The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Rejection is never easy. I know that my work won't appeal to everyone and even after all of these years of exhibitions and sales I don't expect every submission to be accepted, but some rejections are certainly more harsh than others. I really don't want my work represented by anyone who doesn't have the passion for it that I do, but not long ago I experienced a rejection that stated that my work wasn't the calibre of the artists represented which was interesting as I have exhibited with several of the artists they represent. The unnecessarily unkind response kind of gutted me, but then I received an even better offer in a much better space.
The same thing happened with an article that was rejected by one magazine and then picked up by another, one with a larger readership. I remember early on in my career, I had submitted packages to six of the largest galleries in my region and I received calls from five of them. I couldn't believe it. But it's not always that way. In fact, more often than not, it's similar to the previous experience.
I have learned to allow myself a little grief, and then force myself move on...that better opportunities often, usually present themselves. And there's this beautiful collaboration that happens with those that are on the same wave length as me...those with similar visions and goals. I am so lucky to be represented by the people I am. I feel absolutely blessed.
And we have all heard the stories of the great ones that were rejected numerous times...Katherine Hepburn apparently had a 'horse face' and Lucille Ball was too shy, they were told they wouldn't make it in the movies....J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, Louisa May Alcott, Beatrix Potter, Marcel Proust, among many other authors were rejected several times before publication (Potter & Proust actually self-published)...Elvis was told to stick to his day job driving trucks...and Monopoly was initially rejected. So many fabulous stories of overcoming odds.
So...the old adage to 'never give up' certainly applies. I think the biggest thing I've learned is to trust my instincts when I open my heart. I don't panic anymore when I'm running out of time on a submission deadline as perhaps it wasn't meant for me...and even procrastination is sometimes my soul's way of telling me to step aside. There is a place for everyone and everything in this world. Thank goodness for that.