While it sucked getting a rejection, I knew from my research that this is pretty typical for new writers exploring the traditional world of publishing, that it's going to take a number of rejections (which sadly, is looking like far more than 48 for me) and the value of those rejections improve before the first publishing credit is finally earned. So I took heart knowing I was "progressing" and kept sending out the stories to other houses.
Until one day, one of my stories got noticed!
Back in April, I was ecstatic to learn that one of my stories had pierced the front lines of a publisher's defensive front (ie Slush pile readers), then wait with bated breath as it inched its way up the beach front and through an extended series of heavy fire (ie Suggested edits by a line editor, then managing editor, then senior managing editor), before finally coming face-to-face with enemy's final, and most heavily armored fortification... (ie The chief editor).
Sadly, after seven months of waging war, my story fell before its objective could be reached. (ie It was rejected by the chief editor)
Now, I could use this late process rejection to fuel my deeply rooted insecurities about myself or my writing, or try to write off the publication as not knowing their heads from their rear ends, or find some way to deflect blame, accountability, etc.
But I am happy to say that my focus has only been on the continued progress in my career. While it's disappointing the story didn't find its forever home, I was finally able to go through the process of working with a publishing house and its editors (free of charge), and it was thrilling!
Yes, it's back to the drawing board (ie Sending the story out to others), I take heart that my career is progressing and that elusive publishing credit will hopefully be right around the corner!
So while you should never "count your chickens until they hatch," I also think the moral of this story is to avoid seeing this kind of situation as a failure, but instead, see it for what it truly is... PROGRESS!