A poet friend of my mother’s once said that she considers applying for grants to be part of the job of being an artist. Not a part of the job she enjoys, mind you, but something she grits her teeth and gets through, because if you want to be a poet and not starve to death, that’s what you’ve gotta do.
I decided to follow her good example and dutifully completed a grant application last spring to cover costs associated with my new CD, Blackbirds. It was a roughly $13,000 project, and I could use all the help I could get. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when the rejection came back. Very. Oh, I knew the odds going in. And I knew that asking for the maximum grant amount lowered my odds even further. But I was still disappointed.
Be thankful for crowdfunding, I thought. Be thankful for your friends and family and day job that will all help pay to make this piece of art.
I hate getting back on any horse after a rejection. I should be tougher, but all I really wanted to do after receiving the big “NO” was to crawl under a rock and stay there. But, there was work to be done that needed financing. And, there was a nice little note on my rejection letter inviting me to apply again.
So, this past fall, I gathered up my courage and prepared for rejection once more. I requested funding assistance for a smaller project this time – and less than half of the grant’s maximum allowable request.
And I got granted.
Oh, the ELATION! The VINDICATION! The RELIEF!
Sure, it’s just a little bit of money. And I have to spend at least as much again to validate my grant request. But, at the end of the day, I’ll have a new web site and professional video. And I’ll have had the opportunity to work with some great people in Nova Scotia’s music community, like Katy and Stephen at Analog Songs. And have the fun of hiring musicians I respect and adore to help me.
Even better, though, there’s a lesson about overcoming rejection, trying again and getting accepted, that I needed to learn. This dynamic plays itself out all the time – booking gigs and getting promotional recognition, like interviews or reviews. I find it a gruelling process; I spend too much time wanting to crawl under a rock after people say “NO” to me. This is a lesson to keep the faith, stay calm and simply keep asking until they say: “YES”.
This blog post owes a debt of gratitude to the Nova Scotia Department of Culture and Heritage:
Alex Hickey recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Culture Division to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.