I've had my works entered in several writing contests and I still haven't won anything. At first, I wasn't too concerned about it. These things are subjective. Judges have certain tastes, likes and dislikes. They're human, like the rest of us. But last week, my perspective changed. I submitted a short story that I had meticulously edited and thought for sure would be a winner. I was wrong. It didn't even place in the top three, or receive honorable mention. As the winners were announced at our writers meeting, I politely clapped and offered my congratulations.
On the way home, I decided to look at my story again, and try to figure out ways to make it better. After a couple of days, I sat down with it. Then, I ripped into it like a monkey on a cupcake. Turns out, it wasn't a masterpiece, like I had thought. It needed work. So, I took a red pen to it and neatly carved it up. I made corrections, deleted sentences and added more description. You know what? Now it's better.
I received an email with a list of publishers looking for short fiction stories. I'm going to check them out, and see if any of them will be interested in publishing my piece. Maybe one of them will. And that's the lesson. Keep plugging away. No story is perfect. Every draft, every edit is making it stronger. When it is ready to leave and find a home, it will be published. Until then, I'll keep nurturing it, and at the same time, continue to hone my writing.