Learning from your mistakes and you past as well as your challenges make you feel better than ever.
When I joined the CG I had never done anything artistically in the digital realm so I've really learned a lot being a part of this community. A discussion got me to thinking about what I've learned specifically from participating in the Monthly Challenges. I figured I'd share and maybe others will add to it and perhaps this will encourage somebody else to join in on the next Monthly Challenge.
Lessons I've learned:
1. Working against a deadline keeps you focused.
2. Sometimes everyone else is cramming just as hard as you are so don't get worked up if you don't get much feedback.
3. When you accidentally blow away your master work files, you get a really sick feeling in your stomach and it's hard to pick up the pieces and do things over again.
4. When you do things over again they almost always turn out better.
5. Don't watch the voting too closely, just get started on another piece. Watching your entry fall gradually behind as the winner is selected can be demotivating. Your next piece is going to be better than the one you just did anyway so you will probably get excited about that and it'll keep you going.
6. When someone points out something that might need improvement be thankful they took the time. Some folks are just blunt so try to understand whatever point they are trying to make and use it to improve.
7. You don't have to agree with everything said. Most folks here are pretty helpful and some of them have an amazing eye for detail but judging art is often all in the eye of the beholder.
8. Have fun and enjoy everyone else having fun. It's friendly competition and in the end the winner gets a circle of pixels to "wear" under their name. Odd that I've burned sleep hours to try getting one, eh?
9. Loosing makes you better because you keep trying. Loosing keeps you hungry and motivated. Loosing is good!
10. My wife has a good eye and she's not afraid to tell me what she thinks. LOL
11. Try showing some of your stuff to someone outside the guild. They will probably be blown away and that will feel good.
What I've learned:
* Artistic ability trumps technical ability; the two together are unbeatable.
* I don't have much in the way of artistic ability.
I've always known I could create decent hand-drawn maps, and that I have great comprehension with my favorite graphics app, what I didn't realize is all the very cool ideas I can come up with on short notice. Many of my past challenges, I ended up doing extra bonus material - extra maps, illustrations, a poem, map objects. It gave me incentive for trying to publish my own material, and I am an RPG freelancer and publisher, because of my experience in the monthly challenges.