he manages to explore so many unusual, dark crevices in his brain. But somehow he keeps from going off the deep end while he entertains us in grand style.

The Liebster Blog Award.

This month, two of my wonderful writer/Twitter friends awarded me the Liebster Blog Award. I was absolutely blown away as I respect them both so much. Kate Wood and Nicole Basaraba both write amazing blogs – informative, fun and full of variety. Kate’s mash-ups knock me out each week…she finds great gems! And have you seen the photos on Nicole’s posts? WOW!

NOTE: Nicole and I are working on a wicked-fun “Rock the ROW” Twitter party to commence at 12:01 am EST on October 5th – details can be found here.

Liebster is the German word for beloved person. These gals above two of the most supportive writing friends a girl could have, and I look forward to their tweets, emails, posts, and smiles every day.

In turn, I award these great blogging friends with the Liebster Award:

1)        Tiffany Lawson Inman / Naked Editor – Tiffany has given tirelessly to More Cowbell and to Writers In The Storm (my other blogging home). If you read yesterday’s scene dissection for the three winners of the Dirty Fighting Contest, you’ll see what I mean. In addition to that she is as funny and warm-hearted as she seems in the comments. Love this gal!

2)       Rebecca Forster – Rebecca has been one of my peeps for a very, very long time. If you’ve not read her books or visited her Heck Yeah! blog, you are truly missing out. Her Witness series is one of the best thriller series I’ve ever read. Hands down (and Hostile Witness is currently free on Kindle!).

3)       Stacy Green has been a tremendous supporter of More Cowbell, almost from the beginning. I look forward to her comments and her tweets and she’s a damn fine blogger. If you’ve not been to her blog, Turning the Page, I recommend you give it a whirl.

4)       Last but not least, all my other picks either have Liebsters or aren’t yet regular posters on their blogs so I’ll just give them a shout-out to let them know they rock my world. Daily!

Please correct me if I’m wrong and you DON’T have a Liebster, so I can give you one! (Remember, you want to be a regular poster on your blog for this.)

Like with most of the blogging awards floating through cyber-space, these awards come with a few rules – I do know that one of the rules is 7 random things about yourself. Just a few weeks ago I posted ten random things about myself so I don’t know if I can come up with any more. If you need official “what do I do” for any of these three awards, I recommend finding someone who’s better at keeping track of rules than I am.

I’m pretty sure the rules are:

  1. Acknowledge and link back to the person who gave you the award.
  2. List 7 random things about yourself.
  3. Identify 3+ recipients for the award – link to them.
  4. I have no idea what the 4th rule is. (See?! I told you to chase down someone more organized!)

THANK YOU, everyone! Winning these awards for More Cowbell means so very much to me, AND congratulations to the new recipients.

What do blog awards mean to you? Do you find yourself craving validation as a writer? What do you consider your “best validation to date?” Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
This entry was posted in More Cowbell, The Writing Journey and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Do Writers Need Validation?

  1. Neeks says:

    Congratulations on the awards, how exciting that must be!


  2. Laura Drake says:

    Oh wow, Jen – I was just getting ready to write that getting validation from others for your writing is like your mom telling you you’re pretty when you were young…to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Then you give me an award, and I go all peanut-buttery (She likes me . . . she really LIKES me!) So much from tough individualism.
    Thanks Jenny, you giver, you.


  3. K.B. Owen says:

    Wow, Jenny! Thank you SO much for the warm support! I agree with you: a supportive community of fellow writers to cheer you on can really make a difference, whether it’s called validation or not. You deserve every one of your awards, and I’m looking forward to more awesomeness to come!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Kathy – for your friendship AND my nifty awards. 🙂

      My favorite upcoming blog is one about my trip through Branson (called “Do I Have A Dirty Mind?”)…that should be out on Monday to entertain you. Wacky people in the Ozarks…and some of them are my family members! LOL.


  4. Hartford says:

    Congratulations to you for all your award wins and honors Jenny – you truly deserve them.
    THANK YOU so much for the Stylish Blogger Award – it brought tears to my eyes. Seriously! You have no idea.
    I agree with you – although inner confidence and belief is good – a little dose of external validation goes a long way in helping us keep our spirits high! When I started out into this blogging world, I felt like a fish out of water and it took me a long time to get my feet under me. I took Kristen’s class in July and everything “clicked” for me and I had a vision for my blog. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if anyone else would even like it but it felt GOOD and I LOVED it. That’s all I knew – that’s all I could go on. I enjoyed writing, I fell in love with my blogging voice, I LOVED my new look and I started having serious fun on my blog!
    So to receive this award from you – someone I respect and admire highly as a writer and a fantabulous blogger – is exactly that bit of external validation that sets a person FLYING high in confidence…and a sense of “they like me…wow…they really do like me?!?!” And that rocks!! You’ve given me quite simply the best Friday present!! Thank you….
    And thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to honor all of us!!
    Now…off to check out all these new bloggers…woot woot…
    CONGRATS to all!


