I aimed high early last year when I decided to work through my fear of rejection by taking inspiration from Jia Jiang. My goal was to accumulate 100 (art related) rejections over 2017.
So how did that work out?
First off, I would like to say that I only got 1/3 of the way to my goal this year, sending out 34 applications. Of those, 6 were accepted, which works out to a 16 or 17 % acceptance rate. So I actually accumulated 28 rejections in 2017.
Having got a slow start during the first half of the year I had to apply myself from the last half of the summer by applying to 5 opportunities a week for the rest of the year to meet my goal.
That proved challenging as opportunities are time consuming to source as well as to apply for. I found I was spending more time doing that than making work between August and October. Then in October, as the applications I sent out were accepted, I had no time to make art or to apply for things as I was busy with framing and making and traveling and meeting and such to fulfill the proposals. Finally in November and December I had to balance studio time with application time.
Overall I found that the shift in focus, from trying to get accepted to collecting rejections, to be beneficial. I was not nearly so attached to the proposals, both when writing them and when waiting for results. I was more willing to take risks, as I was not focusing on the potential negatives of an opportunity and talking myself out of applying, or conversely on being super conservative or over-thinking so as not to lose out on an opportunity.
I am definitely going to carry on this project for 2018, with the goal being to make it all the way to 100 this year. Starting now, I should only have to send out 8 or 9 a month. I’ve done my 1st earlier this month. 1 down, 99 to go!