Do you rely on others to validate you? (walking out naked)

New covers“For there’s more enterprise / In walking naked.” ~ W.B. Yeats

Here I go again.

My four novels all have new covers, to re-launch my writing career with my new name. I feel like I’ve just bought a strange new hat and am wearing it for the first time. I think it suits me, but I could be horribly wrong…

Most of us would rather everyone liked our hats.

We ask our friends what they think and then we pay close attention to their reaction. Are they just being polite? We ask again. We ask some strangers and share a photo of our hat on Facebook. One person pays us a compliment and we get a nice warm glow. Another pulls a face and we put the hat in the back of the cupboard and never wear it again.

This is the trouble with relying on others to validate us and our hats. When we become constrained by this needing-to-be-approved-of, it limits our ability to do our best work. Our best work might alienate the people we’re currently in touch with. It might ask disturbing questions and raise people’s defenses. It might be just ahead of the zeitgeist. 

Gez Smith talks here about how addicted most of us are to these ‘positive strokes’, and yet: “…to do our most interesting and creative work, we need to get away from this need for approval, do something genuinely new, and do it because you believe in it, not because others will approve of it (although it’s nice if they do).”

Some people will like these new covers, and some will much prefer the old ones. That’s okay. Some people will like my books, and some people will hate them. That’s okay.

I love them. I love my characters very much – Ruth, Leonard, Violet & Joe. I love the stories they have to tell, and I have faith in the message they are taking to the world.

I shall wear my strange hat with pride. What about you?


You can buy the books on kindle now, but we’re officially launching the novels on the 10th of May with a free online event, ‘What I Live For‘. People will be writing or making art about the things that make their lives worth living. If you’d like to join us, read more here or say yes to our Facebook invite and invite your friends.