If you follow regularly you will know that things have been a little slow lately on the site. A couple of things are going on-one, I have a new home, new studio and a whole lot of new things going on! Great news, right! This means I have been keeping busy with getting things spiffed up and getting settled. I am also busy planning studio layout and rehab. I am super excited about the studio because it has heat (!) which means the potential for working year round AND a longer workshop season-yay! With all this excitement I have fallen a little behind on interview requests-not to worry though because I’ll be getting back on track soon.
In the meantime I have a phenomenal interview for you this week! Annie F. Downs is an author, speaker and blogger. She does some amazing writing for young women (and, ahem, slightly older) that is empowering and inspiring. After reading Let’s All Be Brave I knew I wanted to have the chance to interview Annie so I reached out and was delighted when she agreed!
I have never met Annie in person (hope to though!) but have read and listened to her words-she is funny, gracious and just seems like someone you could know for five minute but feel like you have known forever. One of the reasons I thought she would be great to talk to about this subject. As always, the idea is to keep it casual and fun, like sitting down over a cup of coffee-or in this case chai!-for a frank conversation.
So, welcome Annie and we’ll dive right in…
What is your favorite comfort food/drink to unwind with?
Almond milk chai. It is my very very favorite. I’m having one right now!
What books are you reading now and why?
I’m reading The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner (because I am trying to make more space for those fringe hours!) and Home Is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson (because Sophie is one of the best writers putting books out right now).
If you weren’t an artist/writer what would you be doing?
I think I’d still be teaching school. I used to teach 4th/5th grade. The other option, and the job I hope I get to have someday, is working at a craft store cutting fabric for people.
What is something about yourself that people don’t know about you?
My job doesn’t allow for tons of information people don’t know about me :), because I speak publicly about my life every weekend, and I write books, articles, and blog posts about my life. BUT. Most people don’t know that I sleep in socks. So. There’s that. 🙂
Who/what is a major influence on your work that people might not realize?
My grandmother, Ruth. She was always reading, loved talking about words and books, and she loved God very very much.
What’s your biggest pet peeve about art criticism? (This one is geared toward visual artists but if you have something feel free to add in!)
People feel like they have lots of permission to say whatever they want about other people’s art. Which is true. But my biggest pet peeve is when people make assumptions about the artist based on the piece of art.
What has been your most memorable rejection?
The stack of letters on my desk from 2009 when we got over twenty rejection letters from publishers. I keep them to remember that for every yes, you have to suffer through a lot of no’s.
Has rejection changed how you thought about your work or changed your direction in any way?
Rejection hasn’t changed my direction much, but it has certainly opened up other doors that I did not know would open to me. I’m a big believer in trusting in the doors God has opened and closed, so rejection helps show me the closed ones and reveal the open ones.
Can rejection be a positive thing?
Rejection is a great reminder that you are not your art. Every time I get a no or a rejection or a bad review, it is a good opportunity for me to remember that failing doesn’t make me a failure, trying something new makes me brave.
I LOVE this Annie! It is sometimes hard to separate the you from what you do!
What advice would you offer to other artist’s, or folks in general, about rejection?
Don’t fear it. It’s inevitable. Learn from it, keep what is true and release the criticisms that are lies, and grow from it.
Thanks you so, SO much Annie!! Please take a minute to learn more about what she does by visiting her website and other links below!
Annie F. Downs is an author, blogger, and speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. An author of three books- Let’s All Be Brave, Perfectly Unique, and Speak Love, Annie also loves traveling around the country speaking to young women, college students, and adults. Read more at anniefdowns.com and follow her on Twitter @anniefdowns.