"Good solution, good presentation and some members of jury who will support such work - is only guarantee to be noted and awarded" - that was feeling about a success in competitions. FLWright never participated in competitions, saying: "the best and the worst projects are eliminated instantly - average (jury) honored average (work)". Was he right? Maybe sometimes, but competition is often only chances to get a job or promotion. I won one first prize (Zelengaj), one second and two honorable mentions. I worked on competition projects just by myself completely alone, and on some projects with some draftsmen help (putting pencil drawings in ink) and making models. Working by myself on design solution, might be very good for being flexible and fast decision changing, but there is some missing of discussions, idea checking and getting more objectivity (if?).
Hours of wasted time? Usually, it had been two months of hard work in spare time besides regular work. Two months devotions to particular solution makes someone to believe "it is a good work and proper solution". But, even if not awarded, it was time of nice dreaming with moments of pure enjoyment and every competition project is precious experience. It was not wasted time!