Imagine with me: you’ve worked hard on your art, sent off a shiny application, and you’re waiting to hear back regarding your latest work. You’ve probably been emailing other artists, galleries, editors, publishers, government funding bodies, or potential clients. You might be competing for a client, an exhibition, a job, a public artwork commission, or a spot in a book to be published. You also have a classy website, an RB profile, and spent hours crafting the perfect introductory email that is both friendly and professional. And now, after working up the guts to hit send, you’re waiting for an outcome.
And waiting. And waiting. And waiting…
Here’s how it goes in my head: I’m thrilled to hit send, I’m confident and exhilarated. I don’t expect a positive response, but I am happy with my effort and think it’s good practice to apply for things. I do expect a reply though. For the first few days I do something (anything) else. I forget about it the best I can. Then the days tick by. I wonder if they have a ton of emails. I presume they are VERY BUSY PEOPLE. I consider writing a follow up. After a few weeks, this self doubt creeps in. I think it’s me. I get critical of myself. I cringe when I think about it and nitpick all the things I could have done better. I stop talking about it to anyone close to me and I start to feel embbarssed. I think that I can never contact those people again. I consider moving to South America and burying my laptop. Things escalate from here. And the craziest part of all? This entire emotional roller-coaster has been lived 100% inside my own head, and is not a tangible, concrete experience in the world. It is class-A crazy-making.
I think it’s called a “waiting game” for a reason, though nobody said it was a fun game. And there must be a better way to play it. Like, what is the best time and technique for writing follow-up emails?
What have your experiences with this been like? Do you get a crazy-making-internal-dialogue-y like me? Or do you have better ways of dealing with it? And is it now common to expect not to get a reply? Please help me if you have a better way of dealing with this topic. Lord knows I need it.
Recently I’ve been not hearing back from people an awful lot. What do you do? Is there a proper way to follow up without being obnoxious?