Creative Mondays #056 – Fixated on disappointment.


NOTE:  Obviously, this was written early last year.  It has some good thoughts though, even if it is a little dated.

Author Mur Lafferty and I are good friends who met through the early days of podcasting.  Ten years ago!  Wow!  And we’re still friends.  She lives in North Carolina and I’m out here in California, but we seem to have very similar attitudes about things that happen to us in our creative pursuits.  We will have long email, Twitter DM and text conversations about random topics and we always feel the same about things.

In January, she wrote a blog post on disappointment.  It was called, ironically enough, On Disappointment and I will let you go read it on her website at  It’s a great post about how you can have a lot of stuff going on in your life that is very, very good but one little negative thing, in this case a rejection, can bring you down to the point where you become completely fixated on it.

This happens to me all the time.  All the time and it is damn hard to get over.

At the end of 2013, Sesame Street held an open call for a puppetry workshop.  You had to submit a three minute video of your puppetry skills and then just wait.  From the moment I hear about it, I didn’t want to submit.  I didn’t want to submit for the very topic this article is about.  I knew if I submit and didn’t make it, I would be fixated over it and it would grind me up inside.

I then got a little inside information that if I did apply, I probably would NOT get it because the Sesame was casting a net for a different type than I am.  Read: they already have enough white male puppeteers, the don’t need more.  So again, I figured I would not apply.  But then a friend of mine said that the pressure was off because I knew that inside info and I should submit ‘just to be seen.’

Well, I wound up submitting.  And, surprise, surprise I did not get accepted*.

And to no one’s surprise it really crushed me.

Creative rejection sucks.

And the thing that REALLY sucks about it is, like Mur in her post, I have a lot of really great stuff going on.  At the time the rejection came in, it had already been confirmed that I would be traveling to Australia with The Jim Henson Company’s Puppet Up.  Shortly after the rejection, it was confirmed that I was going to be going on the Puppet Up U.S. Tour before the Australia tour.

I am being paid to go to Australia (and tour the US) to do puppetry, in a show that is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THING TO DO, and all I can dwell on is the fact I didn’t get into a two day workshop that I would have had to pay to get to (flight, lodging, etc.).  That is absurd!

I know many people who’s brains work like mine.  And Mur’s. And it’s just insane.

This, unfortunately, happens a lot and when it does I just have to focus on the good.  And there’s a lot of good.  In fact, in this case, the good outweighs the bad by a trillion percent.

When this happens we have to focus on the good.

Focus on the good and just keep creating.

*The reason they gave me as to why I wasn’t accepted, and my reaction to that reason, would be a subject that would fill 10 of these blog posts, so I’ll hold off for now.

How do you handle creative disappointment?  Do you have a coping method that works for you?  Let me know in the comments below.

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