Finally a winning entry!
For months, I had been participating in a short story writing contest hosted by the Times Internet Limited group called the TOI Write India contest. The premise of the contest was that every month, a celebrity author from India would provide a prompt or passage that would be used by aspiring authors from India, around which a story would be developed. The short story had to be completed within 21 days of the announcement of the prompt. I took up the challenge with great gusto and have been writing every month over the past nine months, but until last month, none of my stories won. But I did not lose hope, even if I was dejected that my story had not made it to any of the winning lists. And then a couple of days back, it happened! My story was shortlisted not only in the top 10 list, but also won third place in the contest that was held by Durjoy Datta. Needless to say, I was extremely thrilled that I finally made it after months of heartache, self-doubt, and anxiety. There were times when I did question myself whether I am a good enough writer and whether I was wasting my time. But this win has validated that I am a good writer; maybe not yet great, but I do have the potential.
And this entire process has taught me to be patient and not lose hope. I let the stories come to me, sometimes as a dream; sometimes as an event that occurred over that month; sometimes in the form of a news article that I had read; and sometimes from my own personal experience. Although most of my stories were not recognized as winning, I did post these stories to an online forum called Wattpad (Lakshmy Chatterjee) where I received a lot of feedback from other authors. And their feedback also kept me going because the response was extremely positive. This also helped me improve my story-telling skills.
The bottom line is: NEVER GIVE UP NO MATTER WHAT