“Start thinking of rejection as redirection”
I think this is gonna be my motto for the next 6-12 months.
As you know, I’m a freelance lettering artist and graphic designer on the road to becoming a type designer too. I’m 32 years old, and I’m currently trying to take my work to the next level. I feel like I must say that although I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve received, the clients that have trusted in me and allowed me to keep doing what I do, and the people and friends who had always supported me, I feel like I’m reaching a point where I’m very, very *very* hungry for more.
It’s kind of weird, but although I feel like my work has had a tremendous growth in the past 2 years or so, I feel like the field I’m playing in is starting to get small if that makes any sense, and I’m curious to know where else I could go to – I don’t only mean geographically – but also what other kind of projects I could take on. I have always had these 3 dreams/goals regarding my work: 1) I want to work with a museum, 2) I want my work to be featured on a printed magazine, and 3) I wish I could stop taking jobs I don’t enjoy just to make ends meet. The third one is tricky, I know. But I also know that is time for me to take a big leap of faith and at least try to make it happen. I’ve been drawing letters, and trying to make it for many years now and I feel like I owe it to myself. That is why I’m gonna make 2020 the year to promote the shit out of my work. I’m scared. I know I’m gonna be rejected a thousand times before some one even replies an email or calls me for a job, but I guess “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”, right?
Instead of being scared I’m gonna be rational: What is the worst that could happen? What is exactly what scares me? I’ll start by the latter: I’m scared of nothing ever happening, I’m scared that I’ll never “make it”, and I’m scared that I’ll reach out to people and I’ll find a bunch of obstacles: People making fun of me for reaching out (It already happened once), people thinking I’m not good enough, people telling me *again* that I need to do some illustration with my lettering, or that I don’t have *a style*, or the worse: finding out that instead of my work, people focus more on things like my follower count, or if I have or not worked with big brands before.
The worst case scenario I guess is that nothing happens. Everything stays the same, but would that be bad? I think if that did happen, it would require a mourning period from me to understand and make peace with the fact that not everything is meant to work out, and that wouldn’t even be so bad at all. I would still be able to create things out of joy, and because it makes me happy, and I’d have to maybe work in other type of projects and that’s it! The worst case scenario isn’t even that bad.
Now, I’m no expert in marketing and SEO and social media strategy, but besides a few things I’ve been planning (Like blogging, and creating more personal projects, exploring new lettering styles or maybe even trying to learn illustration), I’ve decided to start putting myself out there with the help of the good ol’ “cold emailing”. There are many factors that go into whether this could work or not, but I’m taking it as a first step and as a sort of ripping-off the band aid process.
I guess what I’m trying to say with this long post is that trying is good. You deserve a pat on the back just for being brave enough to even try. It is scary, I get you. But It’s sad to keep all those “What would have happened” thoughts too. So whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, just go and make it. Make a list of what’s holding you back or what are you afraid of, and there’s a huge chance that the worst case scenario isn’t even that bad, or better yet, won’t happen at all.
I’m excited and ready to start getting rejected by a bunch of art directors!