I once knew a “writer” who had written a book. That’s it. One book. And not because she died young, or anything like that. She kept re-writing this one book. She kept submitting this one book, to agents, small publishers. Every time she got a comment, she’d rewrite it based on that, hoping that would do the trick and get her an acceptance. Or, she’d see a new book out that, in her mind, was similar to hers and she’d rush off a query to that small press. This went on for at least 20 years. To my knowledge, (and I did ask), she never wrote anything else. Never attempted anything else. Didn’t seem interested in writing anything else. All her efforts, all her beliefs, all her hopes, were tied up in this one work. She also wrote strictly on her own. She never took a class, joined a group, or had a critique partner. She never hired a developmental editor or book doctor to try to figure out the flaws in the book that was keeping it from generating any interest. From a mutual friend, I learned the plot of the novel. And believe me, it was the most cockamamy, unsalable . . . well, that’s just my opinion. The last time I saw her, she had simply given it all up. Not from discouragement. She had fallen in love and seemed no longer interested in writing. So, was she a writer? Or just someone who wanted to publish a book? If you are a “real” writer, would you, could you, ever really give up? We all beat our heads against the wall, or walls. One wall for me is not having the skill level to say what my heart is aching to say. Another is finding ways to keep the momentum going when I’m on a roll. Still another is shoring up my belief that my work has value. But I am not so blind or fearful that I don’t ask for feedback, seriously search out weaknesses in my efforts, and try new things if what I’m doing doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. I know the strength that comes from associating with other writers, especially ones who are better than I am. I spend time reading those writers and those publications that I want to submit to. What are those folks doing right? The healthiest thing that I do, I believe, is to let go of anything that is just not working, that are dead ends. Old pieces that seemed so perfect at the time, but now seem like amateur drivel. Genres that I’ll just never be good at. Topics that no longer interest me, or heck, were never that compelling to begin with. Occasionally, those old efforts give me a lift by reminding me of how far I’ve progressed. A few have salvageable bits. But mostly they just weigh me down. I have moved on and the world has moved on. One popular definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” I may be crazy. I just don’t want to be that kind of crazy.