Monday, May 4, 2009

Causey Wonders When It’s Time To Quit

Over at Murderati, Toni McGee Causey uses the examples of Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent and romantic mystery author Christie Craig to ask an all-important question -- how do you know when to quit? Excerpts:

Then Christie asked, "When do you quit? Is it after the first fifty rejections?" and she pulled a stack of papers from that UPS envelope and let them rain down around her feet. "Or the next fifty?" and she pulled another stack out and let those rain down. I could see the letterhead of the pages as they fell, and I thought my throat would close up on her behalf. "Or how about the next hundred?" she asked, and pulled another wad of pages out and let those rain down. "Three hundred? Is that when you quit?" And she emptied that envelope and reached into the suitcase and pulled out another one, and asked, "Or is it the first 500? Do you quit then?" Those papers kept raining down, "Or how about the next 500?" and more envelopes, more pages. "How about a 1000? Is that when you stop?" And at this point, I couldn’t have spoken if someone had held a gun on me, I was so choked up. "Or how about the second thousand?" More pages. "Or three? Is three thousand the point where you stop?"
Read the whole thing. Causey wisely notes that we don’t throw in the towel when we struggle to finish a manuscript or when the only audience we can find for said manuscript is a disinterested slush reader or when said manuscript comes back from said reader so fast we could swear it broke the laws of physics. We quit when we find something else we love better. Not that succeeding at something new will prove any easier in the end. Yeats got it right when he said, "It's certain there is no fine thing / Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring."

(Picture: CC 2005 by
sarmax; Hat Tip: Shaken & Stirred)

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