I’m kind of sad for young writers today. You have much less opportunity to enjoy a benefit we old-timers had in abundance—rejection. Oh, we hated those editors who sent us their mimeographed rejection slips—“We’re sorry, but your work does not meet our present needs.” We railed at them as Philistines who hated and feared new ideas, guarding the gates of the Inner Chamber for the benefit of their rich, famous cronies.
But oh, what a joy it was to get that first acceptance letter! It didn’t come easy, that letter. One story at a time, rejection after rejection, we learned to prune and tighten our prose, and that first acceptance was a sign that we’d finally earned our way inside the Gates (only, finally, to look down with pitying contempt on those amateurs who cluttered the desks of “our” editors with their puerile, formless scribblings).
Such editors hardly exist anymore. Today’s writers, so often self-published (I’m not speaking in contempt; I’m self-publishing now myself), lack that thick wall to chop through, that sparring partner to toughen them up. I read so many self-published books now that leave me saying, “This writer has a good story and interesting characters. All he needs is a real editor to tell him to cut out the dead wood.” --Lars Walker
HT: David Mills at First Thoughts