Breathe In Stories, Breathe Out Art

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Debby Hudson / Unsplash

I got a million rejection letters this week.

I mean, It wasn’t a million. But it felt like a million.

And it messed with my head a bit.

And now I’m writing about it, because, maybe if it messed with my head, it’s messing with someone else’s head, and, well, I’m all for pouring encouragement and community and positivity back into the internet.

So, back to the rejection letters.

I’m a freelance writer, theatre director, producer, and teaching artist. I also run thewriteteachers.com. None of this happens by accident – I am constantly sending out query letters, applications, submissions, etc.

Some might say that the application process to be a creative professional takes more time than the actual creating – I still haven’t quite made up my mind on that one yet.

But alas, I digress.

Sending out submissions, whether you’re the performer or the creative behind the table, takes a lot of time, effort, and mental energy.

Sometimes, you’ll get the response you like. A lot of the time, you just…won’t hear anything. And then, like this week, you’ll get a lot of “thanks but no thanks emails” – and it can be hard on the soul.

If you get enough emails like that in a row, sometimes, at least for me, my brain just starts shutting down. The doubt creeps in. I start to wonder if my words are just awful. I start to think – “maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing. Maybe the things that I’ve directed and the projects I’ve created were just…crap, and nobody told me.”

That’s the point in which I usually text my people – my mom, my best friends, my now husband.

And usually, those voices break the shell of “maybe I’m not good enough.”

See, creating is hard. It takes cultivation. It takes dedication. It takes motivation.

And letting yourself wallow will not make the words come faster or the projects come knocking. Comparing your success to that of one of your contemporaries doesn’t do you any good, either.

Hear me when I say that, please.

Letting yourself wallow will not make the words come faster or the projects come knocking. Comparing your success to that of one of your contemporaries doesn’t do you any good, either. 

Resist the urge to do that.

Instead, remind yourself that success comes from years of creating when nobody will consume your art, dedication, and constant pursuit of your vision when those around you can’t even see it.

Instead, turn to those who inspire you the most, and learn from them. See all the shows. Watch all the films. Listen to all the music. Read all the books. Talk to all the people.

Instead, remind yourself that you create because the magic that is in your bones deserves to live outside of your head. 

Breathe in stories, breathe out art. TC mark

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