Ask Vivek: How do you deal with rejection?
This week’s question is about dealing with rejection as a writer and artist.
When I first started singing Western music, I began signing up for talent contents at shopping malls in Edmonton. Every talent show had multiple rounds (i.e. semi-finals, finals, etc.) with a giant prize.
I never made it to the final round. Sometimes I wouldn’t make it even to the semi-finals. It was always embarrassing to lose in front of my friends and family in a food court. I would feel sad, wondering what was wrong with me or my voice.
But I still would nervously approach the judges and ask for feedback for improvement. And the next year, I would sign up again. When preparing my selection for a new contest, I always tried to do something different than the previous year. One year I sang acapella, one year I sang Waterfalls by TLC, and another year I sang a song by Annie Lennox.
As an adult, I realize I learned a lot from these talent contests. Being an artist involves constantly putting myself out there and often having my work ignored or rejected. And the truth is, it doesn’t get easier to get rejected. I spend hours writing a poem or grant application, click ‘send’ and always hope for the best (I even have a Google notifier for when I should hear back). And when I do hear back, it never gets easier to read “This year we had a number of great entries including yours” and “Unfortunately yours wasn’t selected.” I complain to friends, I eat a lot of junk food, I complain more, I cry, I question the point of making art or writing.
But then, like my younger self, I slowly make my way back to the stage. I ask for feedback on my entry from judges. I ask for feedback from peers on my new entry. I try a new approach. I remind myself that rejection isn’t personal. There are many factors to why certain things get chosen over others and many of these factors I have no control over.
In recent years, I find myself applying for more opportunities because when I am rejected from one, it helps to know that I have other seeds planted. Maybe a different seed will bloom.
On that note, I highly encourage you to consider submitting to next year’s Young Voices Magazine. It’s a wonderful way to get published and the deadline is not until April 2017. This gives you a lot of time to work on your submission. I am also here to help you, so please feel free to email me your work for any support.
Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!
Lastly, this week I feel inspired by the performance by Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks at the Country Music Awards. Lemonade is a fantastic album and it’s great to see new sides to the songs with every live performance. What is inspiring you? Let me know in the comments!