If you want to be a writer ...

Learn the rhythms of the literary world. Like now: May and June are the months all writers can expect an avalanche of rejections as editors of USA magazines clear their decks for the summer break, as agents clear theirs in preparation for their holidays, and as autumn-based publications finalise their shortlists and reject all those stories they've been hanging onto 'just in case'' one of their top choices turned out to be unavailable for some reason.

The odd acceptance or two leaks through as well, but the painful and crippling weight of all those people who are saying 'no' far outweighs the pleasures of the 'yes'.

But it's not just you. Seven rejections a week is not a judgement on your literary merit (although it feels like it!) it's simply the result of spring cleaning. Knowing this doesn't lessen the pain, but it does help you dig your way to the surface and move on.

And another thing to consider. When all those American journals cease reading for three months, it's the ideal time to focus on a longer piece of work; a novel, a play, a screenplay or opera - whatever it is that you've been putting off because of the busy round of submissions and rejections, this is the moment to get it back out and devote your summer to its progress.