I was thinking about writing and publishing today and realized that I’ve been pretty lucky, overall, in that regard.
The first short story I ever submitted was accepted and published in a magazine, admittedly one that only ran for a year and was owned/edited by a few friends of mine. My first published book review and first scholarly article were requested by the editor of a professional journal (who also happened to be my academic advisor). The book that just came out two days ago was accepted as a proposal by the first publisher I sent it to.
A few writing jobs came up in between, often randomly.
Yes, there is a stack of rejection letters from other things I’ve sent out, but still . . .