I got rejected today, but I feel as light as air. Why is that, you might ask? Is it because I am a step closer to meeting my goal of 100 rejections? Is it because I now have an excuse to troll Duotrope for the next market?
No, because it was a fantastic rejection from one of the top magazines in the Spec Fiction business. I feel some measure of validation as a writer.
I think a lot of writers feel this way. I've been churning out all these stories, but it is difficult to tell if they're any good. Some of them look good to me, some not so good, but what do I know? I'm trapped in my own head. I'm not an expert. No one wants to be the self deluded fool holding up diamonds made of glass.
Like being a defense attorney, it seems that as writers we are bound to lose most of the time (which means rejections). One of the keys to surviving in such an environment is to re-define success. An acceptance is a success, no doubt. But a rejection can be a success. A form rejection can be a success if it is a high tier rejection. Getting a rejection from an editor as opposed to a slush reader can be a success. Simply getting 100 rejections, which means you're producing and submitting, i.e. an actual writer, can be a success.