I've been writing for many years (and actually wanted to be a writer longer than that. Why is it so many writers have this experience? We say we want to write yet it takes us a while to get around to it!).
But it has only been this year, I've had my first book From Light to Dark and Back Again published. It has only been within the last couple of years or so I've been blogging (particularly for Chandler's Ford Today). And it was way back in 2009 when I had my first short story, A Helping Hand, published by Bridge House Publishing in their anthology, Alternative Renditions.
I can't tell you how many rejections I had because I didn't keep all the slips but am sure I could've papered a room with them! I also expect to get more rejections in the future. It happens.
But without getting my work out there, putting my hat in the ring so to speak, I would never have been published at all.
Biggest thing I have learned? Not to give up! Also when submitting work for competitions etc, where it has been possible to get feedback, I have gone for that option. You can be too close to your own work to objectively see what is wrong with it (the key usually to working out why it was turned down).