So, you've decided you're in it for the long haul. You write a few books. You send out a few queries. You attend a few conferences.
So you get a critique group, you read a few writing books, you edit a few of those books you wrote, then start the process over again.
Nothing except rejection that is.
So when is enough enough? When do you throw in the towel, raise the white flag, slink back to your only-in-my-dreams world?
Some say never. And this might totally be valid. I've heard MANY an author encouraged to "keep going, keep persevering" because publication might be one step around the corner. The stories about pursuing publication for twenty years before it actually happened come to mind.
And that might totally happen to any one of us!!! (well, let's all hope it doesn't REALLY take 20 years!)
But... it also might not.
I don't have the answers to this for you. But I do have a few suggestions.
- Don't give up. If you're going to do anything, give in. Giving up says "I can't do it." Giving in says, "I can do it, I just want to do something else for a while first." One is quitting... the other is changing your mind. Quitting is for those who are weak, changing your mind or changing direction is for those who are wise.
- Don't listen to everyone else. "Keep going" might totally be right on track, but if God is whispering for you to move another direction for a while, keep going is being disobedient.
- Pray. Ask for clear guidance. Be in prayer, talk to your family, and make sure you are on the path God wants for you.
- Don't be overly sensitive. A rejection letter isn't necessarily a "no" from God about publication in general. Neither is a harsh critique of your work. Many times it just means, "Not yet" or "Not this agent" or "Not this editor" or "You have some more work to do." It might be backbone building. But don't see every bad writing news as a lightning bolt from Heaven that you're doing wrong. You'll be shocked most every time:-)
- Take a break. I can't remember where I heard this first, but I've heard it many times. When all else fails, walk away for a little while. Take a week, a month, a year sabbatical. Then reassess. If that pit desire in your stomach is still there, then go back. If it has fizzled, then you have your answer as well.
Having fun makes the journey, no matter the end, much more enjoyable!
Because there are sometimes... when you are scratching your head and about to take the throwing towel plunge, something amazing happens. Last week, that happened to me when I finally landed my dream agent, Rachelle Gardner. I'd had a year of struggling with my writing while I went through a personal tragedy with my daughter, and when I was really trying to reassess just how much effort I needed to be spending on my writing, confirmation came that the towel needed to stay firmly within my grasp.
Discussion: Have you thought about taking the throwing towel plunge? Since you are reading this... odds are you haven't yet, or decided to keep going. What kept you going? Have you ever taken a "break"?