Writing With Silvia Hartmann
Inspiration for artists who are
struggling with rejection slips ...
A Tale Of Two Editors
Here's a little something for the
creative artists (and entrepreneurs) amongst us who are struggling with
rejection slips, negative comments from editors and suchlike folk, well meaning
suggestions from friends and loved ones that they're wasting their time in cloud
cuckoo land and trying amidst all of that to keep a level head and not question
either their talent or their devotion to their art.
It is actually quite funny all the way around but it happened and I've thought
about this and laughed and also sighed.
There was a time in my life when I would have really taken this kind of thing to
heart in a big way, especially when I was first starting out with the task to
communicate my ideas in writing and was altogether insecure in knowing whether
or not I had a right to do this in the first place, whether I was good enough,
could ever become good enough, was deluded to think I could ever be anything
other than just some slave person punching buttons for a living and all of that.
Much has been written about the value of perseverance over intelligence or
talent and that's what any "recognition game" is all about, be it in music,
visual arts, as an actor, as a rock musician, perhaps even as a lover
This is completely spot on and correct.
Now, for a moment, imagine that you had sent out an article you thought was very
good, well written and content laden to some magazines, obviously in the hope of
getting it published.
Amongst the list of submissions were two competing alternative health magazines
from the UK and so, here are the two responses we got before I go any further
with any more theory (James is my PA who send out the articles).
Response No. 1:
Thank you very much for sending the article by Silvia Hartman. It is very good
of you to consider XXXX.
I have read the article and find that it is suitable for a different kind of
magazine. I think that our readers expect something in more depth, less
sound-bite than this article. I didn't find anything in it that stopped me and
took my attention. It was repeating what has been said many times for many many
years. I had the impression that rather than offering some real food to readers,
the writer was offering some wrapping so as to get people to go to her website.
I am being plain and direct.
She may be capable of writing something more interesting for our readers, but
this is not it.
With best wishes,
Dear James, would you please pass this on to Silvia directly so I can be in
contact with her and save time as I want to publish this outstanding article as
soon as possible?
Thank you very much for submitting your article Energy Nutrition for publication
within xxxxxx. I would be delighted to publish your article in Issue 85 (Feb
'03); the Editorial deadline is 29 October.
Please email me your full contact address and telephone details so that I will
send you a copy of the magazine when published, and pay you in due course. I
would also ideally like to discuss with you some fine details regarding content
of the article, more specifically, for you to include an About the Author
section at the end.
I attach author's letter with instructions; however I don't have any address and
telephone details, for which I await your reply.
There we have it. The same article. Two magazines in the same country, competing
in the same field, with a woman editor of the same age and social group and
whose name starts with S each.
Is it a good article or is it a bad article?
May I be one day "capable of actually writing something interesting" or have I
already done so?
What if *both* editors had responded either one way, or the other?
What would I have thought *then* about my writing abilities?
Now, this is what's known as "feedback".
I'm laughing as I'm writing this because to be truthful, these two responses
would have seriously done my head in not so very long ago.
But the thing is that now, neither matters much. For sure, I'm pleased that the
article *will* be printed in Magazine 2 and somewhat pissed off at the tone of
the editor of Magazine 1 which is quite unneccessarily rude considering I've
never met the woman, but it doesn't actually have any longer any impact on my
own thoughts as to whether or not I'm a writer or whether or not I can "make it"
as a writer.
That is a place I've reached after not inconsiderable struggle and heartache and
after many many years of doubting myself into a wreck of misery with the side
results of doing things like hiding what I've written just so no-one would be
able to reject it and kill what little hope I had then dead altogether, not
submitting things, not standing up and doing what I love to do and so on and so
This place of having resolved within yourself what you are and what you are
doing is a core thing about whatever one's endeavour might be, a true
pre-requisite to success, to somehow come to this place of deciding for oneself
whether or not one really is an artist, an entrepeneur, a lover, a this or a
It's from that core place of knowing it within yourself that you can bounce back
quite happily when someone suggests to you that your endeavours suck and you
should just give up and do everyone else a big favour.
