I wrote "What Do You Need?" back in July of 2010. Since then, it's survived ten rejections, one of which came after an editor held onto it for a year for potential inclusion in his magazine's final issue. Along the way, I received some good feedback, which is always like finding water in the desert, isn't it? With so many writers clogging cyberspace, it's rare to get more than a form letter rejection from most publications!
From Triangulation, known for their valuable critiques: "It is way too long. I could skim at a pretty fast clip and get what was going on. What's missing is a deeper exploration of the character's psychology."
From Stupefying Stories: "It's a first-rate piece of writing. But in the final analysis, we're left with too strong a feeling that this story wants an epilogue with Rod Serling saying a few pithy words."
I polished it up here and there between resubmissions, but for the most part, I believed in this story just the way it was, and I knew that eventually I'd find an editor who agreed with me. It would only be a matter of time.
Last week, I heard from Grey Matter Press, who'd been holding onto this story since September: "I'm happy to inform you that we would be honored to include "What Do You Need?" in our upcoming Dark Visions anthology. We very much enjoyed your piece and are looking forward to its inclusion in the collection."
Believe in your stuff, folks. Keep sending it out there until you find the right editor at the right time who's willing to pay you for it and share it with the world.
Then go write something new.