The other morning I was excited to see a long anticipated email from the organizer of a local art retreat where I have wanted to teach for a long time. I spent days working on the colorful mixed media project and finally got organized enough to send in the proposal long before the deadline. I thought my design was unique and clever enough for the venue and was confident my work would be accepted. I felt this retreat was a perfect fit and I know many of the artists and designers who currently teach there.
I opened the email and started to read it’s contents with confidence. Elation quickly descended into despair when I realized it was a form rejection letter! I was saddened and a little perturbed. Don’t they know who I am? I questioned my ability to create anything interesting and felt like I should quit teaching altogether. Maybe I should take up knitting. After a few minutes of thinking in all directions, my creative confidence quickly shriveled into a ball of insignificant beige fuzz on the floor.
My pity party lasted for a few hours and then I planned a way to turn the rejection into something positive. I thought of a few nationally known teaching venues and sent out an email inquiry to my first choice, a prestigious art event in New Mexico.
I decided to send out the rejected project but wanted to make some improvements to the original. I don’t know why my project was rejected in the first place and I will never know the factors behind the decision making process but I wanted to look at ways the project could be more appealing. Once the revisions were made I sent the proposal to the new venue and it was quickly and enthusiastically accepted. My confidence as a creative individual had been restored!
We are not supposed to take rejection personally, but I can’t help it if I do. I have learned that after the first crush of disappointment passes it is important to evaluate how to make something better and look at the rejection as a jumping off point for improvement and not a failure.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!