As writers, this is something that we have to get used to. Whether it is the numerous rejection letters from Agents and Publishers or simply not winning that competition.
In the beginning it can totally deflate you, leaving you feeling like a complete idiot for thinking that you could write successfully in the first place. The urge to throw pen and paper in the bin is very strong at this stage. DON'T!
I used to want to run for the hills and curl up under the biggest rock I could find in the not too distant past. But as the saying goes, If you fall off the horse, get straight back on.
(Providing there are no broken bones, of course)
I've been laying my poetry and fiction out for all to see for approximately four years now, and yes, you do become attached to each piece. Like a child, you nurture them, watch them grow and when you think they are ready, you launch them into the world.
No matter how good a job you think you have done, someone will always find a chink or something not to like about your child, your poetry or your writing. That's just the way it is.
Like anything in life, you have to take the bricks as well as the accolades. I learn more from the bricks than anything else. Once I got over the initial hurt/shock or however you like to describe it, I was able to look at my work with fresh eyes, and guess what...some of the comments were on the money.
With four years of writing under my belt, I have grown an extra layer of skin for each of them, and learned to 'Let go.' Once I have put my work up for examination, I'll take what comes. I may not agree with what is said, or like the poems that were chosen over mine, but as a writer, I accept that you can't please everyone, all of the time.
I write what I like first and foremost, then if I think it is worth the effort, will tweak it 'til I'm ready for the world to see it.
If they like it, great; if they don't, well that is their preference, it doesn't worry me any more.
I won my first poetry contest last year on another writing site, the voting was by site members, then I came third in another contest run by the same site but judged by an external panel of publishers, poets and agents etc.
I doubt I would have won anything at all, if I hadn't had all those knock backs in the first place that made me up my game.
(Just a quick thank you to 'croz' for inspiring me to write on this topic.)