Enough is Enough.

“Sometimes the key to making progress is to recognize how to take that very first step. Then you start your journey. You hope for the best and you stick with it: day in, day out. Even if you’re tired, even if you want to walk away, you don’t. Because you are a pioneer. But nobody ever said it’d be easy.”
~Grey’s Anatomy

Enough is enough.

It’s a statement of strength, a declaration of clarity. Enough is enough; I’m putting my foot down. Enough is enough; I’m taking control of my destiny. Enough is enough; I’m choosing to travel down another path.

Those thoughts have all floated through my mind multiple times since I dove head-first into the querying process almost five years ago. Five years. That’s a long time, friends. It’s a long time to ride the roller-coaster, your hopes soaring sky-high as the cart inches up and then plummeting back down to the ground as you enter the steep drop. It’s a long time to put your work out there, your babies out there, your heart and soul out there, knowing full well that it’s making you vulnerable in such an emotional way. And there have been wonderful moments, to be sure. There have been requests that etched a perma-smile on my face and feedback, both from agents and loved ones, that filled me up with pure joy. But there have also been not-so-wonderful moments. There have been form rejections and no responses at all. There have been emails that made me want to curl up under the covers and hide away from the world. There have been tears. Lots of tears, more than I’d like to admit. So many times, I’ve been tempted to give up. Enough is enough. Something you love so deeply shouldn’t, in turn, bring about all this hurt. It’s not right. It’s like Eden, my most recent MC, says: “Sometimes inspiration doesn’t matter. Sometimes we can wish with all our hearts, work day in and day out to create the lives we yearn for, and still, it doesn’t happen. Reality isn’t like a song, or a book, or a movie, and happily-ever-after doesn’t always exist. When we realize that, maybe it’s best not to push it. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole just ends up chipping off its corners.”

That’s where I was on Friday, after a particularly heart-wrenching week in the querying world, and, to a point, where I still am now. It’s where I’ve been before. And, I know, it’s where I’ll be again. Because even though I sat myself down on Friday and really, truly considered giving up, that just isn’t a possibility. When I think of not jumping into all the stories still on my to-write list, it makes me so sad. When I think of abandoning the characters who have already become such a part of me, it leaves me feeling empty. When I think of a life without writing … honestly, it’s unimaginable. Literally, I can’t fathom it. So I remind myself this:

If I’d given up after the first rejection, I’d never have gotten a partial or full request. If I’d given up after the first book queried, I’d never have written five others. If I’d given up after it felt like the publishing part was draining the happiness from the writing part, I’d never have gotten to work on the project that filled me with pure, unadulterated passion and delight. If I’d given up when a draft was particularly challenging, I’d never have seen how rewarding the revision process can be. If I’d given up after the form rejections, I’d never have gotten the ones that, even though they were ultimately a “no,” still made my heart sing. If I’d given up all those times, I’d never be the writer, and person, I am today. And if I give up now? Who knows what I’ll miss out on?

Despite the countless hours of work, I’m not where I want to be yet. Not by a long shot. There’s so much more I want to do, and I feel limited a lot. I can’t share my stories with everyone yet. I can’t invite the real world into my characters’ worlds. I can’t call myself a published author. I can’t buy extravagant or expensive holiday gifts, because devoting so much time to making this writing dream a reality doesn’t exactly help my bank account. I can’t donate to all the charities I want to, and I can’t adopt more than one bunny, because I just can’t afford the added expense right now. I can’t.

Enough is enough. And that’s okay.

Because maybe I can’t do it all, but I can do something. I can’t rescue all the bunnies, but I can give Jasper a warm, good home where he feels safe and loved after a life that didn’t start out that way. I couldn’t write a large check for Giving Tuesday last week, but I could donate a small amount to three of my favorite charities. I can’t fix all the horrible things that have been in the news lately, but I can make myself aware and educated. I can’t get my book babies out there yet, but I can share them with a smaller circle and let their feedback be what I focus on, what I let buoy me up when it feels like I might drown. I can do what I can, with what I have, and I can recognize that, for now, that’s alright. All we can do is our best. All we can try is our hardest. That’s enough. We’re enough. It’s tough to believe that sometimes, especially when it feels like the world is telling us otherwise, but I’m going to try. I’m going to try really, really hard. I hope you all will, too.

