Thursday, November 24, 2011

When is it time to give up


It has been said that everyone has a story in them.  Some have nodded and thought “That’s possible”, while the more intrepid souls reached for pen and paper, or fired up their computer, and started writing. 

After the first paragraph or the first page, some came to the conclusion that telling their life story was more challenging than expected and gave up.  Others diligently wrote page after page until they had created a novella or a whole novel.  It had taken weeks, months or in some cases even years to complete their life’s work.  Now what?

Now that the manuscript is finished they want to share their story with the world.  After all, what good is writing something if nobody gets to read it?

They grew ambitious and contacted a few publishers only to be disappointed by the message “No unsolicited manuscripts accepted”.  Research told them that in order to get a manuscript published a writer needs a literary agent.  This, however, is easier said than done.  Even though there are hundreds of literary agents, getting the attention of one is as difficult as climbing Mount Everest.  It can be done, but only a few succeed.

When the first rejection arrives, the writer is disappointed but not discouraged.  After all, everyone gets rejections, right?  From what he heard even now famous authors had a few rejections in their time.  He remembers the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”.  So he does, again and again and again.

But when he receives rejection after rejection after rejection until he can wallpaper his office with the negative feedback, when does he start thinking of giving up?

Perhaps in that moment he remembers the cartoon of a frog being stuck in the beak of a stork, the frog’s front paws around the stork’s neck and the caption “Never give up!”  It’s funny and in a way encouraging, but how true is it?  Should we never give up, or is there a time that we should put down our pens, switch off our computers, burn the manuscript and think “Enough is enough”.

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