Want to improve your craft? Embrace rejection

Fresh turmeric from the farmers market.  Not everyone will want what you grow and create.  Embrace rejection—grow for your perfect customer.
fresh turmeric at the Franklin, TN Farmers Market

I left the farm for a weekend and flew south to Tennessee for a writing conference.

No matter how far I go from the farm, though, I always seek out farmers—so I started Saturday with a visit to the Franklin Farmers Market, where I picked up some fresh turmeric from a farmer who told me, “our soil looks like chocolate cake.”

I almost wanted to eat the soil, but they hadn’t brought it to the market.  

If I’m seeking out farmers everywhere I go, why leave the farm?  

Farming and writing aren’t so different from each other.

Both require cultivation.  One of soil, one of words. One of customers, one of readers.  

Both require pulling and pruning.  Pulling weeds, pruning suckers. Editing out what doesn’t serve the larger story.  

So I left the farm to cultivate my own creativity, to sow and grow relationships to nurture the writer part of me, which is just as essential as the farmer part.  

I know you have different parts, too—different aspects of your life that feed your body and your soul, and I believe they’re worth cultivating.  The world needs your work, needs you to show up and grow.

Still, it can be scary.  

There are so many voices out there already.  Some of which seem to be there just to stop you from speaking or planting a seed.  If there’s one lesson to share with you from the Tribe Conference, it’s this:

“You cannot avoid rejection and do your greatest work.” –Jeff Goins

This is as true for the writer as it is for the farmer.  Not everyone will want to read your work, let alone like what you write.  

Take this blog, for example.  Someone who’s scared of dirt and hates even the idea of growing food just isn’t going to read it.  On the other hand, if someone truly believes organic is a waste of time, they’ll leave this website in a heartbeat.  

That’s okay.  If they get curious, I’m here.  

But if I changed everything I wrote to please the people who don’t want to hear my words, then I’d miss you.  And you are who I’m writing for.

For the farmer, some people will show up at market and tell you they can buy cheaper produce at the supermarket.  

You know a homegrown organic tomato is an inherently different thing than a conventional tomato flown thousands of miles across the country (or countries).  

Maybe the conventional tomato-like thing is cheaper.  But it’s not the same. It won’t offer the same nutritional value or anywhere near the explosion of taste and tangy juice.  So maybe you don’t make a sale to that person, but does that mean you’re going to cheapen the food you grow to please them? No.  

It means your greatest work, the perfect tomato, is meant for someone else.  Someone who can’t wait to slice into it, sprinkle sea salt and pepper over the ripe fruit, and eat it naked and raw because it’s perfect that way.

organic tomatoes: grow the perfect tomato for the right person.  Embrace rejection—the wrong customer isn't your customer.
There’s someone out there who wants the perfect tomato—grow for them

Whatever it is you choose to do in life, recognize that rejection is a sign you’re making something worthwhile.  

Will you need to edit, revise, and improve your craft along the way?  Absolutely.

But the more you create and the more you grow, the more you’ll understand when a rejection comes because what you made isn’t for that particular person, versus when it comes because the tomato just isn’t ripe yet.

Will you be rejected?  Yes. Don’t let it stop you from doing your work.  

Because beyond the rejection is celebration.  Beyond the rejection is the person who will celebrate your work, eat every bite, and ask for more.  

So go out and plant a seed.  Grow. Make. Create something you love for someone who will love it.  

Start now by deciding.  What do you want to grow and create?  

Put it in writing and let me know in the comments below.  We can support each other and help each other grow.

4 thoughts on “Want to improve your craft? Embrace rejection”

  1. Hi Kate!

    What an awesome post. Thank you for making rejection the topic of your latest blog post.

    For the last year, I have been growing Wild Hearth Photography, my “creative child,” weaving my pictures and words into an imperfectly perfect tapestry. But my journey down this path started a few years ago, when the first nudges to pursue photography seriously first made themselves known to me. And I feared rejection.

    Rejection is a heavy word. But once unpacked of societal expectations and other people’s opinions, rejection is the compost that aids the growth of self and whatever one is creating.

    In gratitude,

    1. I love this: “rejection is the compost that aids the growth of self and whatever one is creating.” Yes, this is the perfect way to describe it. Keep on creating ~ you have a beautiful way of seeing the world and sharing it with others ❤️

  2. Thanks again, Kate, for your thoughts and ideas. I’m dressing to go to a family dinner, where we don’t all agree politically. Usually, we just don’t go there…but with election day on Tuesday, I’m wearing my “I’ve voted!” sticker and, above it my “Celebrate Diversity” pin. Maybe it’ll start a conversation…maybe not…but I want to make known I care about these things. I’m risking rejection, and I’m hoping it’s a risk with a positive outcome. But I don’t know…I have to just take the risk, right? May my words be ones of civil discourse, ones of reflection and not judgment. Thanks for all your caring, Kate. my best, Karen

    1. Karen, thank you for showing up in this way! I also have close family members with very different political views, and it can feel so scary and vulnerable to bring up these topics. But I believe that anything done in compassion and from a place of love is worthwhile—even the hard conversations that may likely not change someone else’s mind. I constantly remind myself that we all want to get to the same place: one where we and our families are safe and well provided for, where we’re happy and fulfilled, where we have the freedom and flexibility to create the life that brings us most alive. When I remind myself of this, it gives me a new way to find conversation. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always have the conversation, but I’ve seen how small acts like showing up and wearing the sticker can help break down the differences and open small cracks into connection. ❤️

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