Joe Konrath has been quoted as saying:
"There's a word for a writer who never gives up: published."
I love this quote for its simplicity and it never fails to encourage me. In this day and age, there are so many avenues to get yourself published. You can go the traditional route and query agents, who will shop to publishers and so on. You can write for magazines or anthologies, paper or electronic. Hell, you can even self-publish (again, physical or e-book), and that's worked very well for Mr. Konrath.
No matter the road you choose to take, there will be bumps, dead ends and maybe even a washed-out bridge that you didn't see until the last second and went careening over the edge into the drink. It happens. But how do you know when to say "enough is enough?"
If writing is really in your blood and bones, the answer is simply, never. Sure you'll be bruised and battered along the way, but eventually your work will be published SOMEWHERE! I've been writing for about five years now and I've yet to see anything I've written published anywhere. But I also know that these first five years have been 99% learning the ropes.
So for someone like Jodi Meadows (who I naively thought was published long ago), who has done everything right along the way, it's particularly difficult to keep struggling. That's why I'm reposting this admission of hers, about how she nearly quit. I've seen it posted on Kelly Hashway's blog and Miss Snark's First Victim, but the original post is at Corrine Jackson.
Read it. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Persevere.