When to Quit

My husband sometimes returns from the mailbox with the comment, “Here’s another one of those letters from you to you.” Writers among you will recognize his description of a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE, for short) sent with a submission so the publisher can send me an acceptance or rejection. A thick envelope may mean a contract or a request for revision before publication. A thin envelope usually thanks me for thinking of them and wishes me luck in placing the writing somewhere else. Any way they sugarcoat it, this one is a rejection letter. Too many of them brings the question of when to quit sending work out and asking for more discouragement.

I’d read that Gone with the Wind got thirty-six rejections before it was accepted for publication and set that as my measure of when to get discouraged, but not necessarily when to throw in the towel.
I have a new standard after reading Kathryn Stockett’s account of sending out The Help sixty times and getting sixty rejection letters. What if she had not sent it out that sixty-first time?  Small wonder that her husband says that both her best trait and her worst trait is that she never gives up!
Kathryn’s other reaction to rejection brings a different question. When the rejected manuscript came back, she rewrote and fine tuned – over and over again. Which brings the next question, what if she had not focused on rewriting? But that is a blog for another time…