I started submitting stuff to poetry magazines this April. I started getting rejections about two weeks later. Coincidence? I think not.
The first time was grim and terrible. It didn’t say anything mean – in fact, it was thoughtful and kind. Nonetheless, I immediately realised everything I had ever produced was awful and that I must stop writing instantly.
The time after that, I only cried a little bit.
The sixth time I thought ‘meh.’
I have also discovered that there are good rejections and bad rejections. Handily, this rejection wiki gives examples of first tier rejections (no to this but we’d be interested in seeing other things by you) and second tier ones (just nooooooo). And it turns out I’ve had some really good – non-form – rejections. I’ve also had some acceptances, which will never become meh (most recently here, for Kevin Reid’s new blog of teeny tiny poems – submit, submit!)
My formula so far: response to rejection=n(rejection)/x, where x=the realisation that an editor is actually another human being who may or may not happen to like something. It could probably be more elegant.