I've gotten more personal rejections this year so far than I did all of last year. So boo, still rejections, but yay, the story was good enough or I made a good enough impression that it garnered that extra little bit of attention, that little boost or hint.
In one of those rejections, it was suggested that the story didn't really seem to be the narrating character's at all. Which was true, really, and I'd known that all along. What I somehow hadn't considered was the notion of rewriting the story so that the narrator and the main character are the same person. Which sounds silly, I know, but we've seen it work the other way. Sherlock Holmes is arguably the main character of, y'know, the Sherlock Holmes stories, but Watson is the narrator for almost all of them.
So this rejection, this personal comment, was the push I needed to start a rewrite on that story.
Not every personal rejection is going to be that way. I've received at least one which seemed kind of....unnecessarily smug. And wasn't actually helpfully suggestive. So that one, while still valuable in its own way, goes in its own category.
Of course, there are also rewrites I've embarked on without outside suggestion. The story itself got enough rejections that I felt it needed severe revisitation. Or, I opened a dusty file some years after the original conception, and thought "well the bones are good, but it needs something....". I've got one story I wrote in college like that, probably more than one, which is looking for a home now. It was originally far more of a vignette, the characters far flatter than (I think) they are now. I feel like I overall have a better sense of story than I did in college.
I know as writers we all have strong similarities and strong differences. We all have our own journey and our own process. So, if and when you rewrite, when do you decide to? How do you get there?