A good man once told me that there are two ways to deal with a situation: react or respond. What if it is a piece that you poured your soul into, a patch of writing that you crafted from nothing but dreams, and they just don't want it? Respond. Never react.
It will be the first of many if you are a healthy writer, but if you soldier on and don't give up, you will find some solace eventually.
My latest short story "Rust" was just rejected by an online magazine. Here is the email:
Dear Roger Colby,
Thank you for sending us "Rust." Unfortunately, we do not have a place for it in the current issue of Spry. This is not a reflection on your work or on your worth as a writer; the inherent strengths of "Rust" were simply different from what we envision for the third issue of Spry Literary Journal.
Continue to write boldly. We wish you well with your work and hope you will find a publication for which it is a perfect fit.
Respectfully, Editors, Spry Literary Journal
I thank Spry for reading my story. The rejection was not discouraging in the least, it was just that it didn't really fit their mold. It had "inherent strengths". This is not reading anything into what they wrote. Perhaps one of the other 40 odd magazines I submitted to will bite.
Rejection is healthy. If we received everything we wish for, we would be spoiled brats. The thing to do is to find the positives in the rejection letter and move on or even send a kind note back asking how you could serve their needs better. Short story publishing is about good relationships. If you throw a tantrum (react), they won't want to work with you on possible future projects.
Now I wait for the other responses to come in and keep at my WIP.