Creative Power Habit #8 is Show & Share and I'm here to report about the Puzzle Pitch. If you missed the inspiration behind the Puzzle Pitch then you'll find it here. But the result was that I was rejected.
I have a Rejection File. It has rejection letters, from when letters were a thing, and emails. The word 'rejection' such a negative thing that today I've decided to no longer call it a "Rejection File" but a "Not Their Choice" File. That title was hard to come by when you look at all the synonyms for rejection - no-go, brush-off, cold-shoulder, thumbs-down, slap in the face, and kick in the teeth. You see the feelings associated with not being selected.
It's always a letdown when you enter and don't get the gig. It can often lead into this rejection rabbit hole of "my work's not good enough", "nobody's going to want my work", to "I shouldn't even bother anymore." You can see that it's a downward spiral with every thought building on the other's negativity. As with most artists, I can often see this as "bad being stronger than good".
TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN BEING 'NOT THEIR CHOICE'
There are two things to remember when we haven't been chosen. The first is that choosers have commercial criteria they are trying to meet that you really don't know the particulars of. You have to get into the head of the person(s) picking. As for this puzzle pitch challenge, I knew they would pick one dog and one cat puzzle design because pets are such a huge market. If I had really set my sites on getting picked I could have done one of those topics but it didn't fit me.
THINK LIKE THE PUZZLE MAKERS
You can practice trying to figure out how to think like the puzzle makers by guessing whom they might pick before the winners are announced. I looked at the entries and chose the ones I thought they would choose and I picked 3 out of the 10 winners plus I knew there'd be a cat and dog one. I couldn't pick which dog or cat because there were so many. So basically 5 out of 10 winners. Out of the other 5, I could see their direction. There was only one that was a wild card to me. It was good practice putting myself in the company's shoes.
REJECTION RECOVERY PLAN
The second thing to remember is to have a plan to deal with your emotions before you enter the challenge. My plan when I'm "Not Their Choice" is to 1) feel sorry for myself. But with a time limit. It's alright to acknowledge my disappointment. 2) Don't make any rash decisions about the trajectory about me, my art, or my business in this mood. 3) Remind myself of my successes. A "Success" file, board, or journal, etc., works here. 4) Look at their choices and try and see why they chose what they did. Like I said, good practice. 5) Reward myself for being brave enough to enter in the first place.
This doesn't have to happen all in the same day and your plan may look entirely different but there should be a small space for you. You have more creative work to do and you can't stay in the 'Not Their Choice" zone for long.
So, make your REJECTION RECOVERY PLAN so you can move through the creative process with purpose and share it with me.
Let me take you on a journey of Creative Power Habit #7 Vision. Part of Creative Power Habit #7 Vision is having goals. You can make your own or take on someone else’s invitation. Recently, I took the True South Puzzle Co and They Draw & Travel’s joint challenge. It was a call to pitch a puzzle. The concept was to create a puzzle that had a site-specific destination with a unique theme that also has commercial appeal. The uncommon thing was that the artwork didn’t have to be finished. It could still be in the concept stage.
I’ve entered challenges that required fully completed art only to be rejected, numerous times, and then be stuck with a very specific piece of art. So I appreciate having the chance to share in concept form. With that much flexibility, I was able to submit three pieces for True South.
FIRST PUZZLE PITCH ENTRY The Journey a Piece of Art Makes
Looking at the “unique” aspect they were looking for I decided to push the destination’s conceptual boundaries. My first design, The Journey a Piece of Art Makes, The Creative Process, is to show how an idea travels to its completion. From idea to destination. (I don’t know if this artwork will make it to its final destination of a puzzle but wish me luck or leave a heart here.) Plus I just finished writing the Jumpstart Your Creative Engine with The 8 Creative Power Habits book so I was all in on sharing about the creative process.
I’ve always loved hydrangeas and painting them. I chose to take images from the process of creating the hydrangea painting. Then I added words from the creative process and spread them around in the composition. When I was creating this I thought about how I’d enjoy actually putting together a puzzle like this. I could also see some of my daughters wanting to do it with me.
Sometimes our CPH #7 Vision can be too much of a conceptual stretch for a commercial market so that led me to my next entry.
SECOND PUZZLE PITCH ENTRY Sweets of Sweden
I went for something a little more predictable with the Sweets of Sweden. I lived in Sweden for two years and tried so. Many. Treats! They were all delicious. I loved my sketchbook painting days in their cafes, which seemed to be two to a block. I felt like a real European artist.
Wanting to share that feeling, I went to my sketchbook for inspiration and the pastry paintings that I did while in the cafes. The Swedes also love their flowers on tables (or lit candles in the Winter) and I remembered how all the cafes had fresh flowers. It was so lovely that I had to add those. Then there was the bird that flew into the cafe and shared my carrot cake with me. It was such a serendipitous moment that I had to paint her and it gave the puzzle an authentic feel.
Wouldn’t taking this puzzle to a cafe and putting it together be so much fun? Here's my next entry.
THIRD PUZZLE PITCH ENTRY Famous Statues of Europe
We went to Paris and Denmark and saw some of their remarkable marble statues. I mean, who can make rock look real like that! So amazing. In my last puzzle pitch entry, Famous Statues of Europe, I wanted to see if I could do an “adult” puzzle. (If there’s such a thing.) I added a bit of sophistication by making it black and white. I thought the pencil lines would make it intriguing to put together.
I don’t know how many people would want to put together a puzzle that looks like this but the CPH #7 Vision says to try it anyway. The puzzle could easily be placed in numerous museum gift shops all over Europe, wherever a statue is represented in the puzzle. And let’s be honest, I think I bought something at every single museum gift shop I entered.
PROFESSIONAL ARTIST FRIENDS
As a side note for my professional artist friends, this next news should appeal to you. I didn’t make any new art for this puzzle pitch. It was all work that was done previously. Having finished art at-the-ready makes for an agile professional. In the Build Your Body of Work Membership, every month we’ll do prompts that will give you artwork - a mini collection - to add to your portfolio. It will put you in the driver’s seat so that when challenges like True South and They Draw come up you only have to hit the gas.
Will any of these submissions make it? Will any of them win? It feels risky to share before I know but part of the creative journey is putting yourself out there (CPH #8 Show & Share). So, rejection or win, I’m in the creative game.
So my Creative Friends, what would your puzzle pitch look like?