Confessions of an Immortal Heart advanced to round two of Amazon's Breakthrough Young Adult Novel Contest. Not only that, but I also got a full manuscript request by an agent. It was rejected, but it gave me intense amounts of hope. (Now that I've had time to digest and attend more conferences, I know EXACTLY why it was rejected. Oh....too much telling and not enough showing... :) )
I wrote Igniting a Firestarter in 28 days. I wrote Character Defects in just under a month. And My Sister's Memories took just over a month.
I had three agent requests for Character Defects (rejections, but the hope keeps piling on), and two editor requests (still waiting to hear back).
In the last year, I also read my work out loud to a crowd of people at an open mic night. I joined a critique group, and landed some stellar beta readers. There were also conferences. Lovely, lovely conferences.
At this point, I'm really okay getting rejected in 2011, and I'm really stoked to be getting requests. Why? Because it means I'm doing something right enough to get people who say "I'd be wiling to take a look at that," and something wrong enough to push me to take another look at what I've done.
Each rejection is a step in the right direction. Be brave, keep pushing, don't give up.