Erika Dreifus writes the Practicing Writer blog. In Thursday's post she showed a photo of the binder which contains her rejection letters for the collection of stories in question and makes reference to a far larger binder of individual story rejections.
I have no rejection letters in my collection. That's because I haven't submitted anything for publication anywhere since my goofy poem got published in my college literary magazine in 2000. The lit mag doesn't give out rejection letters; if they don't select it, your piece just doesn't appear. I had submitted a short story which was not selected for publication in that same magazine.
It's a foregone conclusion that in order to be published, one must submit content to a publisher. It's always a risk, though, because if the editor doesn't like your work, your work is unsuitable for their publication, or they just don't have room at the moment, they'll send you a dreaded rejection letter. Rejection is a milestone I haven't yet reached. I don't have the experience of receiving a rejection notice, but it's precisely because I haven't put myself out there yet.
I've read writers' advice that states that a writer should never take a rejection letter personally. The letter refers to the content itself, and not the writer. If a magazine rejects your article, it doesn't also mean they think you're a bad writer, have stupid hair, and smell funny. It just means they chose not to publish your work. When I receive my first rejection, I'll try to keep that in mind.
Have you had a piece of writing rejected by a publisher? I'd be interested in hearing about your experience.