I first came to know about David Sedaris a couple of months ago – when I read his humorous essay Letting Go in The New Yorker. He’s been writing for the magazine since the year I was born.
David has come a long way and he’s a classic example of perseverance. He kept a journal for seven years until he wrote his first short story. He wrote every day for 15 years until his first collection of essays and short stories was published. I read a bunch of articles about him here, here, and here.
Six years ago, he did an AMA interview on Reddit when somebody asked him about the frequent need for seeking validation as a writer.
Motivational words seem to come from people who have already “made it,” so to speak. Would you still be putting yourself out there if you had never gotten any validation?
This was Sedaris’s reply:
I know I would still be writing.
And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of… it can be a result, but you’re going to do the work anyway. Because you’re just wired that way. It’s so engrained, it’s such a part of your personality that you don’t just stop doing it. Eventually I’ll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it’s inevitable that’s going to happen.
But it won’t stop me from writing.
I’ll just write about how sad I am all the time.
Most artistic pursuits don’t start with an intention to impress or chase material gains. They stem from a deeper desire to feel more human through art, to express by creating something, or sometimes to connect with the world in a weird way when nothing else helps.
The artist is always brimming with magic and dying to pour their share in this world. They do it for themselves, they create anyway.
Does that need validation? Not much.