Michelle, one of my artist-mama-soul-sisters, has gotten it exactly right:
A few dozen people around the United States have decided I am not good enough, not compelling enough, not original enough. And I let those few people negate 5 years of people that BUY my art, LOVE my art, take PLEASURE in my art. I lost my joy for what makes me happiest.... So my decision is not to quit my art, but to quit commercialism.
It's very easy to get discouraged when I look at all the other children's books, art in galleries, licensed materials, and think "I could do this better" or "There's no room for me." Michelle, Jill, and I have been doing a lot of talking lately, and realize that it's the need to create that fuels us. We would do it even if nobody was paying attention. It doesn't mean you don't still strive for success, or recognition, it's just that you put it in its proper place.
The art comes first.