While I believe that you should practice your passion ultimately for your own happiness and peace of mind, the acceptance and support of your peers certainly is motivating.
I suspect it’s only human to crave the acceptance of others but I think it is especially true for those of us who practice something creative. It’s such a fragile process and I think we need to know that what we’re doing is more of a hit than a miss. If your passion is mathematics there’s little margin for error. Either you’re good with numbers or you’re not. With creating anything, whether it be a piece of literature, a painting, a piece of clothing, the boundries aren’t so clear. There are guidelines, but what seems correct to you might not to others.
That’s why it’s so important to have people around you who can broaden your view beyond your own vision. Having always considered myself a loner and definitely not a people person, even I am starting to realize that writing – seeming like such a solitary profession – is anything but. I’m already, far from being published, involving a number of people in my work and writing process. Not only through this blog, but privately. It’s clear to me that I need the input of those people who are different and stand outside my inner vision to be able to know what I’m doing.
Last night one of my beta readers wrote that she was reading “a gripping tale of deceit and intrigue”. It was difficult for me to realize that she was referring to my work and when it did there was an explosion of excited butterflies fluttering around inside me. Not only because of the rush of a compliment but because, despite my misgivings, someone is actually enjoying something I’ve created. And in the end, that’s the main reason – beyond the feeling of ‘I have to write to be complete – that I’m doing this.
It’s amazing to me that several of my friends and family are so invested in this. It’s a wonderful feeling.
I would say to anyone out there who does anything creative, whether it is a hobby or your career goal, to involve someone in the process. It’s very scary to show your work to others and it’s even scarier waiting for their feedback. But trust me, it’s worth it.