The more short stories you write the better your writing will become and the more entries you send the more the odds improve; it is a numbers game. I keep a spreadsheet going back almost a decade of every entry I make, it contains: the title, the competition, the judge, the word count, the final entry date, the shortlisting and judgement dates and, importantly, the cost. The years in which I enter the most competitions have been the years in which I have been shortlisted or placed most often. In 2023 I entered 26 writing competitions and I have had successes. One bursary, one finalist, two shortlists, one published interview (and the inclusion of my stories in two anthologies.) As competitions become more expensive so it becomes costly, but it is an important way to get your voice out there, to get your name known and importantly to increase your confidence and self-belief, writing short and flash fiction is also good for your professional development, ditto writing courses and workshops . Writing in particular, requires resilience, you have to be tough to keep going and you have to learn to accept rejection as part of the process of recognition; if you have professional writing ambitions you will be rejected more often than accepted, so you will need to develop a skin thick enough to match that of a rhino.
In other news I am returning to my artistic endeavours. In London in the 1980's I became an accidental illustrator working for a number of national publications and well known companies. I have decided to return to art part-time. Take a look at my back catalogue on instagram @patriciamullinartist1560