What Type of Writer are You?(and Why it Matters)

What type of writer are you? Are you the type who glows with pleasure when a client compliments a piece you’ve done or when readers go crazy over a post you wrote? Or are you the type who enjoys praise and thanks people for compliments but who doesn’t really need that to know the work was awesome?

It’s about where you get that sense of validation and approval – from the outside or from within? Some people are externally validated, and they feel they’ve reached approval when others have a positive reaction to their work. Internally validated people tend to find that approval from within, and they give themselves their own approval.

You should know which type of validation you seek, if you’re a writer. (I’ll tell you why in just a little bit, so keep reading.) Who or what gives you that golden stamp of approval? What tells you that you’ve done a good job? How do you know when the work you’ve done was great?

Here are a few clues to help you determine whether you’re externally or internally validate:

If you’re externally validated, you might:

  • Wait for comments to come in before you feel you can heave a sigh of relief
  • Think a good post is one that has many comments, not just a few
  • Hope for a client’s positive feedback and relax only when you receive it

If you’re internally validated, you might:

  • Feel like you know the work is good
  • Deliver to clients and move on to the next job without thinking twice
  • Think that comments are nice but that they don’t really matter

So why should you know where you fit in? Because I’ve noticed that internally validated writers tend to have more confidence about their work, stress less over writing and feel more relaxed in general.

There’s nothing wrong with being more externally validated than internally validated, of course (or vice versa). You are who you are, and if it’s working for you, that’s great. There are also exceptions to the rules – aren’t there always?

But I’ve noticed that, predominantly, writers who just know their work is good and who don’t really care if clients rave or not (though it is nice), tend to be more self-assured about their work and have lower levels of anxiety.

They also suffer less writer’s block, it seems. They know what they have to do, they know what makes their writing solid, they know how to write well, and most importantly, they don’t get jammed when client or readers didn’t have the response they desired.

I see people suffer writer’s block all the time. It’s painful to observe. In almost every single case, I’ve noticed clues that these anxiety-ridden writers are externally validated people.

Think I’m wrong? Imagine this:

You worked hard on a post for an idea you had – a good idea, one that made you feel exicted. You spent hours writing and sweated to get the post just right. And when you finished, you liked the piece. You thought it was pretty damned good.

But then your readers started commenting. First one didn’t like it. Then another. In fact, most people really didn’t like your post at all. Some told you bluntly that it was a terrible piece and others said they just didn’t get the point. They wished you’d written something else. A few readers even unsubscribed from your blog.

Alright, that’s not a fun situation for either type of writer, internally or externally validated. The point is that each type of writer will react very, very differently to this scenario. Can you imagine how?

The internally validated writer might be a little stung. Probably more indignant than anything. He might shrug the criticism off, argue with readers or point out the nuances that make the work special. He might even think he should’ve kept this post and idea to himself.

The externally validated writer? He’d be crushed.

This doesn’t mean internally validated writers are better at handling feedback. But they wouldn’t be crushed by negative criticism. And they’d be able to write again.

The externally validated writer would be able to write again too, but how do you think he’s feeling about it? He’s probably feeling nervous, maybe even a little scared. Maybe he doesn’t think he’s a good writer after all anymore. Or that he shouldn’t be blogging.

Maybe he starts to doubt his ability to write in the first place, because now he can’t seem to write at all. Every sentence comes out sounding awkward. The work is slow going. It’s getting harder and harder to write. Nothing comes out properly. Some days there are blank pages. And eventually more of them, until writing becomes a dreaded struggle.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? If an externally validated writer gets his approval from others, and those others have resoundingly told him his work didn’t pass muster… well.

What will it take to bring the spark back to life? One of two things:

  • Someone to bring approval back to that writer’s life
  • The ability to find that approval again – from within

When you learn how to stop seeking external validation and start getting that sense of approval from within, I believe you can seriously smash through writer’s block and even move forward to create a mental environment where you can perform easily, well and with full self-confidence.

