I quit. After one too many rejection letters, I’d had enough. I marched into my office, gathered up all the paper copies of my manuscripts, tossed them into a raging fire, and cried.
Cried! Heck, I sobbed so hard I gave myself a wicked case of the hiccups.
Not my finest moment but one that, if you’re a writer, you’ve probably experienced at some point. Even if you didn’t respond to your feelings of despair with a manuscript bonfire, you probably had the same thoughts of, why exactly do I do this?
For my part, I vowed that this was the end. I would never write again and I would never send my existing manuscripts to another editor or agent. I’d wasted too much postage, money, time, sweat, and tears on a dream.
This, my friends, is a dark, lonely place to be. Never had I felt such coldness in my heart.
Over the next few weeks, I learned something about myself; I am a writer. It’s impossible for me not to write, despite my strong conviction to the contrary.
Story ideas, characters, even scenes flooded into my head unbidden. What did I do with these snippets? Wrote them down like the trained monkey I am.
Soon, I was writing again on a regular basis. Writing is habit I can’t break, no matter how hard I try.
Another rejection arrived in my mailbox yesterday. This time there was a hand written note on the side of the standard form letter. It read, “You are a very talented writer, and I know you will sell this manuscript. It’s just not for me. Keep trying.”
Today, I mailed my first query since I officially quit writing. I walked to the mailbox with the reverence of a mourner at a funeral. When I opened the mouth of the blue postal box, I hesitated and wondered if I really wanted to put myself through all this again. Then I remembered one of my favorite sayings by Korczak Ziolkowski, the sculptor who created the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota: “When the dreams end, there is no more greatness.”
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