If you win, then you talk to the other winners, congratulating and praising them. If you lose, then you read through your submission, noting mistakes that weren’t there five minutes before, wondering where you went wrong,” she adds. “You tell yourself, ‘It doesn’t really matter. I’ll survive.’ But a squeaky voice in the back of your head is saying, ‘So-and-so won. They’re obviously way better than you. Why are you even trying?’
Over at the Atlantic, Jen Karetnick investigates the gnawing pressures teenage writers feel when submitting their work for competitions like the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.