Awhile ago I wrote about why we shouldn't quit, even when it looks like we're not getting anywhere. Honestly, I wrote it to encourage myself as much as anyone - I'd submitted an article to 17 magazines and hadn't heard back from one. I should've known better, but still I wondered: was the article that terrible? Had I offended editors in some way?
Then I submitted it to a few more places. And a 2nd article to 38 markets; and then a 3rd piece to 20 markets.
Finally, it appeared in my inbox:
One acceptance came. Then a second. And a third. I even received an acceptance for an article I'd sent out 5 months earlier. And that lag time is the unfortunate (and amazing) thing about writing - that you can FEEL like you're just running in place and know in your gut that you're never going to get anywhere - and with one editor's email find out that you're a total dunderhead who's been obsessing for no reason. In fact, I just read about a whole book dedicated to Writer's Doubt.
The trick is, well, to trick ourselves into moving forward, despite "knowing" that we're not getting anywhere. That could mean keeping tabs on the positive progress you've made by marking it on a chart, or meeting with a writing group weekly. Whatever it takes, to keep moving forward and working towards that goal.