Non-Acceptance vs Rejection

When entering a juried competition–there is a fine line between non-acceptance and rejection. As artists we all feel somewhat rejected when our submissions do not make the cut. I’ve always tried to take it less personally and frame it as an editorial decision that simply precludes or does not have enough room for my work. I have even used work that is turned down as an opportunity to re-evaluate and improve. Even so–there is a letdown period. Until the notice is finalized, there is always hope and vision for approval and welcome. Thankfully for moi, the letdown lasts only a few hours, and I’m on to something else.

I tried to look up other words for non-acceptance and they mirrored rejection: rebuff; exclusion; elimination; veto; pass (on); eschew; and my personal favorite: nix. I cannot imagine getting a letter passing on my work beginning with the statement:

“Dear So-and-So, thank you for submitting your work, however we are nixing your piece(s) at this time.” This would make me smile.

As a visual artist, (or in any field), there comes a time or opportunity along the journey to show your work. Not all artists choose to do so. I have been delighted to participate a few times in juried shows and hopefully will successfully participate in a few more. I am selective as to which shows to enter, always trying to aim higher, and as a consequence, my exclusion rate is also higher. As a poet, I have sent numerous poems to journals and experienced the same feedback and slight setbacks. In hindsight, my best work came from rewriting and sharpening the poetry that was “eschewed.” I was lucky in those pre-computer-era days to actually get comments that helped me grow my work enormously.

So today, I got nixed! The sad part though is that there was no letter of regret, however sugar-coated it might be, thus insinuating even for a short time, that there was actual regret of not choosing my work and that there just may be an acceptance next time.

until the final nay visions of grandeur or at least a crumb of regret

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2 thoughts on “Non-Acceptance vs Rejection

  1. Oh, I remember those letters that would say “nay” but offer some encouragement (perhaps next time implied). Now I assume rejections are mostly “nix” with no kind words as a balm. For what it’s worth, I think the woman in yellow just shrugs off rebuffs and starts anew.

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