    • Jenny Hansen says:


      You are welcome (and very deserving) for your Stylish Blogger Award. I can’t wait to see it displayed on your sidebar – and not just because it will link to me. Ha!

      This writing journey can be so somber and your blog gives me hours of laughter. My list of must have items (like beer belts and portable stripper poles) is growing thanks to you.

      Kristen is a genius at sifting through all the facets of you to find the magic sweet spot for the blog that reflects YOU. She did it for More Cowbell as well, for which I’ll be eternally grateful. You keep it up, girl…you’re doing a great job. 🙂


  5. Roni Loren says:

    Congrats on all your awards! And thanks for giving me the Versatile Blogger award! 😀

    As for validation, it’s a constant challenge for me. I do seek that outside validation because half the time I feel like a hack,lol. But I’m going to try to take Wendig’s advice and find my inner confidence. I know I’m going to need it when my book hits shelves in three months and I have to start facing the shear terror that is reading reviews. Eek! I have to keep giving myself pep-talks–some people will hate your book and that’s fine, other people will like it, and it’s all going to be okay. *eats chocolate*


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are very welcome, Roni! I followed your blog for a lo-o-ong time before I came on your radar and I think it works that way. We watch and learn from others who we think “have it all together” and worry that we’re hacks. Normal M.O. for many writers.

      As for your book, I can’t wait to read it AND eat chocolate. 🙂


  6. Catie Rhodes says:

    Jenny, thank you. I appreciate the Liebster award, but your nifty description of me and my blog made me happy for some reason. Maybe I just needed a boost today. 😀

    I really enjoyed reading what you had to say about validation and confidence. I do worry that people either feel sorry for me and don’t want to tell me my writing is mediocre. It’s nice to know I’m not the only crazy paranoid out there. LOL

    Keep on rockin’.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Catie, you’re one of my very favorite bloggers and it’s fun for me because you write different things than I do (partly because I’m too damn lazy to do all the incredible research that you make look so effortless).

      You keep on rockin’ yourself – it’s an amazing body of work you’re building over there at Full-Tilt Backwoods Boogie. 🙂


  7. amyshojai says:

    Awwwwwwww….thanks for the shout out! Dunno what a Liebster is…sounds like a hybrid frog with sequins (ooooooooooooooh, shiny!) but you deserve any and all awards!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      See Amy, Liebster is the most WANA focused award…it’s about friendship and support of our fellow peeps. Do you NOT have one? (I thought you did.) Consider yourself gifted as of now! Can’t wait to see your 7 things. 🙂


  8. Stacy Green says:

    Thank you so much for the sweet words and support. I really appreciate them! As for validation, Chuck makes great points, but I think the need for validation is part of the human condition, lol. Not just in writing, but in everything we do. People want/need to be encouraged, to be told they aren’t wasting their time or scribbling down the wrong path. That said, at some point you have to have enough faith in yourself to stop looking for validation and just push forward.

    Thanks again!


  9. Gene Lempp says:

    Wow, Jen! Thanks for the award, I’m feeling more stylish already 🙂

    Congrats to you and all the other winners. Great group of people and all deserving of the laurels you’ve heaped upon them. Thanks for the link love as well!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are welcome for every bit of it, Gene! Thank you for all that you do for the rest of us, and for writing completely fantastic blogs. I hope you and the squirrels have a good discussion about the award. 🙂


  10. Thanks for the honorable mention, Jenny. You’re right up at the top of my list of bloggers to read regularly.


  11. I’ve always thought that you are a very organized gal Jenny! So keeping track of the rules for…how many awards it? Anyways, I think you’re pretty organized because you always have great content and your also a super confidence booster. I think its important to have enough inner confidence to write and an extra boost from the outside is a bonus.

    Love the bloggers you’ve mentioned here. I’m happy to see that I know and follow most of them. Going to check out the others now. 🙂

    Thanks Jenny. Party on Oct. 5th!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL…I’ve got you fooled, Nicole. I have a fairly organized thought process but I wouldn’t say I’m a very organized person. My #1 organizational weapon is my husband. 🙂

      Enjoy the blogs…I sure love yours. They make me want to hop on a jet to Europe immediately.


  12. Congrats Jenny!!! I agree with Chuck on many levels but I also agree with you. Our world is filled with too much angst and negativity, it’s always nice to give as well as receive validation.
    Keep up the fun girl. Your upbeat style always keeps me laughing.


