I reckon almost all of us who eventually go on to be published have had a moment when we’ve felt like giving up. I certainly have.
For me it was after a couple of years of rejections when an editor who liked a story and hung onto it for 8 months finally got back to me with a ‘no’. It was a very nice ‘no’ in a letter that invited me to send more stories - but I’d been so hopeful and my hopes were dashed. I’m sure the editor thought the letter would encourage me, but I was totally demotivated. So near and yet so far! The writing equivalent of missing out on a medal (it didn't have to be Gold) in the only Olympics I was ever likely to make the team. I felt I was disappointing my family (my perception, not theirs), it was becoming embarrassing to tell my friends I’d been turned down yet again, and I was dejected because a lot of 'me' was in the rejected stories, even if they did feature talking animals. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be, maybe I should just pack it in and clean the house.
I tried not writing for a while, but I missed the excuse for not doing housework – and most of all I missed those wonderful moments when you are lost in a world of your creation – moments that are not dependent on publication. So that’s why I carried on writing - and as I wrote, my voice and tone developed. I went on more courses, gritted my teeth and continued to send things out. Not too long after I’d seriously considered throwing in the towel, I was taken on by an agent and a couple of publishers. My fourteenth picture book is out this month.
I'm writing this from the privileged position of being published, but I clearly remember how I felt then, and it wasn't good. So lots of sympathy if you have reached a point where you’re thinking of giving up. You're not alone as reactions to the 6 August blog post by the Steve Laube Agency have shown http://stevelaube.com/when-the-outlook-is-bleak/
If you enjoy what you do, keep going! If you’ve been there - please share – and if you pushed through it, let us know why - or how. In the meantime, I’m off to practice for my hula–hoop fitness class. I've considered giving up as I'm by far the worst in the group. But it’s much more fun than cleaning the house...