Monday, 1 November 2010
Is Rejection Always a Bad Thing?
“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” Sylvester Stallone.
How do you respond to rejection of your work? Does it send you into a Slough of Despond that inhibits your creativity? Or do you take it as a wake-up call as Sylvester Stallone does?
Last year I read a lot of articles full of excellent advice about designing greeting cards but the one piece of advice that stuck in my memory was that to be successful in this field required two things: the first, that you are prolific and the second, that you have to be able to deal with rejection.
The first is absolutely no problem for me – in some ways, it might even solve my printing problems if I only had a few designs to offer. But the ‘dealing with rejection’ bit is a great deal harder! I’ve found that it did get easier to handle once I had some ‘acceptances’ in the form of sales under my belt and that has led me to become somewhat more philosophical about the rejections, because, for me, it has been a very useful eye-opener to see how varied people’s tastes are. So nowadays, if someone doesn’t like my work, I can usually shrug it off by reminding myself that what is of no interest to one person, many others may think is the bees knees!
But it is obviously a huge factor in the life of an artist or anyone who has the courage to raise their head above the parapet and offer their creative work to the world at large - I would even include those of us who blog! So much so that I seem to frequently come across articles and blogposts on the subject.
I think the main reason that rejection of one’s creative work hurts so much is summed up very well in this quote from Henry Ward Beecher -
"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his picture."
So it seems that it can be, not just one’s technical abilities that are found wanting, but one’s very nature! No wonder rejection can be so painful!
My ‘philosophical’ attitude works well when offering my designs to the general public but might be less successful if I were trying to find acceptance from publishers – and failing! But what I have learned through reading articles on the subject of rejection is that there are numerous, sometimes quite complicated, industry-specific, reasons why a publisher may reject one’s work and that these reasons may have nothing at all to do with the quality of one’s offerings!
I have found it fascinating to learn of these reasons and as they may not generally be known to the artists, writers or other creative people who are on the receiving end of rejection, I have picked out three articles on the subject of 'rejection' that I thought were particularly helpful. Here are the links to them:
The Illusion of Rejection and How to Deal with it, from Maria Brophy’s website.
I just love the photo at the top of the article!
Rejection – get over it, from Joanne Mattera’s Art Blog
Some lovely stories in the comments!
Rejection – a few antidotes from illustrator, Diana Ting Delosh’s blog
I have a little ‘story’ that might come under the heading of ‘rejection’ It’s more of a ‘criticism’ story really but rejection almost always implies criticism and vice versa.
When I had my very first solo exhibition of my pastel paintings, someone wrote in the visitors’ book, ‘Rather heavy-handed – should try oil pastels’. Fortunately it had been a very successful exhibition so I was able to laugh about what I think was a ‘rather heavy-handed’ comment!
Do you have any ‘rejection’ stories or tips for handling rejection?