Most days I try to go for a walk or a run. As I live close to the sea my walks often take me to one of my local beaches. Along the length of one beach is a wide grassed area where there is a children's play park with swings, climbing frames and slides. Next to that is a skateboard area. Most days this is full of older children and teenagers on skateboards, bikes and scooters, and I'm often amazed at the tricks and manoeuvres they're able to perform. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at how good they are, because they're there most days, and spend hours practising the jumps and manoeuvres.
Sometimes they don't get up enough speed for the ramp or miss a jump. They pick up their skateboard, and do it again. Each missed jump teaches them something new about speed and distance and angles.
Why is it then we feel such a failure when we don't get placed in a writing competition, or receive a rejection from an editor or publisher, or read something we've written and think it's rubbish?
It takes a lot of hours of practising our craft to improve our writing skills. Each time something comes back from an editor or publisher we should look for a way to improve it, especially if we're fortunate enough to receive some feedback with the rejection. We might not get skinned knees like the skateboarders, but dealing with rejection is hard. We all know we should be objective about it, but that's difficult when you're reading the letter or scrawled comments on a slip of paper.
Ultimately, unless we want to give up, we have to handle the rejection (chocolate often helps!), and get on with practising our craft by more writing, more editing, and learning from each experience. Time now to do that.