I'd like to make a few suggestion that might be helpful in the context of
getting there a bit quicker than I did or give some useful food for thought in
Firstly, two key notes on the topic of whether or not you're deluding yourself
as to the fact you have "what it takes" to succeed at X.
1. A Body Of Work
I don't know how that was but eventually I got the hang of a really and
profoundly helpful understanding about the nature of such endeavours, all such
endeavours, and that is that one doesn't just hop out of the cradle, produce one
giga-mega-zoid super-duper Pulitzer/Nobel prize winning gloriousness just the
once and then be feted forever, but instead.
Instead what is actually happening is a progression over time as one develops,
and learns, and fails, and succeeds sometimes too and that's the evolving body
of work - all the pictures you've ever painted, all the companies you've ever
owned, all the songs you've ever written, altogether as a development over TIME.
An artist is a human being who grows and learns and changes and to tell someone
they have no talent because their current songs are crap (in their opinion) is
idiotic and a meta-model violation as well as a true piece of Korzybskian
insanity. This is something we all really need to learn - not so much the
editors and record company managers, but we ourselves when we JUDGE our body of
work and draw conclusions from these judgements.
From this follows straight note No.2:
2. You Stop, You're Dead.
So you've written a song and it's crap. Now what? You stop, and you are truly
dead as an artist or as a human being in that regard. You've had it. Nothing can
now get better, nothing can evolve, nothing more can be learned, and all is,
This is such a disaster and as I was saying before, it happens across all human
endeavour - business, love, poetry, you name it. It's a terrible defeat for your
own humanity. Sure it's hard when you've done something and you failed - to get
the loved one, the orders, the customers, the publishing contract, whatever.
But then to go on and stop loving, stop doing business and crawling back
defeated to some prison-like 9-5 for perpetuity, to stop singing and to stop
writing, that's a tragedy and it need not ever happen if you remember this in a
moment of crisis.
Now, something practical.
We have something today that as far as I'm aware, NO-ONE in the history of
mankind has EVER had access to - namely a heap of techniques to repair injuries
in the energy body and thus remove emotions and disturbances which arise from
Simple, wonderful EFT for example, can and does break through old contortions of
all kinds and it's freely available for anyone to use, and not just at crisis
point but in general, when doubts creep in and you are remembering all the
negative feedback, the put downs, the slagging off's you've received in your
lifetime and which are now hindering your forward development in good faith, in
congruency, with delight and with excitement as to what you're going to be
getting up to next and how much better you're going to be in a few years from
now as your *body of work* evolves and grows in power and in stature.
This can't be so unless you start to build it, and if you've started then you
must not stop, but only pause once in a while, lick your wounds and go on as you
must, the wiser for it, with many things learned and a new refined approach
already building in the back of your mind.
You can take criticism and feedback failure and look at it without fear or
dread, just take the lessons, laugh and say, "Well with hindsight, that was
probably not quite as good an idea as it seemed at the time. Next time, I'll do
something differently, see if that works out better for me."
But the one thing I won't let anyone - ANYONE AT ALL - tell me anymore is that I
don't have basic human right to GO FOR IT with all my heart so I get to build up
my developing body of work over time. No-one has the right to tell that to any
human being, and least of all, your very own self.
THAT is something that I've now understood and that is what is different this
time round. With THAT comes the right to submit articles , and songs, and
paintings, and business proposals, and even deals to clients, relationship
invitations to strangers in a bar, the whole gamut of human endeavour, if you
If these get spat on, denigrated, rejected, fair enough. Who knows, perhaps they
weren't good enough yet and I just can't see that yet as I haven't developed to
those bits on the timeline. I'll keep that in mind as a possibility.
If they get accepted, feted and celebrated, that's fair enough also.
Nice they're already so happy, fact is, I know for a fact that *they ain't seen
And that is a *very* cool place to be.
Encouraging waves to all,