Do you remember that scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice eats the cake and puts her hand on top of her head to measure her growth? Naturally, she ends up exclaiming she hasn't grown at all.
Sometimes I feel like that. I feel like I haven't improved in my writing, or that I'm no closer to pro-sale level than I was before. That's when my wife points out exactly how much I've achieved in the past couple of years.
OK, so I've made a few sales. But how close am I to the big ones? Does that personal rejection I received from a pro-market mean I will soon be selling there? And if I do, will it be regularly? (or at least more than once?) Am I like Topanga Canyon, or simply living in hope?
I think I'm improving. People I trust tell me I am. I can look back at my earlier pieces and see the flaws more obviously. And I try not to make those same mistakes again.
Sometimes I read stories in magazines and anthologies, and have trouble seeing why they were accepted in the first place. Then I wonder why my pieces were rejected from those same markets. Surely my piece was better than the ones they published.
Oh well, my day will come. We write, we submit, we write more.