Two choices: quit or keep trying

swimmers in a pool
My kids learned perseverance and to never give up from swimming.

Recently I lost an entire manuscript that I failed to back up. I was devastated. My computer was randomly deleting files and the automatic backup I thought was going on — wasn’t.

It’s been a longtime goal of mine to have a book published. I’ve written several manuscripts, but so far the goal has been elusive. When my latest attempt disappeared I was tempted to quit altogether. I’m not getting any younger and maybe I’m wasting my time.

But I got over myself and I am enjoying writing the manuscript with a fresh perspective and new POV.

This incident reminded me of a post I wrote several years ago when I was disappointed and almost quit. Here’s a bit of it:

I got an unfortunate email yesterday. It was from an agent, who was reviewing my mid-grade novel I’ve been working on for years. Long story short, it was a no.

This is a big goal of mine, to get this book published. Finding an agent is one step along the way, and I had glimmers of hope when a couple agents were truly interested and one in particular, wanted eight weeks to take a deep dive.

When my husband consoled me I said, “I have two choices. I can quit or keep going.”

Four times since that email, I ran into messages like someone was placing a big neon sign in front of me with specific directions.


Fishing at Big Bear Lake
Dad fishing at Big Bear.


Dad shared that he spent almost three hours fishing yesterday. He was ready to give up, but decided to cast one more time in the last few minutes before he was due to return the boat. Yes, he caught a fish!


I was looking at FB and a writer friend posted how lucky she was to find several four-leaf clovers yesterday after hours of looking. She said to never give up. Never!


On Twitter, I saw from bestselling author Brad Thor a book recommendation for #Grit, a book about passion and perseverance. Yes, I’ll order it from Amazon today.



On, an article jumped before my eyes: “6 TIPS TO KEEP YOU CHASING YOUR SWIMMING GOALS WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE GIVING UP,” by Olivier Poirier-Leroy, who writes really good stuff for swimmers that can be used in all aspects of life.

Here was part of his advice to get in touch with your feelings when you started on the journey:

“What are the reasons that I want to achieve this goal? List 2-3 reasons for why this goal is important to you. This is the simplest way to get in touch with your original set of motivations.

How will you feel when you push past the resistance you are feeling now? Think back to the last time you kicked down the wall of resistance that was in front of you. Yeah, that time. How did you feel afterwards? Proud? Like a certified O.G.?

Will you regret giving up a year from now? Imagine yourself a year from now. A year smarter, a year older, and hopefully a year further along. Is “Future You” going to be pumped about you having quit today?”

I got the message loud and clear. I’m not giving up on my goals or dreams. This is all part of the process, and yes there will be some ups and downs. It’s so cliched, but it’s also true.


I decided to put away the mid-grade novel after I submitted it to an editor who was a speaker for a webinar. For a fee you could get a critique. He gave me the snottiest, most hurtful critique. I’ll admit my feelings were hurt. Perhaps it was more of a reflection of his personality than my writing. I’ve started other projects including the manuscript I’m working on now. In the future I may get the mid-grade novel out and take a fresh look.

Yes, getting a rejection letter and a nasty critique are not great. Quitting on a dream would be worse.

How do you handle disappointment? What goals have your given up on? What goals are you still pursuing?

27 thoughts on “Two choices: quit or keep trying

  1. I am with you on this one. I am trying to get my book published. Best of luck to us both. Like you, I have been working on it for awhile! Soon, I start working again so I will try my best and hope one of the publishers bite. Did you also find that the publishers you send to are asking if you have a blog? If so, do you send them the link?

  2. Now, I did have a vanity press interested but they wanted me to submit three payments of 1900 dollars to edit, publish, etc. I was referred to them by a blogger and I ran far away. If someone is interested, I don’t expect there will be a cost to publish. You can always self publish as a last resort.

    • I agree with you on that. You shouldn’t have to pay unless you decide to self publish. Twenty years ago a small publisher offered to publish one of my children’s books. I didn’t accept because I was sure I’d have a bigger offer! If only….

      • I have had literary magazines accept and publish my short stories ( a few ) and more of my poetry. Lots of rejections on Submittable but I persevered to get them published. It is worth it. Wishing both of us the best.

  3. Depends on the disappointment. I have a harder time letting go when it’s a disappointment that my daughter has experienced than me. I don’t really set goals…I do or I don’t…much easier

      • I’m OK with try. Much less stress that way. I kind of demonstrated that to my daughters and they seem to be OK with it too. Makes me happy to see them not impose too much stress on themselves. I’ve even gotten “better” about not taking on their disappointments as my own. One of the bigger concerns I had when going through my divorce was that they had suffered or were suffering as I was. Imagine my relief when they assured me they were OK and just want to see my suffering end!

  4. I don’t know that I’ve ever given up completely on a goal. I may have shelved plans to accomplish something and then later revisited those plans. If they still seem feasible for me and my life at that time then I push forward- if not- because life changes and we re-evaluate then I may let go or adapt the goal if possible.

  5. Good for you in not giving up on your dream. And for the arrogant editor … you know exactly where they can go. That’s horrible. I get the process, they’re being asked for their review, that’s fine, but they don’t need to tear you down. Anyway, good for you. Whether it’s recreating your original work or coming up with something new … I wish you the best of luck!!!! The fun is in the journey.

    • Thank you! Looking back on the nasty editor, I do believe he was arrogant. I was hurt immediately but I think he was trying to be witty and was infatuated with the strength of his own words.

      • A great editor is like a caring midwife or nurse or even a trail guide, someone who helps you and assists you in reaching your goal. I’ve worked with a couple in corporate roles: they’re amazing! I get emotional just thinking about them, great people. A bad editor, like the one you mentioned, is well, just like the devil. I have no other word for it. Pure evil. Think of the worst horror villain and multiply times 10000000. They kill your inspiration and joy. When you find a good one, never let them go. Can’t wait to hear where your next manuscript goes!

      • I’ve had wonderful editors too. I think this is the only evil one I’ve encountered. Most editors are professional and caring. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement.

  6. Hang in there!! I am in the midst of getting an agent as well. Ugh on the nasty rejection you got. Yes, we need to be prepared for rejection BUT if its going to be nasty then I would not put much stock in it! Editors and agents can be honest without being nasty!

  7. Keep at it, you never know what the future holds and besides we love writing. I’d be lost if I couldn’t write so I guess it doesn’t matter so much what happens with it, as long as I keep putting my thoughts to words, and figuring out this crazy life. Hugs, C

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