When does it happen, as a writer, that we know when to just say, ‘I quit’? Is there a time when we should know that enough is enough? How many rejections does it take before we throw in the towel?
Hopefully you’re on the same page as I am as you read the above and are thinking right now, never.
That’s the only answer any writer can come up with when faced with yet another rejection.
To be sure, every writer who submits a manuscript believes it’s the next best thing to Rowling’s latest effort. A sure winner. We know equally well it usually isn’t. In fact, the vast majority of submissions are pure, unadulterated … well, the equivalent of the great ‘ca-ca’.
The hardest thing to decide is whether a rejection actually means your work is trash, or a gem yet to be discovered by someone with the necessary amount of taste and discretion to realize it. I won’t even bemoan the fact that if it’s rejected several times by noteworthy sources it probably does require at least revision, if not a major overhaul. The true nature of this article isn’t to decipher the quality of work, rather, to combat the other negative effect of rejection.
Rejection depression. It will almost always hit you like a solid wall, no matter if it’s the first, or fifty-first one. They all hurt in about equal amounts. (Although as the recipient of many, I can tell the beginner that eventually you learn to deal with it, and the depression doesn’t last quite as long, or create the feeling of bone crushing death after a while)
This is the writer’s most vulnerable time, however. The time where he, or she, is most likely to chuck it all in favor of a less painful pastime like sword swallowing or self-inflicted tattooing.
For those who desire to eventually become professional writers it’s vital to learn to get past the feeling of complete despair created by rejections. Some manage by believing that once they sell that first spec, they’ll never have to deal with it again.
Rejections are a part of a writer’s life. From beginning to end, you will always have someone telling you it’s not quite good enough. Lots of someones in fact.
What does work, however, is knowing that for every 100 rejections, there is usually a yes, at least if you’re smart enough to continue honing your skills throughout the many no’s. Those are probably close to the odds throughout a writer’s career. 100 to 1-not the greatest of odds, but not insurmountable either.
So when is it time to say enough is enough? If you’re ever going to be a pro, the answer is, NEVER.