I always cringe when I see the word "Decision" in the subject line of an email. I was just notified that I did not win the third essay prize I tried for. The decision letter was harsher ["not up to the standard"] than the reviewer comments which were mostly fair and accurate. It is a function of the high rejection rate of the Journal that the essay was not accepted with those comments. But I only wrote it for the prize money, and quite frankly the fact that it will not be published in that Journal does not matter.
I procrastinated for weeks thinking that I could not beat more established scholars, but I kept thinking about the essay topic because of the prize money. Eventually I went back to the library and worked on my submission. As the reviewers noticed, it was two papers that I tried to stitch together. I actually finished it ahead of time because the word limit did not allow me to continue working on it. I had to download a free trial of EndNote because I could not figure out the Journal's reference style.