Getting Over Frustrating Times As An Artist

Getting past obstacles in your artistic career

I get it. You’re frustrated and angry that you didn’t get what you were hoping for. You’re telling yourself: “but I deserved it. I worked hard to get to this point and they didn’t pick me.” This applies to job applications, grants, residencies, festivals, or any other form of competition.

Here’s my list of how I cope with being rejected:

  1. Vent

Message or call someone close to you. Vent out your frustrations instead of posting a temper tantrum online. You should know by now your posts on social media cannot be deleted forever. Don’t let that bite you in the ass later in your career. It’s important to express your anger in a healthy way and not become irrational or volatile.

2. Stop, Start, Continue

After you’re done venting, sit down and get a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. Make 3 columns with “Stop, Start, Continue” as the titles. Think about what your goals are and start brainstorming about what you need to “Stop” doing in order to attain them. This can mean stop procrastinating as an example. Write down what you want to “Start” doing. This can be learning a new software or skill. The “Continue” column are all the things you are currently doing that have been helping you along the path. Continue learning, and continue making work are good examples.

3. Persistence

A wise artist told me “it’s only a ‘no’ today.” There will be a chance to submit to it again, but you must take advantage of other opportunities. Being persistent will get you further than your competitors who are dwelling on their losses. No one is stopping you from applying to new opportunities, nor is anyone discouraging you from revisiting old ones.

4. Journey Reflection

I know you’ve heard the quote: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” If you feel that you are doing better than where you were five years ago, six months ago or even a week ago, you’re still making progress and you’re not done evolving. Reflect on what your goals are and where you are in relation to them. A long road is ahead of you and not many people make it to the end because they have given up.

By now, you know there is no straight line to success. We’re all different in how we make things and how we approach problems. Don’t let self-doubt hinder you from making more work. Finally, be conscious of how you are feeling, and recognize it’s only temporary.

Motion Designer ○ Director ○ Founder of the RotoJam Collective