Don't Give Up: Rejections Aren't The End

Being an artist is a funny thing. We're expected to get rejected, often. It doesn't mean we're bad at what we're doing. Recognition takes time...a lot of time. We have to keep pushing through despite all the no's. Even with the rise of digital publishing, we still need to get past some gatekeepers. It's not an easy path.

A couple of months ago, I started submitting photos to contests. I hoped I'd win but I expected to get rejected. Newbies get rejected, right? That's the path. You submit and then you get rejected. You repeat the process until someone accepts your work, eventually.

Last month, I entered 5 photos for The Muse Creative Awards.


I didn't think I had any chance of winning. Generally, life has been kicking me around so I wasn't feeling too positive. This was just another rejection I needed to get out of the way.

When I got an email saying the winners were posted, I searched The Muse Awards' website just to be sure my photos weren't there. I mean, I hadn't received an email about my submission so I assumed I'd been rejected, again. I was just double checking since I also hadn't received a rejection.

I was totally floored to find out my photo was actually there.


So yeah, I won a Rose Gold Award in Architecture Photography for The Muse Creative Awards.

I stared at the page for awhile. I knew what I was seeing but what I was seeing couldn't be right. Why would my photo win? Things had been going wrong for months. It felt strange for something this good to happen to me. I shared the link with my family and friends. They all confirmed it.

My photo won. I even get a certificate. It still feels surreal. I guess I can say I'm an award winning photographer. Feels weird.

Just try, even if you think you don't have a chance. There's nothing wrong with trying.


On a similar note, I sell photos on stock image sites like Shutterstock. I've been trying to get on iStock by Getty Images but I got rejected twice. Being around publishing, I've heard of Getty Images...a lot. Getting on that site has been my dream. After 2 rejections, I assumed it wouldn't happen.

Then my photos on Shutterstock started selling pretty consistently. I figured this was a good time to try again. I applied to be a contributor for iStock. Over the weekend, I got accepted! Funny enough, they accepted a photo I was sure would get rejected.

As I mentioned earlier, life has been pretty rough. I was ready to give up on everything. I was fighting those "what's the point" thoughts. And then this happened. My nice ray of sunshine in the middle of a storm.

No matter how bad it seems, don't give up on your dreams. (That rhyme was totally by accident.)

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March 27 -31, I'll be on a blog tour with Visible Through Darkness. Follow the tour!