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Creative Hurdles: Jump Over or Go Around
By: Tom Roarty
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The advertising world is as unforgiving as it is unpredictable. So when you do everything right and to the best of your abilities, it should be no surprise that it may not be enough to satisfy your client, or perspective employer. But how does one deal with continual rejection and the disappointment of being on the wrong end of one of the world’s most subjective professions?
Truth be told, no two people handle disappointment the same way and although friends and family may say they understand what you are going through, the translation to that is “I sympathize with you,” because no one can really grasp how you feel after something you have created has been rejected. It is true that over time you learn tricks on how to lessen the blows and dull the pain to the point where you can barely feel it, but in doing so, you tend to lose something, which is the ability to care as much as you once have.
Art and creativity spawn from emotion, and your work is a direct reflection of how you are feeling at any given time. When people ask, “How would you describe your style?” it is an insight to your mood. Van Gogh did not go through his blue period while reminiscing about his past accomplishments, but for some artists it is an all-or-nothing attitude that makes them stand out. Happy or sad, black or white, it is like the flick of a switch that inspires bold solutions. If you like a design you created and your client doesn’t, chances are the next one will have an edge to it, even if it is subtle. Emotion is great for your work even if our psyche has to take a beating, but what happens when we detach in defense and eventually give in, or as some would call it “creatively sell out?”
Art without emotion is gray, depressing, and quickly turns into factory work. The belief that your talent is gone because you have been rejected so many times, or told so by just a few people you feel matter most, can be the death of your career and a little part of your self as well. As people there are only so many times we can hear the word no before giving up and moving on to find something better that works for us, both personally and professionally. As creatives we choose not to acknowledge those things that hurt us and tend to use negativity as fuel at the the risk of our sanity.
The important thing not to lose sight of is that we all have options. If your passion is creativity and you are not succeeding in what you do, find another outlet that will work. As subjective as this field is, the opportunities in existing and emerging medias are endless. All you have to do is find the one that fits you. Even though that may not be the most comforting of thoughts, it is important to know that you are not alone in your quest, and as long as you keep searching, eventually you will find what makes you happy or at least angry or depressed enough to make you stand out. Just try not to FedEx any appendages. These days it's illegal.


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