Apparently Clarkesworld magazine is just too good at reading through their slushpile. This week they said, both on Facebook and Twitter, that the pile was running low. I happened to have a story I'd considered sending them anyway, so polished it (again) and sent it along. My rejection came on the same day! Exciting to get eyes on my work so quickly. Not exciting to have such a fast form 'no'. Clarkesworld stories are lovely and well written. I haven't yet seen a Clarkesworld story which made me think "this is crap I don't want to read".
The Submission Grinder has been fun to play with, and really encourages me to submit. It's terribly useful to have all of those venues listed there, and searchable, either by magazine name or by other criterion you have in mind. I get a list of professional paying markets which accept fantasy short stories with just a couple of clicks, and they even list story style, from "absurdist" to "transgressive".
Rejection is one of those things you get very wrapped up
with as a writer. Even with a form rejection, we seek meaning in every
nuance. How fast, how slow. I got what seemed to be a form rejection
lately, but at the end, they said "sorry it took so long" (paraphrased).
Does that mean I got far in the consideration? No idea. Maybe all the
forms say that, it's my first rejection from this place. I have gotten a couple of personalized rejections in my life; one of them was from One Story recently, which made me happy with my story and eager to seek another home for it.
Because that's what you need to do when you get rejected. Read the story again, polish it some more, and submit it again. The people rejecting your story are rejecting the story, not you as a person. Your story wasn't what they needed in that moment at time, or didn't have the flavor they look for overall. That's cool. One day, it'll be "yes".