I just turned down a publisher because I wasn't ready. You can imagine how many times my head has made contact with my desk.
Let me explain...
Yesterday, I talked with a publishing company whom I had briefly contacted approximately a year ago. I sent them a short story I had "finished" without thinking anything of it. It was a short story that had the potential to (and eventually would evolve to become) a full-fledged novel (idea). In reality, this publisher publishes books. Not short stories. So if they read it, they most likely read it under the assumption that it was a prologue or first chapter of sorts. (It would eventually become the prologue to something, so it kind of makes sense. I suppose.)
Well, for NaNoWriMo (I know, I talk about NaNo a lot, but it's a big part of my life) last year, I started writing this story down. Managing 50,000 wasn't all that one story though. It was also the beginnings of the story before that story that wasn't really a story and needed to just be back-story for one character... But that's a little confusing, so I'll skip that full explanation. Now, for real, I got about a quarter of the way through this novel's full word count expectancy. But it was so bad. (I know, NaNo produces quantity, not quality, but still.) I hid it within my folders on my computer and never looked at it again.
So, this novel that I quit less than halfway through the first draft in December of last year apparently is not ready to be forgotten. Problem is, they needed a manuscript from me by the end of August. Which would probably, honestly, have been fine if I had continued work on it after NaNo. But I didn't touch it. Oh no.
So I looked at what I had.
It was just as terrible as I remembered. And with only slightly more than a quarter of the novel written, there was no way I would or even could have a readable, at least mostly edited copy of the novel by August 31st. Therefore, I had to turn down the only publisher (magazine or no) who actually said to me, "We want to see more."
You're probably wondering what the point of that long, probably boring story was. Well, I'll tell you. Ready? It's really, really, simple, but you need to be ready, because it's big. Okay? Cool. Here goes:
Yep. Simple as that. Finish what you start. Period. You never know when a surprise opportunity could come your way and had you finished, you'd be coasting. So finish. Don't let anything or anyone stop you from doing what you need or want to do. Finish that thing, whatever it is, and do it!