Welcome to Rejection Week, an examination of just a few things I have created that have been rejected, denied, passed over and outright dissed. My list of misses is much longer than my list of hits, and sometimes I think there’s more value in reflecting on what didn’t work rather than what did.
Also, there’s a completely self-serving aspect, too: Many of the things I’ve created I really liked, and if no one will ever see them, then they die little deaths on my shelf. So yes, I will only be sharing things that I am at least a little proud of.
We open with a series of greeting cards I made in 2009 as part of Hallmark’s regular open contests for amateurs. Though I didn’t necessarily expect Hallmark to use my art, I worked as hard as I could to make some of these look pretty. I believe my style could only be lumped generously in what is called “naive art,” which is a pretentious way of saying “doodler.” As I recall, I did the first two for a basic birthday challenge, and then another series as a sort of “what can you do” sampler aimed directly at Shoebox.
In each case, I got a confirmation e-mail that my submissions had been received. And that was all.
What I learned
I learned that coming up with pithy, bawdy, zippy jokes for a greeting card is not the same as cracking jokes in the back of an office meeting or civics classroom. I was unemployed when attempting these, and I think it would have been easier if I had been surrounded at the time by my usual cadre of funny co-workers. Just being around smarties and smart alecks raises the game of creative types. I’m especially susceptible; retorts and repartee are an elixir for inspiration. (Which seems self-evident on the Shoebox blog; that sounds like a supportively goofy office for generating regular ha-ha.) I could have used that boost when staring at the drawing board for these.