Imagine everyone sitting down everyday and diligently typing out their novels--hour after hour--with no breaks, no doubts, and no crumbs on the keyboard. Yeah sure! Makes me laugh...ha ha...writers don't really do that. Do they? Can they?
Writing contests are one of my favorite things to do when I have extra time. They can be challenging, but if you get an honorable mention, place, or win the sense of validation is huge.
When an author choses to use a beta-readers they're taking a chance that others are seeing what they are seeing. They are therefore vulnerable to criticism and must be prepared for judgement.