Saturday, March 7, 2009

Transcending Rejections, Chapter 9 of 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women

breath in.
breath out.
breath in.
that's what I had to do as I read this chapter.
you see, I have had numerous, (dare I say countless?) rejections in this artistic career.
Way more rejections that what the world would call successes.
My success is that I am here, in the studio, doing this work that I believe in despite what the world does (or does not bother) to tell me.
On page 57, the challenge is to list all the times you have felt rejected - ouch ouch ouch.
I just don't believe this to be a useful practice.
I have been at this long enough that I know my reasons for going forward, and the reasons the world keeps me from going forward are NOT what I need to list and stew on.
So I reject that advice.
I know this path is not swift or easy, I know this path is not going to be rewarded heavily, if at all, in this one short life, yet I still believe in what I am doing.
I still believe that my work means something to the fabric of life, even if I am not payed to do it, and I reject the idea that I have to join the machine just in order to get it into the marketplace.

The weird thing about those creative types who get to write these books, is that they have achieved some level of success or they wouldn't be writing the book!
So I take their advice on rejection with a grain of salt.

A dear friend and talented writer who went to a writer's workshop was told this, and brace yourselves:
"If you want to be a writer, the first thing to do is either have another way to support yourself, or marry someone who will support you."

That might sound like really depressing advice, but maybe it is the best idea ever -- to know our work is not going to be MONETARILY successful means we are freed up to make it have its own unique and powerful voice outside the pressures of the marketplace.
I do have to teach workshops and do graphics work to make some money, but that is SEPARATE from the art I do for my inner voice to be heard.
I will keep at it, and I won't let anyone's definition of rejection influence how successful I feel (or don't feel.)

and today instead of a journal page - I share with you my ritual candles - I light these in the studio whenever I am painting and they remind me of the sacredness of this work.
They SHINE for me and if the world of money wants one day to shine on me, too, I will accept payment, but for now, that is not the reason I do this work.

"Learn to eat rejection – it will make you stronger." --Bob Ragland


  1. Indeed!

    My neck hurts slightly from nodding throughout your post! :)

    I, too, do not find it at all valuable to sit here and list the many instances of rejection. What is the point of that? That's internalizing an external response.

    I love your attitude. Love what you do, and who cares about others' definition of success! :)

  2. "If you want to be a writer, the first thing to do is either have another way to support yourself, or marry someone who will support you."

    That is exactly what I have done...married someone who willingly works hard to provide for me and our family.

    A wonderful post! :)

  3. That a good way of looking at things. I think we have the greatest success when we are not looking for it. I love the photo too very cool. :)

  4. I don't think that the reason for doing the work can ever really be about the money if it is going to be true honest, worthwhile work.

    I love your perspective.

  5. Bravo for listening to that inner voice and doing what your heart says. Love your candle ritual.

  6. >> The rejections are tough enough to handle, but I agree with you -- why Write about them, dragging the rejection weight around some more?! << Seems rather like nonsense to write about That kind of Thing!! <<

    ~ Love the Candle Ritual ~


  7. A friend of mine said to me this week that it is good that I have a steady income from a job that doesn't tax me. I don't have to worry about paying my bills so my free time is spent pursuing my dreams.

    I would love to have a supportive husband, but that isn't my situation so I'm figuring it out as a single mom. I'm loving the journey and adapting to what life throws at me.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. It is helpful to hear that other talented people have received rejections and are not deterred from the studio.

  8. I confess I looked at the title of the chapter and choose not to read it... your post is wonderfully heart-warming - yes, yes, yes to letting that inner voice have expression!!!

  9. Enjoy your work! That´s the best kind of success. :)

  10. I love to write and not feel pressured to write.My husband allows me to be just me. ( I wish I could say that for others-it's all about the $$$)Your post was wonderful, do not ever stop being YOU or doing what you DO!

  11. Nice post, and it rings so true. I have found that pieces I've created that were commissioned were not necessarily as satisfying as work I've done because it was what *I* wanted to do.

  12. I agree with everything you have said in this post! Especially the part of about rejecting listing all our rejectings.

  13. you have definitely touched a nerve with us all about listing our rejections! What is the use of that and how does it push us forward?

    When i work with people i often ask them what they have succeeded in, and what they are proud of, and they surprise themselves with their accomplishments!

    Keep on being creative!

  14. I do think Carol Lloyds book 'Creating a life worth living' is great around money issues and artists. Reading it about the various permutations and day jobs people had was good for me and also admitting that I needed to have money as well