Because sometimes enough truly is enough.


15 thoughts on “Enough is Enough.

  1. You are one of the most hard working, dedicated gals I know, Shari. I wish I had answers for you and I wish I could snap my fingers and have an agent pick up your stuff, but I can’t. Please know that I am cheering you on, as are many others, because your writing is worth reading. I know it must be so hard to keep going, but please do because one day it will be worth it. Keeping you in my thoughts.

    • Oh Megan, thank you so much — not only for the sweet words, but for always being such a wonderful and supportive friend. It truly does mean more than I can say. You always know how to brighten my days! :)

  2. I can relate. Things take so much longer than you expect, and sometimes it just seems futile to inch forward – but know that you are still moving forward. We can only do as much as we can do, but I believe that doing something (no matter how small) is better than doing nothing. Sending hugs!

    • Goodness, I never really realized just how long things do take until diving into this writing and publishing journey. You’re so right, though — even when it feels like we’re inching along toward our dreams, we’re still making progress. That forward momentum has to count for something, and I think it’s important that we celebrate every step along the way, even when it feels like the goal is still so far in the distance. Thank you for reminding me of that. Hugs back!

  3. So true!

    I’m sorry it’s been a rough roller coaster — believe me, I understand. I think what’s so hard about the writing life is that every stage has its own up-and-down ride. Drafting. Then revising. Then querying. Then submissions. Then reviews. Then the next book. Etc. etc. etc. It seriously never ends.

    Not everyone is cut out for this kind of life. It’s hard as hell. But I’ve always been so impressed by your positivity, Shari. And your ideas are all so good! If I read about something like WATERCOLORS or SANDS OF TIME on the back cover at a book store, I would totally buy it and gobble it up! So hang in there. I know your time is coming. :)

    • PS: Do you have a critique group or writing partner? They are SO helpful, in SO many ways. (Cheerleading, editing, sympathy…) Do you need/want someone to beta read for you? If so, I might have some time, just let me know!

    • It’s funny — if someone told me ten years ago what I’d be in for with this whole writing life, I’d have laughed out loud and declared that it wasn’t for me. I’ve always been the kind of person who wears my heart on my sleeve, and I think that’s a good thing sometimes, especially when it comes to being optimistic, but it also doesn’t jive with the ups-and-downs of the publishing journey. But then I try to imagine not writing and it just isn’t possible … even when I think I’m not cut out for this, something inside tells me that I am. Thank you for that reminder, and also for the sweet words and for always being so supportive. I appreciate it more than words can express. <3

      • Hah I say the same thing sometimes. That I’m not sure I would have chosen this path had I known what it truly entailed. But that doesn’t mean that I want to leave it now! I’m glad to be on it, even if it’s hard as hell.

        • Agreed! I definitely have my days where the whole thing feels defeating (as evidenced by this post!), but even with all that, I honestly can’t imagine not doing this in some regard. No one can say we’re not determined, right?!

  4. Shari, I feel awful for having missed this post. I just want to reach right through the screen and give you a big hug. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the same exact boat. Here is what I know about you: you work hard. You dream big. You’re not afraid to face your fears and mess up and write the wrong thing, because you have the strength/ability to turn that story into something beautiful. These are all signs that you shouldn’t give up. I just know good things are waiting for you, Shar. Thanks for always encouraging me and being there with a sunny reminder that I need to do this, and I need writing in my life. I’m here today to do the same for you. I think it’s easy, when there are so many blog posts out there about people querying less than a month and getting their agent, to think that it’s the norm. But we are the norm. This is the typical rollercoaster and we’re riding it together. Anytime you feel like this again, you know you can reach out to me. Hang in there, promise? I’m still expecting an autographed copy of your books one day, and a photo with the author. Much, much love to you <3

    • Oh Julie, you are the sweetest. Thank you for the kind words and encouragement, not only today, but always. You are such a great friend and I’m lucky to know you. I’m feeling better about things now – it was just a really tough week, with three rejections on requested material – but like you said, this is the normal roller-coaster and I’m sure it’ll continue to twist and turn wildly. Some days all I want is to hop off and stay away from the querying insanity, but you’re right, we have to hang on tightly. Thank you for the reminder and for always being so supportive. I’m glad we get to go through this whole crazy journey together — it really helps. <3

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