When I think of rejection two things initially come to my mind... a child showing something to a parent, a teacher or some other adult that they are particularly wanting to share and being quickly dismissed. The other image that comes to my mind is s new salesperson at a sales meeting being told by a more experienced pro that being rejected in a sales pitch is just a part of the numbers. You must be rejected a certain amount of time before you make a sale.
There seems like a very expansive divide between these two images. For starters there is no positive outcome for the rejected child. On the other hand, if you buy the goods (the argument the sales pro is making) at the sales meeting then you come to see that as unpleasant as it may be to hear no, it is an essential part of success. Yes, even the best Realtor, the top auto dealership, the biggest publishers are going to face rejection.
Kelli Agodon who has a litany of publication credits, awards, grants won, etc. address her recent rejection blues in a both light hearted (she rarely fails to amuse moi) and yet thoughtful blog post earlier today. I don't know any writer, poet, or artist of any kind that doesn't relish accolades. Conversely, a rejection slip to a writer can be a very personal thing because it is often the cost of putting yourself out there. I've been through my share of slumps. After a flurry of acceptances one year I went the whole next year and then some with one rejection letter after another. It can feed doubt in yourself, in the very endeavor you have been undertaking.
Kelli has reminded me something I really should be constantly aware of. In some of these dry spells I have actually reached points where I've asked myself why I even do this... why don't I just quit right now? So far when each of these negative thoughts have entered my mind I have in fact issued my own rejection and refused to quit. Is it the prize we write for or is it to flush out something on paper that takes guts? Is it publication credits or the birth of our art on a page?
I'm pretty sure I will sometime in the future swear off writing again - and yet very likely keep on keeping on. I think it's just something writers do. They don't have a choice.