I managed to get a short-story in fighting shape for a contest this month. If I have anything positive to say about writing groups, it's that every once in awhile you luck out and find yourself in a group where everyone is serious about what they're doing. My short fiction class at school is such a group. Different ranges in experience, but I'll take sincerity over self-love every time. They made some great comments on my piece that have changed it for the better.
Submitting work to contests or journals or magazines or bathroom stalls takes a fair amount of work. Such a crucial aspect to writing. I wonder how many people tuck their first or second drafts into an envelope and fire it into the mail? I think I went over my piece about twelve times, and found something substantial to change on each read. Not sure if that's a good sign or bad. Of course, I had some good help too. I can't speak enough about having at least one or two people whose opinions you trust when it comes to your work. You'll never catch all the problems with your story on your own. Gotta have an extra set of eyes every once in awhile. I've got my wife--who has an eye for story and writing better than most, and maybe two other people.
Here's what I wanted to write on my cover letter:
Deer Writers' Union of Canada-
My storie good is. Pleez reed fore yore pleshure and send me monie prizes.
But I didn't.