Every active writer will be rejected many times in their life. Keeping these few things in mind can help make this painful process pass easier.
1. Your story being rejected doesn’t mean it’s a bad story.
It means that the editor of the magazine you submitted it to didn’t like it or they liked it but didn’t think it was the right fit for their magazine. Don’t lose hope. The first thing you should do when you see that rejection email is reread the story. It may have been a few weeks since you submitted it. Now you have fresh eyes, you’ll notice ways to improve it, so improve it then send the story elsewhere! There are hundreds of magazines to choose from, all searching for stories to publish. I don’t think I’ve ever sold a story that was accepted at the first place I submitted. If you don’t already, check out The Submission Grinder, a search engine for fiction markets.
2. Even if your story does turn out to be not that great, that doesn’t make you a bad writer.
Every fighter loses matches, every runner loses races, and every writer writes a bad story now and then. If you’ve sent it to endless places with no luck, and had people read it and give you negative feedback enough times, then it may be time to move on to the next thing. With every story you write, you gain a bit more experience and a bit more skill than you had the last time. It’s all practice and you can only go uphill over time if you keep it up!
3. Don’t stop writing while you’re waiting around for that response.
If you’re going to be a successful writer, you’re going to need to sell more than one story. So start on the next one right away. This also serves as a distraction from the story or stories you have out there that just might be published any day now, and makes the waiting less painful. When you’re busy writing, you’re not busy worrying!
Finally, remember that rejections are part of the process.
Magazines can’t accept every story that’s sent in. Even if they were all amazing reads, some would still have to be rejected. So jump into the fray, get some bruises, and keep on going!