Yesterday was a humbling day. I received a rejection, and while I knew the chances of getting it were very good, stung nonetheless. Oh, it is so hard to put your heart and soul on the line in this world. “Hi, I’m an artist. I am mailing you my dreams, my hopes and my heart. Here is is for you to judge however you like. Have at it.” Fun, huh? I have had my fair share of successes but I never get so cocky because I have had my fair share of rejections. And they sting just as much every single time. I got some really good constructive criticism which is good, but still…’Ouch.’ So I wallowed a bit yesterday, allowed myself to feel a bit sorry for myself, then, like you always have to do, got over it and figured out who was next on the list to submit to and prepare myself for the next possible rejection or acceptance. Oh and if that is not enough, let me remind you that all of this hard work pays squat. Yep, staying up until 3 in the morning, going over the phrasing and every word of your query letter before you press send or mail it out, painstakingly making sure the painting you did is the best you can make it, going over your text until you are sure it is as prefect as you can possibly make it. And doing this all after you did whatever work you had to that actually PAID your bills. Yep, all that work and a big fat, “We like your writing and your illustrations are very cute, but no thank you. Good luck!” And then you get to do it all over again. For. Free.
But yes, all this is in the hopes that one day you will get paid for it. One day you will be able to make a living doing what you love. Do what you love and the money will follow. If you make it they will come and all that. I know it is all true, and after just one day I am already ready to mail out again, I am recovered. The rejections do get easier. Oh, I’m a big liar, no they don’t. But ya know what? The successes? Oh my. It is a feeling that is indescribable. It is the first lick of a flavor of ice cream you have not had since childhood and a bunch of long forgotten memories come flooding back, it is the scent of salty sea air as you get closer to the beach for the first time that summer, it is your child coming up to you and giving you a bear hug and saying they love you for no reason, it is driving down the highway singing a song you know by heart at the top of your lungs with someone you love. It is your heart fulfilled. And it makes every rejection worth the pain and tears and loving that you were born an artist.