  13. Thanks for your thoughts – and yeah, you’re absolutely spot on about writers needing validation. And in the analysis of it. I often wonder whether some get also it via feeling a sense of possession over their subject – certainly this seems to be true for some, in non-fiction. Or through being ‘properly’ published, via a mainstream publisher. My own experience? I never thought of myself as a ‘writer’ for many years, even after having books published, writing regular feature columns and so forth. But that’s just me.

    Matthew Wright


  14. Congratulations on your awards, Jenny! And thanks so much for passing one along to me! 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      How could I not include you, Elizabeth? You helped point me the right direction when I started down this wacky road of social media. And you are quite the Versatile Blogger. 🙂


  15. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    Thanks for the shout out on your blog. Sorry I am just now commenting!! I have been driving all day. My daughter has the flu and it’s homecoming week here, so she missed the whole dress up week. Then her boyfriend is at college and his ride here cancelled on him, so I just made a six hour trip to go get him, so he can go to Homecoming with her tomorrow night!! Anyway, been out of the loop today!! Oh and I also saw a movie for my Friday movie review, which I just finally got posted!! So thank you again. More Cowbell is one of the first cool blogs I started following and I love it!!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      We’re driving all day today too!! How funny is that? Of course for me that means broadband cards and smart phones. For my husband it means lots and lots of radio stations.

      I hope your daughter has a great time…YOU are a very nice mommy! 🙂

      And, you are most welcome on the shout out…you more than deserve it.


  16. Piper Bayard says:

    Congratulations on your awards, Jenny. You deserve them all, for sure.

    On behalf of Holmes and myself, I thank you for the Versatile Blogger Award. My thanks to all of our wonderful readers who have been so loyal, my thanks to the MLB and the priest of our order (the Yankees), my thanks to the Academy, and, most of all, my thanks to you, Jenny, for making this all possible. * wipes tear* I will cherish this award and Holmes and I will do our best to live up to all it represents with each and every post. 🙂

    You rock!


  17. Barbara says:

    *Clapping* for all your awards Jenny! Well deserved. When I do get online for my blog reading, More Cowbell is one of the first I head to. Your posts provide both learning and laughter. Kudos to all the others you’ve awarded. Great blogger in their own unique, versatile and stylish ways.  And HUGS for the shout out.!

    To your questions above, blog awards mean a lot to me because before starting Kristen Lamb’s class in July, I was considering letting my blog go. I’d been at it for a year and found myself dreading the constant “what do I write next” pressure and feeling like I was alone in a dark tunnel. I had no online community to tap into and no clue where to look to find one. Blogging had become a chore. So two months later, to have a blog that reflects me, regular readers/commenters and people point out what the love about my blog posts rocks. It just rocks.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Woot, thanks Barbara! Kristen has that effect on people, just reaching in to find the heart of “you.” I’m soooo glad you didn’t give up your blog cause I LIKE IT. 🙂


  18. Lena Corazon says:

    Congrats on all the awards, Jenny! They are well-deserved.

    Thanks as well for the Liebster Love. It’s so funny, I still remember the first post of yours that I read, with the “more cowbell” clip of Will Ferrell on SNL. I was on a “Don’t Fear the Reaper” binge at the time (I basically listened to it on repeat for, er, a few weeks), so it seemed really timely, and I fell in love with the vibe of your awesome posts. 😀

    For me, validation has been incredibly important. Writing is something that I always did on my own, and I rarely shared my work with anyone. I thought of myself as someone who scribbled silly nothings, but not as a “real” writer (you know, with finished manuscripts and published books and stuff). Over the past few months, tapping into the ROW80 and myWANA communities have given me the boost that I’ve needed to shift that frame of mind. Every blog award that I receive, and all the feedback I receive on my writing go a long way to patching up my confidence, and give me the energy to move forward.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I didn’t know that, Lena! I had no idea you started reading that early in More Cowbell’s history. I agree about the boost and support of the online community. It’s party of why I jumped on board with Nicole’s idea for the Row80 party. These groups ROCK!


  19. Jess Witkins says:

    I read that post by Gene, he did shed a lot of light of blogger appreciation. Congrats on your awards and to the bloggers you recognized, I read many of those same ones!


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  21. Yup! Those late night conversations like right now. Good question. I’m guessing like any other awards, once the high had vanished, it just looses its luster… Never had blog awards but it makes my day when someone hits like on my blog post and/or comments. 🙂 My writer validation…the more I grow as a writer, the less I need it. Somehow, the more I practice the more I gain confidence.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Marilag! I appreciate your support on this blog. People like you are what make More Cowbell so fun for me. And OMG does practice make me feel so much better about writing. 🙂


  22. I can’t believe I missed my name, LOL. Thanks for the shout out Jenny!


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  24. Congrats on the awards and thank you for the shout out! I actually don’t mind blog awards. I feel that if someone takes the time to award my blog, I’m honored. I’m not so sure it’s validation, just appreciation. It’s all part of networking, right?


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