I'm a new writer, dealing with rejection for the first time. I've sent short stories (mostly flash fiction) in to several online magazines, and although I knew to expect an uphill road, the word "declined" does sting a bit when you see it so often. I can persevere, but what I want to know is this: how important is it to be published in a literary magazine? My thinking has been that it would be wise to establish credibility in this way before attempting something greater, like publishing an ebook. What path has worked for those of you that are many steps ahead of me? Also, how long does it usually seem to take before you see the magical word "accepted"? Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.