I've entered a lot of contests recently, shared and swapped pages, CPd & beta read, and given feedback.
I am humbled and proud of the feedback I receive on my pages and the feedback on my feedback. Lol.
I've also seen a lot of you deflated.
Winning contests is amazing. I've worked hard to get to this level. I still have a TON to learn. But I will learn it.
I know I'll learn it, because I will work for it. I will work my derrière off for it.
Writing is talent to an extent, but it's more so a lot of hard work. If you're willing to learn, practice, read, and edit, edit, edit. You can be better.
To show you how far I've come and the positive effects these writing contests can have, I posted an early version of my published series. I edited it real quick to show you today how I'd polish it and posted the final published version so you can see the growth and changes.
I entered it in #pitchwars. Didn't even get a request, but I met some AMAZING other writers who gave me invaluable feedback.
After rounds of revisions, I didn't land an agent, but I did impress and editor who saw potential and loved my story as much as I did. (She's amazing btw. Celia Breslin, thank you for taking a chance on me.)
In the end, I became better. Still not the next JK Rowling, but I'm growing.
Moral of the story: DON'T STOP!