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.