A little over a month ago I wrote where I talked about letting yourself give up on things you don’t enjoy or love, from activities to books. The post was called “Permission To Give Up“, and here’s the post where I contradict everything I said there. Sorta. It’s complicated.
My new thoughts are mainly inspired by both querying and writing in general, because the thing is, it’s not logical. You might need to send five, or ten, or a hundred queries, and at the end you may or may not end up with an agent. My journey with LIES MY FATHER TOLD ME is still happening, I don’t know what the end result will be. I may get to a point where I’d rather focus my energy on another project instead. That’s also okay. But right now, all I know is that querying is hard. It’s difficult and no matter what (unless you’re one of those lucky few who get an agent in two days or something) it’s going to feel a billion years long. So the question becomes, when is it too long? When do you give up?
Well, what I think is that you should give yourself permission to NOT give up. There have already been times I wanted to quit. But if you believe in your novel, it doesn’t matter if it takes you ten or a hundred agents to find it a home, it doesn’t matter if you decide to take a self-publishing or small press route instead (if that works for you and your novel, don’t think it has to be a big publisher). If you believe in your story, even when it seems like the worst idea in the world, you can’t let yourself give up on it, at least not until you’re ready for whatever reason. When it comes to writing, it’s really hard to succeed, so even if other people might be telling you to quit, you need to give yourself permission not to. You need to be the biggest advocate for your novel, because it deserves that.
I’ve recently (barely) started drafting another novel and part of me wonders if I should be heading down the verse route again, because I know it makes my life more difficult with querying and everything else. Part of me thinks the logical thing would be to go write another novel in prose. But I’ve given myself permission to not give up on verse or this story, even when it seems hard or impossible. I’m going to give it a chance anyway.
There are so many times in life when the sensible thing would be to give up–on a friend or a book or a degree–and yes, sometimes, that is the right choice, but if you really believe in something, if you really want something, give yourself permission to NOT give up. You just might end up with the kind of success you never could have expected when those nagging voices whispered to you that the easiest and best thing to do would be to quit.
Have you ever given yourself permission to not give up, even when you thought you maybe should?