You hear about artists and entertainers “bursting upon the scene” as if they just picked up a brush or a guitar and their genius gushed out. You want to be that person. You walk on stage unrehearsed because you’re confident the magic will happen.
I started doing Spoonflower challenges because, if I want to design fabric, I have to stretch my skills and practice, practice, practice. But like everyone, I get caught up in the competition.
The challenge is a popularity contest — not juried, no explicit criteria, just whatever strikes the voter’s eye. The 300-900 entries each week come from a worldwide talent pool — from seasoned professionals who know their customers to iPad doodlers.
Between September and February 1 (5 months), I have entered 12 challenges (one still in voting phase). I finally found where the voting and rankings are posted and couldn’t resist checking. [Insert sound of fingernails scraping across a chalkboard.]
Seven of my designs rank in the bottom quartile — worse than 75% of the entries. Three were in the third quartile (worse than half). One, my “Dragon Feathers” (Animal Skin challenge), actually got 112 votes and wound up in the top 10%. Woo.
Those brilliant performers who pop out of nowhere to enchant the world? We all know their actual tale of relentless ambition, obsessive work, strings of failures, and a few lucky breaks over many years. Very little magic.
So, memo to self: tear up the results and carry on.