Rejection – For What It’s Worth

Rejection Acceptance ArtistsRejection.

It happens to everybody.


That happens, too.

I have a friend who entered an art competition claiming, “I won’t get accepted.” The law of distraction heard her loud and clear and promptly fulfilled her “dreams.” She forwarded me the rejection letter with the words, “See?”

I replied to her with a rejection note of my own. I had received it minutes before, from a completely different project. Win some, lose some. Sometimes it feels mostly like “lose some.” So, what?

This time last year I was on a winning roll…or is that “role?” Either. I Rejection Acceptance Artistshad placed in a prestigious and highly competitive art competition…and it was an honor just to be accepted. I’d sold several pieces to an ideal collector, one of my images was selected for a magazine cover and I had an opportunity to show in a museum. Sweet!

I remember what the juror of the competition told me. “Just because you got in, it doesn’t mean anything. It means that juror likes your work. If you don’t get in, it doesn’t mean anything either. Lots of good artists don’t get in.”

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert says this in her book, “Big Magic”:

I decided to play the game of rejection letters as if it were a great cosmic tennis match: Somebody would send me a rejection, and I would knock it right back over the net, sending out another query that same afternoon. My policy was: You hit it to me, I’m going to hit it straight back out into the universe.

(Excerpt, from: Gilbert, Elizabeth, “Big Magic.” Penguin Publishing Group, 2015-09-02. iBooks)

It’s a game of numbers, basically. The volley not only keeps your work in front of decision makers and buyers, it also keeps you working and will keep your insecure spirit invested in the game.

Don’t take it personally…even when you “win.” Just be grateful you’re doing what you love. Every. Single. Day. Hold in close gratitude the fact you have the privilege to express yourself creatively. If you have other successes, throw some gratitude their way, too. (click to Tweet). It’s not about you…yet it’s all about you. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Accept Rejection but Expect Acceptance.

Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She Writer, Artist, Coachwrites this blog to share tips for a well-lived life and finely run art business…just for you!

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6 Replies to “Rejection – For What It’s Worth”

  1. Perfect timing! After a month of acceptance letters to several national level shows, I was rejected from 2 local area shows in one week, and parted company with a gallery that wasn’t proving to be a good fit for my work. After a day of feeling sorry for myself, I know it is time, as Taylor Swift would say, to shake it off.
    I think it is OK to go in to a corner and lick your wounds for a short while, but then one must get back in the game. I need to create art and I believe there are those out there who need to experience what I create.

  2. That’s right, Susan! It’s easy to get used to those acceptance letters, but there does seem to be an ebb and flow to this business. Those of us who can weather rejection easily will most likely have the most success – and the most fun. Keep on keepin’ on! ~m

  3. I was about 17 when I got my first rejection letter and it devastated me. I am a good writer, but it took me almost 40 years later to realized and start to write again. I just got another blog post accepted to a major blog. Makes me feel better now and I accepted the rejection of the one last month with no hard feelings or devastation. I have grown up LOL!

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