I have a feeling in my gut that between now and Friday, I will get my very first rejection letter. Actually, in this case it's a rejection e-mail, but close enough. I suppose it will be a badge of honor in a way -- something I can hold up and say, look I too submitted a story. The question is, what do I do next?
The natural next step is to send the story out to another market. And I might. But I'm also weighing some advice that was given to me by someone who has broken into the professional markets. He suggested I not submit anything for a couple of years. That way I can just work on improving my writing and at the end of those two years, I'll see where my early stories went wrong and be able to improve them. Then I can send them out.
That's good advice, and I appreciate that this particular writer took the time to give it to me. But by the same token, I feel a bit that not sending out anything I write is like giving up. It's saying, I'm not good enough, and that's a grimy sort of feeling.
I think I'm going to run my stories through the critiquing process and judge on a case-by-case basis what to do with them. I think I have a good enough eye to see whether a story is as good as it can be. If it's not, I'll hold it back from submission. So when I get my first rejection letter, likely this week (gut feeling), I'll read back through it to see whether I can make it better. If not, it'll go into a folder for a months. Waiting, but not forgotten.