Rejection is not easy to deal with, and most artists have experienced their fair share—be it from a gallery, an open-call exhibition, a residency, or a grant-giving institution. Frequently, advice on how to process rejection involves focusing on ways to feel better; those tactics tend to apply to any industry, but not necessarily the profession of being an artist. It may be difficult and disappointing not to get that job, promotion, or pay raise, but it’s quite different (and perhaps more intimate) for rejection to be based on your art, which is so closely linked to who you are as a person.
I’ve learned about how artists can deal with rejection from well over 1,000 interviews with artists for Yale University Radio, as well as my experience as an artist, and the books I’ve written to help artists develop their careers. Here, I share six ways to cope with rejection and become a stronger person in the process.