I really hate to see so many writers becoming discouraged and feeling unnecessary pain over the phenomenon of rejection. Perhaps the following words will help put rejection into perspective.
In brief, you have to be really careful what type of feedback and rejection you take seriously, or you will seriously lose your mind. If you lose your mind, you are done for.
There is an old saying that too many cooks spoil the soup. This applies to writing as well—and your brain. You can spoil your writing and spoil your brain by caring too much what others say. It takes a profound amount of courage and self-confidence to be a writer. Feedback is fine—but it is your book. It is quite possible that the person who just rejected you is a clueless dodo. You may have to send it to a thousand people to find one intelligent person who actually read it. Seriously.
That being said, here are some insights into self-care during the submission and revision process. These insights are based on my discussions with trusted pros and mentors and as a person who made it through all the crazy hoops in one piece, and lived to tell the tale.
There are two things you need to do in order:
1. Stare at your screen and keep typing until YOU know it is a masterpiece. NO ONE else can help you do this. This is between you and you. Write from your heart. Don’t read five million posts on everything you absolutely positively must do. You will go crazy. Education is fine, but the only thing you absolutely must do is write every day and be yourself. Anything that distracts you from that mission of originality will dilute your personality and make you weak. Write from your heart. It will take a while. You will be dissatisfied with versions one through twenty and that is good. If you are an artist you do not need a single soul to tell you when that final rewrite moment arrives and you have a masterpiece.
YOU will know deep down inside if in fact you are an artist. At that point you are done and it is a postal exercise. (This does not apply if you are still learning how to write. It also doesn't mean there's anything wrong with hiring a good editor if you need the help.)
2. When you are done, send it to every one of the 1,998 agents on the Jericho Writers list who work in your genre and are legitimate agents. (However many there are.)
It does not make sense not to. This is a numbers game.
Please do not let rejection phase you people. So many of these people simply are not reading. They are in no position to judge your writing because they have not read it. Not all of them—but many. They may have given it to an assistant and he/she may still be in university training and not have a clue. You never know.
It is a crazy, crazy world out there and you absolutely cannot take rejection to heart. Words cannot fully express the nature and depth of the sheer and utter chaos out there—and the level of self-absorption and bad choices—coupled with the lack of reading and thinking.
Do your absolute best.
Then send it to 2,000 people.
Be a machine or go insane.