Two different journals rejected a new short story of mine this week. Years ago, I was told that every rejection is just one step closer to the work's eventual acceptance. Mostly, I adhere to this mantra. Also, the wise and generous George Saunders has this more holistic advice on handling the rough patches of the writing life:
Writing is a lovely, life-affirming thing to do, even if the world never rewards us for it, or never rewards us enough to allow us to make it the main thing in our lives. It's a vocation, after all, not a job--and even if we're lucky enough to have it as our job, it's still not a job, not really. I guess what I'm saying is that we could be as rich as Midas, sitting at a big old golden desk, with no interruptions for the next ten years, and someone bringing us healthy meals and sharpening our pencils an so on, but what makes us a writer in the moment is the state of our mind. Are we interested, curious, noticing, changing our view, always changing our view, loving the world, compelled by the beauty of language? Nothing can take those things away from us and, the truth is, nothing external can give them to us either.