I had a great week in terms of writing life—three rejections rolled in. Two I completely expected. I'd aimed high in sending a new story to two highly competitive contests.
The third I had cause to hope for an acceptance, as it came from an online litmag that I've received encouraging rejections from with specific feedback. Also, the editor and I now communicate directly via email as opposed to me using the organization's Submittable page. (I'm not knocking Submittable or any publications' use of it—I'm just saying I'm fortunate to have been granted access to more personal communication—I'm in the land of unicorns, dreams, and almost acceptance.)
For both stories, after having some time and distance from them and specific feedback about the one, I feel enlivened to revisit, revise again with a clearer sense of purpose, and send out into the world again to find a forever home if I'm fortunate and the work earns it.
And the Rejection Club, all my favorite authors already joined; I presume yours did, too.
Here are a few little books that got published after being rejected:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - 12 rejections
Carrie by Stephen King - 30 rejections
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - 26 rejections
While I'm intending to encourage myself and you with this info, let's not go nuts. These writers had to make choices, I'm sure, about what to revise and what to keep as written regardless of rejection. Just because they sent the work out many times doesn't mean the content remained the same every time. Plus I'd bet folding money that even the first circulated drafts of all these works had unique strengths and had already been toiled over for a long time.
Getting a rejection is easy and a rite of passage. Learning from rejection and persevering to make the work better and stay passionate is hard (but worthwhile). The road to literary acceptance is paved with rejections, so keep at it.