Kerouac carried his unpublished novels around for seven years, including the ones that put him in the headlines, On the Road and Dharma Bums. Seven years of rejection left him exhausted and downtrodden so when fame finally arrived, he didn't know how to act. How do you suddenly revel in being the star when your light was pushed away for so long?
Still, it's a testament to human faith and courage that he held on for so long and was then able to leave something behind for us. When my writing starts to feel too small and circle-running, I turn to his instructions for inspiration. (The following is the partial list of his advice; the full length appears on the Wikipedia entry for Kerouac.)
Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
It's worth checking out the entire article for a list of the big K's inspiration when feeling down. Check it out here.