On Being Disappointed

Last night I had to cancel a workshop I was leading. I had to cancel because no one was coming. I’m not going to pretend this wasn’t embarrasing. Humbling. Concerning even.

Where had I gone wrong? I was writing an ongoing series on building artists websites. I was getting great responses from that series. I was getting ‘thank yous’ and ‘I need ot get on that!’s. I was also getting a lot of questions and thought it’d be best to explore those in person, with other artists struggling to get their sites up and running. 

I thought I’d keep this first workshop intentionally small. Just 6 people. This would keep things productive and personal. This would allow for plently of conversation and questions. This would, I hoped, drive people to register early. A sense of urgency is good for signups, and signups are good for planning.

To I set up the event online. I invited people by email and social media and in person. I waited.

Then I waited. Then I waited some more.

Trying not to obsessively check registraitons, I did check from time to time, and always saw the same number. Zero.

I was starting to worry, but not panic. People are notoriously last-minute in my experience.

The workshop was to start at 7 PM last night. When that number still read ‘0’ at 5:30 PM, I decided to call the whole thing off. 

For now.

It’s true I am disappointed. No one likes a blow to the ego. 

I know it’s not a reflection on personal worth. I know there are a ton of factors that go into something like this not taking off. I know that things take more than one trial before you can pronounce them dead.

I know this. But you know it still hurts, because I’m sure you’ve experienced something like this. You’ve put your heart into something you feel will be great only to find you are not part of an overwhelming majority on that point. 

It’s not the first time this has happened. Just this summer a workshop I was to run with another organization was cancelled for lack of registration. I know this won’t be the last time, either. Not if I’m doing something right.

To grow you have to fail. 

To learn you have to make mistakes and take missteps. And some ground can only be revealed as solid or shaky by feeling it underfoot. That takes stepping forward.

And we did that at The Bleeding Heart Art Space last night. We stepped forward.

The first thing to do in the face of a dissappointment (after positive pep-talks from yourself an others), is to ask yourself what went wrong. 

Why did this not go the way I’d planned?

What could I do better next time?

Should there even 
be a next time, or is this meeting a need that doesn’t exist?

I’m reflecting on these questions today. I’m making plans to do this again, but with real people next time. I’m talking to those who said they were interested, but didn’t register. 

I’m hearing a lot of responses that tell me there is indeed both need and desire for training on building a better artist website. A need that is not being met. An opportunity. I’m hearing that the timing was off for many people who wanted to attended. Some things just came up that couldn’t be avoided. Some schedules are too busy. Perhaps the time of year, as we move towards summer and transition from one mode of Edmonton life to another, is not the right season. 

I'm listening, and I’m learning. I started out dissapointed, but I’m ending up positive. Optimistic. Hopeful for that day when we can provide practical resources for our community in a meaningful way.
You are part of our community and I’d like to hear from you. 

Heather and our team have put together an 8 question survey. It won’t take you more than 5 or 10 minutes, but it will go a long way to determining where we go from here.

How can Bleeding Heart Art Space best serve you as a creative and community member? 

Please take a moment to respond to our online survey. 

Let’s leave disspaointment in the dust of forward growth.


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