But moving from being externally validated to enjoying more of a balance with internal validation takes time. And it also takes some proactive thought patterns to help you direct validation back where it works best for you. Here are some tips to help:

  • Each time you have a negative thought such as, “I’m no good at this. I can’t write. This sucks,” firmly tell yourself that you can write (you’ve done it before), you are good at this (after all, you’ve succeeded in the past), and that it doesn’t suck (it’s just a situation you can learn from). Believe yourself, too. Be tough on yourself and tell yourself to stop thinking you’re a failure – you’re not.
  • Get the event behind you in the past, and don’t wallow in it. You’re a writer who had a rough patch and it’s over. Don’t let yourself stay there in yesterday, and live in today. Put the situation in the past where it belongs and tell yourself that today, you’re working on moving forward.
  • When you get a bit of confidence back, put yourself to the text. Prepare some writing that you’re going to show someone else. Also (most importantly), prepare affirmations that you’ll tell yourself no matter what that person says about your work. Preparing before the moment of feedback in this way conditions you to always have strong, self-confident words to tell yourself at the slightest hint of criticism – eventually the criticism won’t bother you at all, and you’ll be able to listen objectively without feeling hurt.
  • By waiting for someone else to give you approval, you’re actually giving away control (and your ability to write with self-confidence). You’re giving other people the power to decide if your work is worthy or not – shouldn’t you be the judge of that? Sure, feedback is helpful and you should listen to see where you could improve, but remind yourself that whoever is giving the feedback isn’t the Almighty Ruler of Approval and doesn’t get to decide where you measure up.
  • Remember that you’re in control of your thoughts and therefore, your results. If the result you want is to never have to depend on anyone’s approval and never be crushed by negative feedback? Then control your thoughts and tell yourself you don’t need anyone’s approval and that feedback doesn’t bother you – you’ll achieve your desired result.

Like I said, it may not be easy and it will take time, but I nearly guarantee that the more you bring validation back to yourself so that you get it from within, the more control you’ll have over your ability to write, write well, and write often.

Without needing anyone’s approval.

RECENT POSTS

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

When the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, many of us start to daydream about the possibility of making serious progress on our writing projects. Whether you have some time away from work or study, or simply make use of the extra daylight to extend your...

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

Rising Action in a Story (Or, Why Your WIP Might Suck)

Have you ever told somebody that you started a book but you just couldn't get into it? Have you ever picked up a book and struggled through the first page, the first chapter, even the first half, only to stop reading entirely? You may even have a bookshelf dedicated...

JOIN OVER 2 MILLION READERS

WANT YOUR NEXT BOOK TO BE A BESTSELLER?

Then you need KDP Rocket – the killer advantage of pro authors.

Related Posts

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

When the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, many of us start to daydream about the possibility of making serious progress on our writing projects. Whether you have some time away from work or study, or simply make use of the extra daylight to extend your...

3 Harmful Beliefs To Overcome as a Writer

3 Harmful Beliefs To Overcome as a Writer

Have you heard of the concept of a limiting belief? It’s exactly as it sounds. Often, we are held back by our own thoughts. The mental prison we find ourselves in is of our own making. We stop ourselves from achieving our own potential, often without realizing we are...

About The Author

James Chartrand

James Chartrand is a Top Ten blogger and an advocate for stress-free writing that gets results. Learn how to write content that really works, build rapport with readers, and fill your magical hat with money with the Damn Fine Words writing course for business owners. It's Write to Done approved!

Latest Posts

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

What Is the Climax of a Story?

What Is the Climax of a Story?

Have you ever noticed that once you get about three-quarters into a book, you have to finish it?  That’s because you’ve likely run into the climax. And when the climax of a book is good, it becomes impossible to put down. Learning to write a compelling climax...

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

Storytelling is a different kind of writing. Often, voice trumps grammar. Of course, your writing needs to be easily understood by the reader, but it’s crucial that the voice of your writing is strong.  Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, both genres employ...

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

Do you want to learn how to find topics to write about? Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, article or chapter,  and nothing, but nothing appears in your mind? This is the dreaded writer's block. The good news is that if you use the following 15 tips, you...

>