The agony of defeat.

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on a freelance ad job and today was the Big Presentation. Sadly, I just heard that the idea my art director partner and I came up with did not prevail. When I first heard the news, I wasn’t that affected, but within minutes the Disease of Defeat spread through me. I felt a little sweaty, on edge, anxious, and then came the requisite flood of self doubt: I suck, I’ll never do anything great, I suck, why do I bother, I suck, and so on.

Now, losing a creative shootout hasn’t happened to me in a long, long time -- most likely because I haven’t been working much! – so why should today’s news get to me so? I should be able to tell myself, “Well, can’t win ‘em all,” but I do want to win them all. Always have, always will.

At least the idea that did win was good. I first saw it yesterday, and I remember thinking at first that it sucked. But I took a closer look and, I admit, it was cool. And I’m sure it was even cooler today, given the polish it received into the night.

Obviously, I wonder if I hadn’t had to leave early several times becasue of headaches, dizziness and excess twitchiness, would I have come up with something better? Would I have pushed harder at the internal meetings? Who knows? Probably. But the days of working 10, 12, 14 hours are behind me, I just can’t do it anymore. Maybe someday, but certainly not someday soon. I'm lucky to make it to six hours.

Here’s the question, though: why doesn’t this Disease of Defeat course through me after a song of mine gets rejected? I mean, for the most part, when I have received rejection notices, I have brushed them off easily, knowing I didn’t write a treacly ballad sung by a whiney vocalist who sounds like a parody of American Idol performances! But with ads, it’s different. I look back on my creations and suddenly see all their flaws, all the ways they suck, how wrong I was, what a fool I was to ever think the idea was a good one.

And that’s what I’m doing today. I know tomorrow will be better, and by Saturday I will struggle to remember what I was so upset about, but right now, I’m wallowing in self-pity. And will be for the next several hours.