Head Hunting

So, it’s fairly common sense that when you’re starting a creative project you need creative pieces. When Matthew and I first laid down the skeletal ground rules for our little project (which was still only a month or two ago) we agreed that it would not be our own egotistical platform, we agreed that we would not be publishing ourselves. For starters it’s not a great look; for me, it’s difficult to separate the use of potentially crowd-funded resources to simply publish our own work, where the publication of a work is the celebration of that work, from the gentle petting of one’s own ego. In turn, publishing our own works while we also select the works that will be included in that same publication invites the impression that our own works set some kind of bar. Which leads me to our third reason. Matthew and myself undoubtedly have a, for want of a better word,  ‘vision’ for our own publication; we know who we want to speak to and we know who we want to do the speaking; we know what we want to see and we know what we’ve already seen before. In terms of this very basic conceptualisation, we are not the writer’s we are looking for. We have our own strengths and we have our own weaknesses and hopefully, one of our strengths is finding people something they want to read, something they haven’t read before but something they want to read again.

So, like a washed up child actor embarking on a last-ditch effort to resurrect their own glory days by raising the 70’s style variety program from its dusty grave, or just marrying rich, we need talent! But when you’re two nameless kids starting an independent publishing project people don’t exactly line up outside of back-alley, theatre spaces for you, spraying their hair and rehearsing their lines. You line up for them. And it’s hard. It’s hard because rejection blows and, to be honest, at the time of writing this, I haven’t even faced rejection yet. I haven’t faced it yet because the anxiety surrounding the mere concept of rejection is crippling. It’s easy to sit around a coffee table in Melbourne’s outer suburbs while we pat ourselves on the back between quips about how hard it is to find simple bacon and eggs without having to build it yourself from menu extras. However, when it comes down to it, the anxiety easily takes over and I would rather write a post about what it’s like to face up to the anxiety of rejection than to actually face up to the anxiety of rejection.

I wrote briefly in my last post about the ways in which honours and the challenges of further higher education helped me to recognise my own limits and in doing so become a little more comfortable with my own failure. At the time of writing that I had hoped that when it came to the head hunting portion of events this would help me a little, that what I had learned from honours about not letting my failures define me and not taking rejection of my work as immediate personal criticism would help to arm me against some of the nausea that comes from putting your project out there, even just privately between myself and a friend that  I hope might want to contribute. It hasn’t really and I suppose I should have known that. For now, I find the most soothing thing to do is to hit send, leap from my seat like I’ve been shocked and aggressively pace the house for around 20 minutes until I calm down a little. This opening episode I usually follow with a pointed avoidance of reading any replies for around two days before I have my partner read them and tell me if they’re a yes or a no so I, at least, know which one to brace myself for. You can see, I’m sure, how this isn’t exactly sound business practice.

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