My Journey : Rejection Letters

Once upon a time, three lifetimes and five years ago, I went to a blogging conference in New York City held in Martha Stewart’s offices. There, I listened to Grace Bonney of Design Sponge talk about how you need to ask and apply and put yourself out there until hearing, “No,” no longer hurts.

It resonated.

But it didn’t stick.


A lifetime of nonexistent self confidence had taught me that safe was boring but comfortable.

Reading through The Artist’s Way {told you I would be mentioning it lots}, the author keeps mentioning how generous the universe is. How, if we ask for something and do the work, it often happens in a flurry of coincidences.

Looking back on my time since listening to Grace speak in that beautiful venue, I made a mental calculation of all the creative opportunities I had been given that I myself had denied.

No, I will not illustrate your book.

No, I don’t do that kind of photography.

No, I’m not a good enough painter.

No, freelancing isn’t for me. I would rather work on someone else’s schedule.

The fear of failing and hearing the “no,” from someone else, even after they had asked, so terrified me that I shut it down before I had given myself the opportunity.

This past week a supporter of my work gave my name to a woman looking to commission several pieces of art. My first instinct was to say, “No, that’s out of my realm.” And then I remembered Julia and Grace and the united league of badass women creatives who were never given a chance simply because of their gender and I said, “I’ll try.” I invited her to my studio to have tea and a talk. It may not come to anything. But it won’t be because I was scared to hear the word “no.”