Being an artist is not easy. You pour your heart and soul into your work, hoping to express yourself, connect with others, and maybe even make a living. But along the way, you will inevitably face criticism and rejection from various sources: editors, publishers, reviewers, audiences, peers, friends, family, and even yourself.
Criticism and rejection can hurt. They can make you doubt your abilities, question your choices, and lose your motivation. They can also trigger negative emotions such as anger, sadness, frustration, and shame. But they don’t have to stop you from pursuing your artistic vision and goals. In fact, they can be valuable opportunities for learning, growth, and resilience.
Here are some tips on how to deal with criticism and rejection as an artist:
- Don’t take it personally. Criticism and rejection are not reflections of your worth as a person or an artist. They are feedback on your work, which is separate from you. They are also subjective opinions that may vary depending on the source, context, and criteria. Remember that not everyone will like or understand your work, and that’s okay. You can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t try to.
- Consider the source. Criticism and rejection can come from different sources with different intentions and qualifications. Some may be constructive and helpful, while others may be destructive and harmful. Some may be experts in your field, while others may be amateurs or outsiders. Some may be supportive and respectful, while others may be hostile and rude. Consider who is giving you the feedback, why they are giving it, and how much weight you should give it. Ignore the ones that are irrelevant, uninformed, or malicious.
- Learn from it. Criticism and rejection can be opportunities for learning and improvement. They can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, discover new perspectives and possibilities, and refine your skills and techniques. They can also challenge you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and explore new directions. Instead of dismissing or dwelling on the feedback, try to extract the useful information and insights from it. Ask yourself what you can learn from it, how you can apply it to your work, and what you can do better next time.
- Focus on the positive. Criticism and rejection can overshadow the positive aspects of your work and journey. They can make you forget the compliments and praises you received, the achievements and milestones you reached, and the joy and satisfaction you felt. Don’t let them rob you of your confidence and enthusiasm. Focus on the positive feedback you received, the progress you made, and the value you created. Celebrate your successes, big and small. Remember why you love what you do and what makes you unique as an artist.
- Seek support. Criticism and rejection can make you feel isolated and discouraged. They can make you want to give up or hide your work from the world. But you don’t have to go through them alone. Seek support from people who understand and appreciate your work, such as fellow artists, mentors, coaches, friends, family, or fans. Share your feelings and experiences with them, ask for their advice and feedback, and learn from their stories and examples. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, encourage you, and cheer you on.
- Keep creating. Criticism and rejection are inevitable parts of being an artist. They are not failures or endings but challenges or beginnings. They are not reasons to quit but motivations to continue. Don’t let them stop you from creating what matters to you. Keep expressing yourself, exploring your ideas, honing your craft, sharing your work, pursuing your goals, and enjoying your journey.
Criticism and rejection are hard to deal with but they don’t have to be devastating or debilitating. By following these tips, you can turn them into positive forces that help you grow as an artist.