This February, I finished my first draft of a novel (second attempt at writing a novel, I scrapped the first). I've been working on other projects intermediately (fanfic to keep me from getting rusty, plus a short story which I also hope to publish), but for the most part, I've been revising, editing, and having other people look it over ever since then. I finally thought I'd finished it (have since realized that it's probably a bit too long for speculative fiction at 115k, am trying to get it down to 100k and then smooth it over again before querying more), so I submitted queries to a few people (after looking carefully at their website, what they wanted, tailoring each query to them specifically, etc) and got a bunch of form responses and a bunch of CNRs.
The thing is, I've kind of realized that the rejection is affecting me in a pretty toxic way. I was talking to my writer friend the other week, and I realized that my mindset towards publishing is very similar to what my mindset used to be when I was anorexic. I used to deny myself leisure, self-respect, and humanity because I wasn't thin enough, and now I do the same thing because I'm unpublished. My drive for establishing myself as a writer has turned into an obsession. I can't relax because I always feel like I should be researching agencies and literary journals. I feel like I'm not worth anything if other people aren't reading my work.
I know that this industry is about rejection, and I know that I'll have to learn to take it gracefully, but I guess I'm just really disappointed in myself for not living up to my own expectations. It's a little bit scary how much the self-worth I've built up for myself over the course of my recovery rested on the idea that I would be a Young Author. Now I'm faced with the very real possibility that I will get my undergrad degree without a single thing published, and I hate myself for it.
Anyway, this is turning into a ramble, but has anyone else dealt with perfectionism in writing? Is there anything to do for it besides just working on self-esteem? I'm terrified that all this rejection will taint writing for me, and to be completely honest, writing is my favorite thing in the world. There's no other thing I'll ever love as much.