To be an artist is to be rejected.
And that must be part of the fun if the artist is to survive. Rejection is not a bad thing; it is actually a necessary gauge to decipher how dedicated one is to their craft. A need for adulation is simply not enough to *make it*.
Many young artists cry foul - that they are having an impossible time *breaking in*. But when I ask what they are doing to better themselves and their craft, I am almost always met with an awkward silence. Grandiose notions will never replace passion, talent, and perseverance.
First, you must love what you do in order that others might as well.
Second, you must respect your art form.
Third, you must work. (And then work some more).
I once had a gentleman ask me to help him get published. Pitch me your idea, I replied. He told me he didn't understand what I meant by pitch. When I told him that he must research the elementary basics of the industry he wanted to *break into*, he became impatient - reminding me that he was too old and didn't have time. His attitude told me that his dream wasn't based in reality.
Not everyone is going to love your work, and nor should they. It is not human nature. But it is imperative that you put good work *out there*. For instance, if you are going to break the rules of grammar, make sure you know what they are first. Respect yourself and respect your audience.
Auditioning for acting roles in Los Angeles truly thickened my skin and I am grateful for it. Nobody sugar coats anything and that's a good thing. It helped me realize that I am an artist because I love expressing myself, because I have characters clamouring to be born through me - not because I need an ego stroke or an inflation of my self-image.
And as for that elusive audience... well, people LOVE a good story. Why? Because they love to reflect, to escape, and best of all, to be inspired.
If you don't love what you do, check your motives. And rest assured, the ego is no match for a spirit on fire.
In my latest novel, Story Girl, my lead character is struggling with rejection. Sometimes she is emboldened by it and sometimes crushed. But she is never truly defeated. And that's because writing IS her nature. She cannot separate herself from it. She and the craft are one.
And despite the obstacles that never let up, she knows this to be true.
If you love the process - even the pitfalls and heartbreak - you are on the right track. Don't be defeated; find the laughs. And for God's sake, find the gratitude.
Gratitude is everything. Such is the key. Always.
Story Girl is now on sale for a buck - go grab a copy. Gotta love this digital world. xo