Life as an artist isn’t often wonderful. In fact, the wonder is often overshadowed by the rejection, disappointment, judgment and resentment. The incredible amount of blood, sweat and tears that we pour into our art often goes unnoticed and if it is noticed, so often it is regarded as unimportant.
In April alone I received four rejection letters and lost a literary prize, and as each came in (or rather didn’t), this terrible weight and dread spread across my life and I allowed myself to entertain thoughts that I’d never ever allowed myself to think — “What if I don’t make it?”
What if I don’t make it? What if the only thing I am prepared to do with my life doesn’t happen?
Pretty much death. However…
Meryl Streep once said, “my feeling about fears is, if you voice your fears, they may come true. I’m superstitious enough to believe that.”
And she’s right, as an artist you have so much against you already, with so few people on your side, why would you throw away your biggest ally? By allowing that fear to creep in and then acknowledging it you have handed control of your life to something that isn’t real. The fear may be real, but it doesn’t exist until you allow it to.
So what did I do? Took my rejection and my loss and I allowed myself to feel disappointed, sad and cry, because that what was honest, and as that moment passed I reexamined my work and I found that I was happy with the work that I put forth and then I submitted elsewhere.
As an artist you have to take it in and realize that just because you were rejected or lost an award doesn’t mean that you aren’t good, it just means that it wasn’t right, and all you can do is reflect and push forward.
And in the end, I know that my work, my work ethic and my life as an artist are all pretty suteki.